ARTIST SPOTLIGHTS: Dialogues, HogHead
The Riverwest24 took place this weekend and brought all sorts of fun throughout the annual neighborhood bike race. The “Riverwest Arby’s” lot on Center and Pierce (between High Dive and Mad Planet) hosted an afternoon of live music Saturday featuring local bands Dialogues, Future Plans and HogHead in addition to Action Chief from Madison and Cel Ray from Chicago.
Dialogues consists of vocalist Emily Morrow, guitarist Joe Kirschling, bassist Mark Zbikowski and drummer Quinn Cory. The band’s sound is influenced by a wide range of 90’s indie rock that the members grew up with and enjoy to this day. Kirschling shares how Dialogues formed, “I wanted to play guitar in a band after I’d played drums in so many bands for so long so I invited Mark and Emily and Quinn to come play with me; some of them didn’t have a choice (laughs).”
Cory recalls, “I had tweeted about wanting to play in a new band because some of my bands are less active right now.”
“I had just ended some projects so it was perfect timing for us,” Morrow adds.
They had a hard time naming the band but “Dialogues” stuck once they were gearing up to play their debut show at Cactus Club in January. “We liked it better than all the ones we hated,” Morrow laughs. “We had been decided on a name and told the venue for the first show that name, but then we realized we hated that name so we told them “just kidding!” and changed it to Dialogues. When we first started jamming we were playing a bunch of covers like Aldous Harding and Big Thief, just riffing on things that we like.”
Kirschling is excited about how everyone brings their own edge as they workshop songs, saying, “I’ll have things that are all over the board in terms of guitar riffs and then we just turn it into magic.”
“I love that about this band too,” Zbikowski replies. “Joe and Emily do a lot of the heavy lifting but we arrange the songs altogether in practice and that’s really fun to watch something take shape, just like three times playing through.”
Morrow touches on her lyrics, “I find them hard to write since I’ve never really written lyrics of my own before, but I’m learning how to storytell. I don’t want to write about the stuff that’s at home but I have all these feelings from getting older and I want to talk about them. It seems to be working and people seem to like it – it’s a work in progress.”
Dialogues hope to record soon; their set on Saturday comprised much of the material that they want to track. Their next show is a Planned Parenthood benefit at Falcon Bowl on August 20th.
HogHead is the duo of guitarist Tom Olwig and drummer Eliot Hess. Saturday was the punk-math rock act’s first show of the year and only their third show overall. The project formed from the ashes of the members’ previous band Beach Burial, as Hess explains. “Tom and I knew we wanted to do something different; we kind of did everything that we wanted to do with Beach Burial. Peter Woods and Taylor Campbell hit me up to start a band with them so I was practicing with them for a while, but Taylor ended up wanting to do other things so we had an opening and that’s when we brought Tom in. The name came from when my wife signed me up to be 102.9’s “HOG Head of the Day” and I had gotten a gift card to Harley-Davidson and a HOG Head shirt (laughs).”
They put out their debut album “Health, Beauty & Eternal Youth” in April 2022 with Woods still in the band, although he subsequently departed shortly after. “He ended up having job obligations and moved, so now it’s just Tom and I again like it was before,” Hess said. “We felt the title was fitting because it was a new chapter and a new beginning for us.”
In contrast to Beach Burial, HogHead goes for an almost-entirely instrumental approach with their songwriting; Olwig elaborates, “A lot of times, I’d have songs with vocals written that I’d bring to Eliot in full and the vocals were very important to it. Now it’s just all me and him focusing on the structures of songs, and I’ll come in with maybe one new riff that we’ll build off of rather than me bringing whole songs to Eliot, so it’s way more collaborative. Eliot’s also learning guitar and I’m doing a little bit of drums so there’s a lot more understanding of each other’s instruments that wasn’t there before.”
HogHead are currently piecing things together for a sophomore release. “We’ve been going back into our catalog of voice memos and riffs, and we do have a lot more songs now,” Hess concludes.
They plan to focus on recording for now but may hop on a bill here and there in the future.