DOG DAY with MARINE DREAMS and HUT at Parts and Labour (1566 Queen West), Friday (July 13), doors 10 pm. $8. RT, SS. See listing.
Dog Day's Seth Smith and Nancy Urich live by a DIY rule of thumb. The Halifax lo-fi rockers record their own albums, design and screen-print their album art and merchandise, release music on their Fundog label and shoot their own videos.
That approach applies to touring, too.
"Just before we left, I made a little bed out of milk crates inside our minivan," says singer/guitarist Smith, from a stopover at a McDonald's in North Dakota. (The fast food chain, they discovered, has free WiFi.)
"It's great - we're avoiding those sketchy times when a person says you can stay at his house but really means your bed is the couch in front of the TV and he's going to play Guitar Hero on you all night."
The milk crate bed wouldn't have worked so well a few years ago, when Dog Day were a four-piece. But for their third album, 2011's dark, raw and melodic Deformer, the married Smith and Urich moved to the country, trimmed down the lineup, and Urich learned to play drums.
"I really love being a two-piece. Only two people have to be tight, you know?" Smith says, laughing. "It's pretty hassle-free. We just go onstage and play, without a lot of set-up. In the early years I used to worry a lot before we played, always had butterflies in my stomach. Now I don't, because I'm comfortable with what we can do."
Their current tour - they left in early June - is their first lengthy one in years. They've been kept hard at work for the last two on their feature-length film debut, Lowlife, about a lonely musician's addiction to psychotropic slugs - living drugs - that lead her to an island and a talking dog.
Co-produced by Urich and co-written, directed and produced by Smith, it premieres later this month at Montreal's Fantasia International Film Festival.
"I'm kind of a secretive guy, so I hadn't shown it to anyone," Smith explains. "I don't know why. Halifax is a small town. I'm just like that. Fantasia were the first people to see it, and they really liked it, so that was very exciting."
I mention its super-trippy trailer.
"Yeah, it is a drug movie, essentially. But more so it's a mystery, leaning toward film noir. It's not for everybody, but I'm really proud of it. I accomplished what I set out to do with it. So even if no one else likes it, I still do."