In The Studio: Happy Tooth & Dug

Happy Tooth & Dug is a band from Columbus, OH that recently mixed and mastered their debut album ‘W.H.Y.G.O.D.W.H.Y’ here at Vaughan Music Studios.  We talked to the band about their music and the upcoming album, set to release September 30th!


Happy Tooth & Dug is: Colin Ward - vocals, keyboard, Douglas Gamble - vocals, harmonica, Ryan Liptak - vocals, keyboard, guitar, production, Eric Dixon - lead guitar, Corey Blaies - drums, Phil Effingham - bass, kazoo, cassettes

How would you describe Happy Tooth & Dug's music? Who are some of your influences?

We blend poetic/'conscious' Hip Hop with genre-crossing progressive music, our debut record is a lyrical and compositional exploration of pessimism and hope. Influences Include Eyedea & Abilities, Mr. Bungle, John Williams, etc.

What sorts of instrumentation are you using on the project?

You'll hear everything from ukuleles and banjos to full blown orchestra and crushing guitars. We realized early on that Hip Hop is a pretty limitless genre and we took advantage of that.

What is your songwriting process like?

Our songs typically start with a concept and a group discussion days before even a note is written, we try and pick out a few compositional tools and writing devices that reflect the central idea and hit the ground running. Music and lyrics are written simultaneously and are kept open to changes throughout the process. A spoken line can easily gain a melody and what starts on guitar could be re-purposed as a horn section, or a kazoo solo. Whatever the song calls for.

When did you first start making music together? How did the group form?

The whole project stemmed from a chance meeting in 2012 between Colin Ward (Happy Tooth) and I (Ryan Liptak). I invited a friend over to play music and Colin tagged along, twelve hours later we had an early version of "last words". The next day we were joined by Colin's longtime friend and collaborator Doug Gamble (Dug) and began laying the groundwork for W.H.Y.G.O.D.W.H.Y. After writing a handful of songs we recruited the rest of the band (Eric Dixon, Corey Blaies, Phil Effingham) to finish the record and play shows.

The album art for Happy Tooth & Dug's debut album 'W.H.Y.G.O.D.W.H.Y'

What is your favorite part of the recording process?

Nothing beats the moments when you hear your "crazy idea" start to flesh out into a song, or finally getting the "perfect sound" after moving the mic for the tenth time. Also, having our record mixed by Mark Abrams here at Vaughan Music Studios was a pretty incredible experience.    

Where do you typically perform live? Any shows coming up?

We really like the OSU campus area. At the moment we're excited to play Worst Kept Secret Fest VII on October 10th at the Dude Locker, and our CD Release Party on October 25th at Tree Bar.

When do you hope to release the album? Where will your fans be able to get it?

W.H.Y.G.O.D.W.H.Y. will be released digitally September 30th on iTunes and Bandcamp. Physical CDs will be available first at our release party.


Click here to visit Happy Tooth & Dug’s Website, and be sure to listen to/download their album ‘W.H.Y.G.O.D.W.H.Y’ from bandcamp below:


and click here for more information about recording at Vaughan Music Studios in Columbus, Ohio

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