Ryan Wasoba Makes Music for Dogs Now, Seriously

Categories: Interviews

Blair Stiles
Ryan in the studio at Bird Cloud Recording.

Like MTV AM or MTV Jams, where you had that block of music videos? But here you have a theme.

Yeah, there is. There is Stimulation Music and Relaxation Music. There are programs called Exposure where there will be a vacuum cleaner, or footage of a car ride. Something a dog might be afraid of. It's sort of to get them acclimated.

Just kind of on a whim I emailed, because I was trying to find out who did the music. I had a feeling that someone who did the music was connected to somebody that I either know or like. Just had this feeling. I didn't really find that out. They had the form email thing, where you put in your information and you almost never get an email back. But Ron Levi, the Chief Content Officer, he got back to me because I had said I was a musician, music journalist, studio owner and I was trying to figure out who does the music...because I liked it. There are a couple songs on their Relaxation Program that are really beautiful.

Ron googled me and found the Music For No Reason record I did two years ago and he really liked it. He said it reminded him of Built to Spill and Pavement. I told him I would like to give it a shot, and he said, "Okay, sure. We're looking for meditative, zen kind of stuff."

What is the concept behind DogTV's music for dogs?

There is a lot of research that they did about certain frequencies, and tempos and textures and how they effect a dog's breathing and heart rate. It's intense. There was a minute when I thought it wasn't going to happen. I was sending stuff in and there were things that I didn't get about it. One of the things was I was coming at it in some way... like what really drew me to it in the first place was there is this really weird element of beating the system to it. I remember watching DogTV and thinking this is art on television. It's music and visuals. The loophole of making programming for another species in order to get art of television -- I was just fascinated with that.

It seems now the music programming for people is less about art and facilitating a need for music that some people have, and more about trying to satiate people by just putting an hour or two of music on the television and then pretending the channel is devoted to introducing people to music.

What's behind that is marketing; what is behind this is science. Anyone who has recorded with me knows there is some point where science becomes a verb. It's almost an aesthetic thing. I remember I really worked out this one song, and I sent it in, and I was really proud of it. I had a full band thing and I played drums on it. Levi was like, "This is really cool, I like it... Dogs don't know what drums are. And dogs don't know what cymbals are."

Continue to the next page of our interview to hear some dog music.

Sponsor Content

Now Trending

From the Vault