Kane Strang is all for moving forward, though he admits that looking back can make great fodder for songs. “Certain moments stick with you,” says the native New Zealander. “Sometimes these craters can really stop you from seeing what’s right there in the present.”
In a thematic sense, it’s that sometimes debilitating relationship with past miscues that binds Spiel, Office Dog’s debut LP, out January 26 on New West. Strang assembled the group in 2021 after a move to Auckland from his native Dunedin (also home to the Clean, Chills, Verlaines and many more). A few successful early singles on New Zealand’s Student Radio Network have paved the way for the group’s success in its home country, where Strang has already earned acclaim for his solo work.
The indie-rock power-trio format suits Strang’s more visceral and collaborative approach to making music these days. With bassist Rassani Tolovaa and drummer Mitchell Innes as active participants in the songwriting process, Strang has fleshed out a pulsing, guitar-heavy sound that owes plenty to British shoegaze and Built To Spill’s melodically inclined wall of noise. To wit, “The Crater” sounds like a prime nugget from the Doug Martsch vault.
“The song touches on a lot of the themes that run throughout Spiel, particularly our relationship with the past,” says Strang. “I guess I was trying to capture that feeling over what’s definitely one of the more stripped back and simple songs on the record.”
The video for “The Crater” was shot at the Omarama Clay Cliffs, a Kiwi version of South Dakota’s Badlands, on New Zealand’s South Island. “We met there on about four hours sleep and trekked our gear up into the hills,” says Strang. “It’s actually an incredibly popular tourist attraction, so as soon as the sun was up, there were busloads of people rolling through only to find a band playing the same song over and over in the middle of nowhere. Behind almost every shot, there was most likely about 10 people walking past and taking photos of us.”
We’re proud to premiere the video for Office Dog’s “The Crater.”