Stream the Massachusetts songwriter's third solo album and read his thoughts on the pop genius of Matthew Sweet.
This article originally appeared on Noisey Australia.
According to the United States Social Security Douglas, or Doug, was the fiftieth most popular name for boys born between 1970 and 1979. It wasn't as popular as Michael or Christopher, but did better than Randall and Wesley. It's a name that suits Doug Tuttle, a songwriter whose relaxed music harkens back to the hazy days of the 70s when the likes of Creedence, Neil Young and The Byrds ruled.
As one of the main songwriters in New Hampshire's MMOSS, Tuttle blended dreamy kaleidoscopic pop with cascading guitar harmonies. It sounded sweet as.
Tuttle's solo career has followed in the same warm and foggy path as MMOSS and on his third album Peace Potato, once again released on the great Chicago label Trouble In Mind Records, the Massachusetts performer delivers more blissful tunes.
Tuttle played every instrument and recorded the entirety of Peace Potato in his bedroom studio but the sound suggests something more than your usual home-recorded musings.
Stream the album and read an interview with Douglas below.
Noisey: I'm really like the track "Only in a Dream." What was the conception/inspiration behind that?
Doug Tuttle: It started as two songs, both written around the time my first record came out. Both had parts I liked and parts I would never dream of letting anyone hear. They were both roughly the same tempo and shared the theme of the mental illness in a loved one. So I shifted the key of each section, and added an interlude in the middle. It all works much better this way.
How is the album different to your first album?
On the first record I was just pushing everything as far as I could. I was writing really fast, recording really fast, and trying to capture the most blown out sounds I could.
On the second record It Calls on Me, I started to focus a lot more on the details/arrangement and backed off the noisiness. I started working on Peace Potato at the same time as It Calls on Me, just kind of dragging things to one of two folders.
The production is similar on some of the tracks, but I kind of went in another direction with writing/arranging on this one, lots of little bits and pieces of things. The idea was to make an album that ran like a problematic night of sleep, waking dreams, dreams of other songs, odd manifestations of real world problems etc.
You continue to play all the instruments?
Yeah, I still play all the instruments, it just works the best for me. I prefer to record at home, my day job is also a work at home deal as I build guitar effects. It's nice being able to record a bass part then do something else for an hour, come back and add another piece etc. There's so much trial and error involved that it's hard for me to bring the skeleton of a song to other people and feel confident in what I have. I generally don't know if what I'm doing is worth while till it's done.
I see that you are a fan of Matthew Sweet's "Sick of Myself". Do you ever wonder why some singer/songwriters make it big and others like Sweet don't?
Yeah, I'd kind of forgotten about that one. I always thought of "Girlfriend" when I'd think Matthew Sweet but the other night I put this 120 Minutes playlist on Youtube and that popped up. It completely re-blew my mind. It's such a perfect song, and it instantly took me back to first hearing it, and the idea it planted in my 14-year-old head that I could make a record by myself.
It was weird being a teenager at that time, it seemed like if you were into cool shit, and wrote good songs you could defiantly just play music for a living cause the world was into good music. I became an adult around the end of the century and the world went back to normal. But this song brought back that feeling for a moment, makes me wish the 90s had held on just a little bit longer, would have liked to have experienced it as an adult.
What about of this era? Who do you think deserves more attention?
I feel like we're just getting to a place again where if you put in the effort some folks will hear what you're doing. It's hard to gauge what kind of attention anyone's getting these days...unless you use that feature on Spotify For Artists where you can compare your plays to other bands...don't do that.
I'm curious of the name "Peace Potato." As things start to get weird on the Korean Peninsula and other places in the world it strikes an interest.
It partially relates to the dream concept running through the record. A dream about a fictitious movie called "Peace Potato," one of those end times/space/guilt dreams with a post apocalyptic, make things right after the fact premise. In the waking world, I feel I have good intentions, and that my beliefs are sound/righteous but I generally do little more then post shit on the internet and sign petitions. The title is kind of a personal admission of guilt.
'Peace Potato' is available May 5 on Trouble in Mind records.
Image: Trouble in Mind