Dog On A Swing, also known as Ed Ritchie is set to release his new EP at the end of this month. We caught up with Ed about the new music:
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and where did music start for you?
Hi, my name is Ed and I play music under the name of Dog On A Swing. I was born and brought up in Edinburgh, and after a few adventures, I returned home ten years ago. My big bang moment was first hearing Green Day’s Dookie just before becoming a teenager. I dug out my brother’s old classical guitar from the back of a wardrobe, then had weekly lessons for a few years. I went to uni, joined the bands society and ended up running it til I graduated, but besides one co-written song, I didn’t get into songwriting til I was nearly 30! By that time, I finally had something to write about, so after six months I started playing open mics with the first Dog On A Swing songs.
If you had to sum yourself up in three words, what would you say?
After a lot of discussion with my fiancee, I would say: observant, introspective burrito-fan.
You’re set to release your new EP later this month. What does this EP mean to you?
It means a lot! Back in 2013, the original On Love was the very first official release I ever put out. I jokingly came up with this title after releasing the debut album Autonomy in 2017, but then realised I had a lot to say. On Love I is mostly about early, innocent, yearning love. On Love II moves onto mature love, the realities of deeper love, what it means to love harder/put more effort in, facing life’s difficulties. Technically, I’ve also learnt a lot since writing and recording the first one. The real pre-production work on this one happened in the last six months of 2020. This project has kept me sane during all this, and I’m really happy with how it’s turned out and the initial reception to the EP and single.
You can also find Ed’s music here.
What tracks stand out as favorites for you?
A good litmus test for every song on each release is ‘would I miss it if I took it out?’ so technically I’m partial to all of them! To actually answer your question though- Be My Widow is probably the most emotionally direct song I’ve ever written, bearing in mind Autonomy was all about my mental health journey! I’m also really looking forward to playing Exchanges live, as its very first performance (with my bandmate Martyn) was literally to a blank wall! The song was pretty fresh when we were invited to play a few sets across Falkirk for an all-dayer event, maybe a tad early in the day as even the staff were well out of our eyeline…
I personally really like Past Port. Can you tell us a bit more about where the inspiration came from for this track?
Funnily enough, it was the last song written for the EP! I was on a songwriting getaway in February 2020 with some friends when a hypothetical question popped into my mind- if there was a door to go back in time for a second attempt at a relationship, would you go through it? My immediate, gut reaction was ‘absolutely not’ but that would’ve made for a pretty bland tale! The other thing that really kicked the song off was the house we were all staying in had perfectly flat floors at ground level, but upstairs was another story. It is a very weird sensation to be walking towards the bathroom late at night and momentarily going down and back uphill! I had a first line about a house with sloping floors by the time I got on the train home, and about 90% of the lyrics were written on that journey.
What have been some of the biggest challenges making this EP, especially during lockdown?
For every previous DOAS release, I had always demoed and rehearsed the songs at home then recorded them in a studio (with producer Graeme Mearns- highly recommended if you’re in Edinburgh!) I knew I needed a new approach early on, but luckily during the first lockdown I finally got to grips with recording software (Reaper) so I could produce the EP myself at home. I’d worked with Jon Bews [violin] and Graham Coe [cello] on Autonomy, and with Alex Palmer [drums and percussion] they were all able to remotely record their parts and send them over to me. The aforementioned Martyn was also meant to be on the EP (he’s been on everything since After Work, and played over 70 gigs with DOAS) but his laptop broke and technology defeated our workarounds. Besides a lot of swearing at my laptop, I really enjoyed the production process. Afterwards I sent all the stems off to Ross Saunders, who mixed and mastered what you’re hearing today!
Can we expect any gigs, when it is safe to do so?
Definitely! Open mic is where I started so I’ll be playing them first to get my match fitness back (nothing replaces live performance, both in attending and actually playing) but happy to perform wherever anyone wants me!
What is next for you?
I’ve learnt very basic video editing in lockdown so in the immediate future, I’ll be finishing off videos for at least a few more songs from On Love- expect at least one more single in the coming months! On the songwriting front, I’m working on a second album all about friendship (a big topic surprisingly underexplored in song!). Outside of DOAS, I’m working on a score for a poetry performance piece my fiancee has written.
Where can we find out more about you?
You’ll find everything I’ve released over at dogonaswing.co.uk (Bandcamp), and the username on most social media places will be ‘dogonaswing’. If you just search for ‘dog on a swing’, you will mostly find a lot of dogs on swings- something that always brightens my day!
Anything else you would like to tell us?
Thanks for reading and look out for videos from a session I’ve recorded exclusively for TrueStyle. Thank you for the questions!
I’d like to thank Ed for taking the time to answer our questions and wish him the best of luck with the album release in the next couple of weeks. Keep an eye on our socials for an exclusive session, coming soon