“A lot of the motifs in I Am the Dog have to do with asking questions, and I do think that losing yourself in something shiny and new can raise a lot of questions about oneself, and how one exists in the world,” Foote offers over Zoom from her New York apartment, though the songwriter adds she’s not exactly looking for concrete answers.
As it stands, there’s a lot to love on I Am the Dog — and, yes, to obsess over. Produced by John Congleton [St. Vincent, Lana Del Rey], the collection is massive-sounding — Foote and co-guitarist Teddy O’Mara’s pedal-powered dynamism pushes the outfit towards fuzz-fractured, Pixies-leaning pop (“Salivate,” “Cake”), though the band likewise glide through ultra-chill, surf-styled confectionery (“Center”). Even before delivering their towering Dog, though, Sir Chloe possessed a rabid fanbase. Take how myriad TikTokers fixated on the act’s 2020 single “Michelle” as the source of inspiration for lip-sync videos and aesthetically glitchy tributes; the slow-burn ballad has also racked up more than 194,000,000 spins on Spotify alone.
Ahead of a summer tour schedule full of headlining gigs and supporting slots for the likes of Beck and Phoenix, Foote fills RANGE in on a few recent obsessions, and how they impacted I Am the Dog.
Something that I really discovered while I was writing this album was niche history books. Things like the Mongolian raid of Tsushima back in the 13th century; or I was reading this book Chaos, which is about Charles Manson and the CIA. I also read a book about Chernobyl, and then I read a book about the sex lives of medieval women. I got obsessed with history.
With the Mongolians invading Tsushima, I was actually playing a video game called Ghosts of Tsushima, where you’re a Samurai during that war. It’s based on a historical event, but it’s not [entirely] historically accurate. So, I just started doing a bunch of research on the topic because I didn’t know anything about it. That was one of the first wars in all of human history where [gunpowder and explosives] were used, for instance. I thought that was fascinating. I wanted to learn more about how the technology was discovered and developed.
Then I got more into American history, specifically religion in America. I think Mormonism is really interesting because it’s such a young religion. John Krakauer’s one of my favourite authors, and he had written that book Under the Banner of Heaven. I had read it years ago…[and] I was [re-]reading that at the same time that I was writing a lot of the songs that made it onto the album. It ended up coinciding [with some of the lyrics] — songs that reference control more heavily. That was because I was reading a book about this religion.
I was listening to a lot of Cocteau Twins, specifically their album Four Calendar Café; I listened to that album almost every day last summer, when we were really in the thick of writing and recording the album. And I was listening to a lot of Slowdive and Mojave 3 — and My Bloody Valentine, obviously. I got into that very dense, textural music; it makes my body feel really good. I think, overall, there are more textures on the album because of that. We stayed pretty guitar-heavy, but we’ve definitely leaned more into other textures.
JAPANESE FUZZ PEDALS
I can’t remember the name of this pedal, but it’s circular and silver. It’s probably better if I don’t tell you the name of it, honestly; the [vintage] gear landscape is looking pretty grim right now, price-wise. It’s this Japanese pedal from the 90s, and it’s really fantastic. It’s a fuzz, and the more dynamic you play the more it fractured it gets. It gets really distorted and gross. It was a really great sound; it’s pretty much on every song. I accidentally stole one from John [Congleton], but I gave it back.
I’ve been getting really into Greek food. I’ve been learning how to make it, but there’s also this restaurant called Antique Garage in [New York’s] East Village that has really amazing Mediterranean food.
I really like spanakopita, and I like making my own Tzatziki. I started doing that a couple months ago, post-album. It’s a base of crushed garlic cloves and olive oil; you mix those up real good until the olive oil becomes opaque. Then you put Greek yogurt on that, crush up some dill, and you can also put some shredded cucumber in there. It’s just scrumptious. You can [dip] anything you want in there.
Would you throw any of those ingredients on your rider, so that you could make fresh Tzatziki at every show?
It would be great if we did, but we’re definitely still in the phase where we’re just asking for the bare necessities.
THE COLOUR PINK
My entire bedroom is pink. I moved into this apartment in January of 2021, and I had a complete infatuation with the colour [when it came to décor]. Everything had to be pink! In “Obsession,” actually, there’s a line in there: “I’m losing hours in the rose”. I was referencing my pink bedroom.
I almost exclusively wear black — or sometimes hunter green — so I don’t wear a ton of pink. I have a few items, but I usually keep it achromatic. I feel like I’m a late-in-life pink person. Before then I was really into red. Red is the gateway.
We did a writing session with [composer/pop songwriter] Brad Oberhofer when we were writing the album. He’s collected watches for a long time, so you’d be sitting with him at his desk and he’d open a drawer that’s just filled with watches. I was looking through them, and just started looking [for] watches since then. I haven’t purchased any, but I like looking at them for hours.
I don’t really know what I’m after, but I like silver; I like a square face. Just really simple [designs]. But also, I’ve been looking at art deco watches that are totally ridiculous and purely ornamental.
How’s your general relationship with time?
I am a procrastinator, [but] I’ve been getting better at managing my time. I wake up in the morning and I write a big to-do list; that helps a lot. I’m not a punctual person, [either]. Right now I can only be late or early, but I can’t be on time. So, I’m just aiming for early every time.