Ryan Wasoba Makes Music for Dogs Now, Seriously

Categories: Interviews

But they know how things make them feel. Does it become more like the atmosphere you create than the instruments behind it?

I think so. I'm really drawn to minimalism and I'm really drawn to ambient stuff. If you can tap into it right, the idea of something being visceral and something effecting you physically...why wouldn't that affect a dog?

It seems if it's effectively visceral it should affect a multitude of animals.

There was a book I read that in the beginning talked about music and the human ear, and the animal ear. The concept of hearing being different in the deciphering of information. If Olivia [Wasoba's furry friend] over there hears a drumbeat, she's not going to be hearing a beat, she's going to be hearing sounds spaced out. A lot of what Ron from DogTV encouraged me to do was to play organic sounds in the place of instruments.

What would be an example of organic sounds?

I built one song around water droplets. That was something that clicked later for me. Part of that "beating the system" mindset involved me not thinking "Well, dogs aren't going to figure out the approach."

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Yeah, they may not get the approach, but they react to certain sounds for a reason. Was it hard to jettison that musician mindset?

Yeah, it was. What wound up happening was those limitations just opened up new things and I wound up being able to do the things I would not have been about to produce if I hadn't been writing music for dogs.

So you're taking the human element out of the sounds you create. Instead of thinking of a synth as an instrument that creates something that sounds like rain, you're using rain sounds to engage the dog with something it has experienced before.

The relaxation stuff is real ambient stuff, more of my comfort zone. The stimulation music that is supposed to excite the dogs is where I ran into trouble. Like, trying to not use drums.

Did you find organic sound samples?

I found some and I made some. I recorded stomps and claps. Olivia's best friend is a dog that lives caddy-corner from us, and that dog's human is this little girl who turns ten in March. She actually came to the studio and I recorded her talking to the dog. It was pretty adorable.

Dog music, man. It's such a weird thing but it so easily could be New Age. But, what's more avant garde than writing music for a dog?

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