When forming your identity as an artist or group, there are several scenarios that can occur that prove, exclusively, that there is a lot of love for your craft from both the scene you are a part of and your fan base. Examples of this can include being the first non-American act to be invited to a festival, or, having your fans raise an amazing amount of money to fund a project.
Interestingly enough, energetic five-piece rock band, Random Dogs, has experienced both of these!
Currently based in Tel Aviv, the band has touched the hearts and ears of many and it has yielded amazing opportunities for them in their short time as a group. Interested to learn more, we asked the band to tell us a bit about how Random Dogs, and their current success, came to be.
How did Random Dogs form?
The band started its journey on summer 2011 when childhood friends Ben Rayzman (singer-songwriter) and Dael Campbell (bass) decided, after numerous failed attempts at forming a band, to start their life-project.
It took almost to years to actually form the band, and along this process the first EP, Out of the Race, was created and eventually released on May 2014.
Why did you decide to name yourself “Random Dogs?”
Like every other band, finding a name isn’t easy. It took several months until a NY based friend, who was visiting Israel at the time, mentioned to Ben that “there are lots of random dogs around here in Tel Aviv”. The minute he said it an imaginary lightbulb lit up and we knew – this was our name.
Your music is heavily influenced by American and British rock acts from the last 20 years, who are some of your favourites?
Obviously there are several, and each band member brings their own influences, but to name a few that we all have in common: Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Queens of the Stone Age, BRMC, Arctic Monkeys are probably the top 5.
Is there one group whose influence is particularly prominent in the music you create today?
Not really, as we said, each band member brings different influences to the studio – Ben and Dael are mostly 90’s grunge influenced, Gil Meir (electric guitar) brings some more experimental sounds and musical ideas, Jonathan Alter (drums) has the attraction to the more complicated areas of rock (Tool, A Perfect Circle etc.) and Tal Donyo (electric guitar) brings in the 80’s vibe. Combine these all together – and you have Random Dogs.
You are renowned for the kind of energy that you infuse with your music, what is the secret for producing and maintaining that high level of energy both in the studio and on stage?
It’s very simple. We LOVE what we do. The energy is a result of the satisfaction the we get from playing and recording our music. Obviously we work hard in studio to maintain our chemistry and perform as tight as possible.
Tell us about your songwriting process.
We like to start from the music and melodies. Usually Ben brings in a new melody, which might be a chorus, a verse, or even just a guitar riff or a drum beat. Then we jam around it, trying to understand what the music wants to say. We believe that this cosmic energy of sound and music has its own vision –our job is to understand it and interpret it.
After having some musical parts combined together, we try to feel what subject the music carries with it, then Ben usually writes the lyrics.
You released your debut EP only 2 years ago, tell us about the general vibe and feedback you received upon putting out that record.
We got some great responses, both from the crowd and the media. The best feedback is when fans send us messages, sharing moments in which they were listening to one of our songs (while driving, running, or any other exercise) and got inspired.
After this release, you were invited to the Driven Music Conference in Atlanta and were the only non-American act present, tell us about how you felt when you receive this invitation—what it meant to you.
No doubt this was one of our highlights so far! We were honoured to receive this invitation, and find out that we are the only non-American band that was invited.
It was a long way to go from Tel Aviv to Atlanta, but it was definitely worth it! We had a great show on the main stage of the conference, and met lots of amazing people – musicians, industry people, and random crowd-members. The feedback we got there filled us with lots of energy and motivation to return to the States, and to Atlanta specifically, as soon as possible.
Your new EP, Tell Yourself A New Story, was a crowd-funded record in which you were able to raise $13,000 from your fans. Describe how it makes you feel to know that you’ve developed that kind of relationship with your fans in such a short time as a group.
It’s amazing. This EP was born just because our fans cared and showed their support, and basically delivered the message – “we want to hear more of your music!” We care a lot about the relationship between us and our fans, as we believe that although creating music is a passion by itself, it isn’t worth a lot if people aren’t present to actually listen to it, dance, jump, and feel the energy.
Tell us about your most stressful day as a band. How did you persevere and pull through it?
November 2014, last day in Atlanta. After the Driven Music Conference was over, we stayed in town for a few more days for some business meetings. Eventually, we ended up booking a show on the last night before our flight back to Tel Aviv. To add some more pressure, we found out on the afternoon that we should basically bring the entire backline as the place hosts an open stage night and had literally one mic.
With the help of some great people that we met, we managed to get a drum set, amps, and all the extra gear that was necessary. We arrived at the venue to set up everything on our own, perform for one hour and headed straight to the airport. We were very close to missing our flight, but it was worth it, and we’ll probably never forget this weird, spontaneous gig!
Where has been the most exciting place that you’ve had the opportunity to take the stage?
Probably the Hard Rock Café in Atlanta, as part of the Driven Music Conference. This was our first international gig, the venue was packed and even though we got up on stage as a completely anonymous band, we could immediately feel the love from the crowd. We basically felt like home there.
Having had so much success, so quickly, have you had a moment in your career where you just took a step back and basically said “Wow, I can’t believe I’m here right now!”?
Last year we were invited to play at one of the largest stages in Israel – the Amphitheater in Ra’anana – as part of the independence day celebrations. This venue is a place where all of us went to see concerts before, and being on the stage, in front of thousands of people, felt just unreal. It was a short concert but we will never forget it.
What’s next for Random Dogs?
We just released our new EP, Tell Yourself a New Story, in Israel, and are currently working on booking two international tours for the upcoming year in order to release it internationally. Obviously we never stop writing, and we are already gathering new materials for our next EP, which might even be a full length album.
Besides that, the past has taught us that lots of surprises are coming along the way – so we are more than ready to be surprised!
Connect with Random Dogs
Winner of World Wide Music Contest for Best Video