Former Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty isn’t sure why he decided to go back and re-record some Soul Coughing songs for this new album (the disc’s full title is a list of all its songs). Doughty performs tonight at 8 at the Beachland Ballroom where he’ll play a set of Soul Coughing tunes.
“Well, I’ve been trying to come up with a succinct, easy line to just employ in interviews,” says Doughty when asked about what compelled him to revisit the Soul Coughing catalog. “I got nothing. I don’t know why I’m doing it and I don’t know why now. I started working on it and it gained a lot of momentum and now here I am.”
While Soul Coughing’s music had a beatnik jazz vibe, Doughty used more electronic samples this time around as he fleshes out tunes like “Super Bon Bon” and “Circles” with electronic samples and hip-hop beats to make them sound funkier than their originals. It’s actually a return to his roots.
“When I was in my twenties, I spent a lot of time in London seeing drum ’n’ bass and house DJs,” he says. The songs were written with that kind of thing in mind. The songs were meant to be club bangers. I got to go back and make the club bangers I always wanted to make.”
“True Dreams of Wichita” also gets funkier as a result of Doughty’s remake.
“It was a conceived as a big beat with a bass line,” he says. “I wrote it on the roof of my old apartment on Spring and Elizabeth on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I wrote it in ’90 or ’91. It was a couple of years before Soul Coughing even existed. I just wanted to build a beat on it.”
While Doughty recorded the songs with Catherine Popper on bass and Good Goose (Mac Lethal, Homeboy Sandman) handling production, for the live show Popper and drummer Pete Wilhoit will accompany him. Doughty will play guitar and handle the samples.