Dana Foote created the band Sir Chloe in college to act as her senior thesis, writing hit songs ‘Michelle’ and ‘Animal’ on the floor of her college dorm room. After the band's successful EP Party Favors, released in October of 2020, Sir Chloe toured with Portugal. The Man and alt-J, headlined two tours in the US and Europe, and opened for the Pixies. In the midst of growing as a musical group, Foote has been working on their latest record, I Am The Dog.
I Am The Dog is an attempt at understanding the mayhem that exists both in everyday life and the natural world, exploring themes of and differences between control and chaos. It’s an observation of the unavoidable violence we encounter in our lives, from mundane cruelties to natural brutality. The first release of the record is single ‘Hooves,’ a fast-paced and cool sound that should only be played at max volume. Foote’s voice is effortless, unbothered, yet emotionally vigorous as she sings ‘I don’t wanna hold hands / You’ve been chewing my hair over and over again’ on top of a contagious beat and thrashing guitar that discourages stillness.
Created alongside bandmates Palmer Foote, Austin Holmes, and guitarist Teddy O’Mara, Sir Chloe teamed up with producer John Congleton and writers Teddy Geiger and Sarah Tudzin for the curation of this album. I Am The Dog is a soundtrack that accompanies us while we navigate the tensions between what we want versus what we need, what we say versus what we think, our pride versus our shame.
Sir Chloe will be sharing I Am The Dog with the world starting in May, beginning in New York City and going on to perform in Ireland, the UK, Europe, and coming back to the U.S. in September to finish off the tour.
Dana chats with Flaunt from her home in Hell’s Kitchen to talk about the latest record.
Your upcoming album, I Am the Dog, is based around the idea of finding control amidst the chaos of life. What does chaos look like for you?
I think chaos can look like a lot of things. It can be small things like not being in control of one’s schedule to a broader sense of losing agency in relationships or losing track of time or direction. Creatively, it can look like a lot of things.
When we talk about chaos versus control or expression versus concealment, desire versus shame, do you think there's a middle ground that we as people can kind of comfortably find and live in? Do you think that we are kind of bound to be jumping between two opposites?
I think it depends a lot on who you are. I think some people find a middle ground and some people jump around.
And which kind of person are you?
Right now I'm jumping around.
What are the differences that you noticed between the making of your last EP Party Favors and the creation of this album?
Pretty much everything was different between this record and that EP. Party Favors was really more of a collection of songs that had been written over the course of about four or five years that we had put together to put out a body of work. Most of those songs were written back when we were in college, we had our first four songs that were put out under the name Sir Chloe, which were ‘Michelle’, ‘Animal', 'Walk You Home', and 'Too Close'. Those songs were recorded at our college in the music building. Michelle was written back in 2016 on the floor of my college dorm room. Those four songs were recorded in one fell swoop. We booked the studio around six or seven in the morning because it was finals week and I was about to graduate. So we just kind of recorded all those songs really quickly over the course of a few hours. Then, once those songs started getting a little bit of attention we were able to get more time and opportunity to record more songs–or, I guess opportunity is the wrong word–because we had people listening to the music after ‘Animal' came out, we had a reason to be recording the other songs. We didn't think anyone was going to hear those first four songs that we put out. I had a buddy who had an old paper mill that he said we could use and kind of camp out in for a couple days. I think we were up there for about a week in Dalton, Massachusetts. We got a sponsorship from a company called Warm Audio to send us mics and music equipment, and we just kind of set up in the corner of this warehouse to record the rest of Party Favors. Those were all songs that had been written for quite some time. Some of them were new, but most of them were a little older and we kind of shoved them all together and I made the art for the singles and also for the record. We released a lot of the singles independently, I don't remember what distributor we used, it was one of those ones where you pay like 20 bucks a year, and then they just stick 'em on DSPs. Then, we signed with my manager–my managers are Ethan Silverman and Zach Tetra. Ethan has this label called ‘Terrible Records.’ We were able to release that EP on his label, which was really great and super generous of him to let us release on his label. When we recorded I Am The Dog, it was totally different because at this point we had signed to a major label after ‘Michelle’ got a little bit of traction, and all of a sudden we were able to focus on music full-time, considering we had jobs before then. They set you up on writing dates when you sign to a label. All of a sudden it wasn't just me and Teddy, my guitarist writing the songs. It was like we were kind of on these dates with a bunch of different people too, to try to write songs. It went from this hobby that we were kind of messing around with to our full-time job. So, the way that we approached writing really changed because we weren't just waiting for inspiration to strike. You have to strip away a lot of that self-judgment and things have to be perfect and the line has to be the perfect line because you're focusing more on volume. Which, I think, breeds more interesting songwriting to be totally honest. We got to write with a bunch of writers that we really admired. Also, we got the opportunity to record with John Congleton, who produced this record. Whereas before we were totally self-produced. It was just the band in a warehouse. Now, we’re in studios working with John, who had had a firm, but gentle and understanding guidance with understanding where we were coming from with having total creative agency. Having so many cooks in the kitchen all at once and having him as a collaborator was really fantastic because both me and Teddy had admired him for so many years before we got to work with him. We wrote for two years, recorded it for one year and it was totally different. It was more glossy and more professional. Also, writing under a little bit of a microscope, because now we’re collaborating with people at a label. You're collaborating with managers, you're collaborating with other songwriters and producers and there's just a lot more voices. A lot of growth really. It kind of felt like we were children when we made that first record, and I think that we grew up a lot during this process and this feels like a much more adult process. Pretty much everything we did felt very new.
Now that you're here with professionals in the business, does this feel all-of-a-sudden, or is this a longstanding dream of yours? Or did you just kind of find yourself here?
I was personally always happiest when I was playing music with my friends since I was a kid. I always knew I wanted to do that or, I was hoping that I would be able to do that in some capacity. Even if that just meant after my nine to five I got to have band practice with my buddies. After I graduated college, I was going to give myself two years to really try and make it work before I fully committed to going into a different field and getting a quote unquote ‘real job.’ I was definitely hoping to work towards making music full-time. The opportunities that we've gotten even thus far, even if this all got taken away today, it's just such an unbelievable privilege to be able to do what we've been able to do. I didn't personally expect it to get this far.
Speaking of juxtapositions and opposites, what's something that you're loving right now and something that you're hating?
I've recently been loving reading historical books. I just read this book on Chernobyl and really enjoyed it. Before that I read this book about the Sex Lives of Medieval Women. I read this book called Chaos about the Manson murders, and really enjoyed those books and learning about his history. And hate…I've been following this- I mean, I don't know, who gives a shit what I think? But, I’ve been following that train wreck in Ohio, and the laws that the government lobbied for to make all that possible. Especially being on the tail end of reading the Chernobyl book, I'm certainly not a fan of that.
Are there any people, places, or things that inspired any specific songs or the theme of the album?
I lived in LA for a very brief time, and during that time I lived with a dog named Goose who I love. We still keep in touch. I still see her every once in a while. That's what the song ‘I Am The Dog’ is about.
What is keeping you hopeful or inspired right now?
I think the promise of having new music coming has been very exciting. It's been quite some time since we've released original music. it's been about a year, and there's just been a lot of work going into that. Right now, because the album's finished, it's all been approved, it's been mostly on the visual side and I didn't draw the art this time around like I did with Party Favors, but I have been involved in the visuals and have been really enjoying collaborating with Molly Hawkins, who's been working on the visuals with me. I think that's been really inspiring as well as spending time with other people who are excited. Music and art is always inspiring, it keeps the juices flowing.
When you're making a song or an album, are you thinking about how people are going to receive it, or are you more so creating for yourself?
I think there's a combination. I really think that there is a healthy combination because even if you write something for yourself, you're giving it away, and people are going to consume it and project themselves onto the music or art or whatever it is, which is one of my personal favorite parts about sharing this stuff, is hearing what other people see in it. I think partially it's for me and partially–it's definitely on my mind, how it's going to be received or how things are going to be interpreted, just out of a little bit of self-indulgent curiosity, I guess.
Do you have any insights or wisdom about being somebody who's doing what they love in their twenties?
Well, I've actually recently been telling people that I'm in my forties.
Do they believe you?
I don't know. That's not important. I think the important thing is that I believe me. I think life is short, but also unbelievably long. At the end of the day, all we have is love. Love, art, and science.
Photographed by Ambar Navarro
Styling by Damaris Valverde
Production Coordinate: Nele Moens
Photo Assistant: Max Flick
Lighting PA: Charles Han
Hair: Jocelyn Vega