Local band Couch Dog’s debut album “How To Ruin Your Life Fast” (HTRYLF) will be dropping May 19. Lead singer Max Ferrer, bassist Tasha Lee, guitarist Pablo Acosta and drummer Josh Cheruvelil described the 14-track record as cathartic, versatile, cohesive and cumulative; all elements of the work combine to make the album a “rollercoaster of love,” in Cheruvelil’s words.
To create this emotional trip, the band crafted the details of each song and the overall tracklist with thoughtful intention.
“We’ve put a lot of thought into the order — we want people to experience ups and downs with it, both sonically and with the lyrics,” Lee said. “We tried to space it out so there’s natural crescendos and dips and resting points — very high highs and very low lows.”
The recorded nature of the album allows Couch Dog to play with the tempo and tone of their music more carefully in comparison to live shows, which is how they’ve most commonly shared their music in the past.
“Being live is such a different experience because you’re trying to keep energy up, keep people moving and keep people engaged … but doing the album gave us a chance to slow down and pick the sounds we want,” Ferrer said. “The slower sections are slower, the faster sections are faster, the louder sections are louder and the quiet sections are still loud enough for you to hear.”
Ferrer said he encourages audiences to listen with intention, too. He recommends listening in order, turning off any faders in Spotify or Apple Music settings and paying attention for the full 50 minutes of the album.
“The album is long, but there’s also definitely a halfway point called ‘Mary’s Interlude.’ If you’re tired, that’s where you should take a break. And then you should resume and finish the rest of the album,” Ferrer said.
Lee offered a glimpse into what listeners can expect to feel while listening to HTRYLF.
“We hope you laugh, dance, sing, do a backflip … and you might cry,” Lee said.
The band said the album takes inspiration from albums such as “You’re Going To Hate This” by the Frights, “Best Buds” by Mom Jeans, the “Scott Pilgrim v. The World” soundtrack and Beach Goons’ discography.
The band took inspiration for all the songs included on HTRYLF from relationships and general life experiences that Ferrer faced between his second and fourth years at Cal Poly.
“It was funny when we showed the album to one of our friends who was my roommate over quarantine. As he was listening to one of the songs, he looked at me and was like ‘I know when this was written!’ And as he kept listening he’d go ‘I know when that happened, too,’” Ferrer said.
Not only are the songs personal because of their content, but also because of how much energy the band has put into their creation and evolution.
“We’ve spent so much time with so many of the songs on the album that it’s very personal,” Ferrer said. “We’ve all grown with the songs and it’s really cool to see them achieve their ultimate form.”
Lee noted how the long creation process affected Couch Dog as a whole.
“In the best way, the album was very life-consuming for us. And it still is,” Lee said. “I think about it every day for most of the day.”
Acosta said there isn’t a day that goes by where one of the dogs doesn’t mention being excited for the album.
After all the time spent on the record, both in production and anticipation for the release, Couch Dog said they are ready for it to finally hit streaming services.
“We just want the album to be out — for people to hear it. We showed the album to our friends and someone told us that every song on the album has the potential to be someone’s favorite because they’re all so different,” Acosta said. “I’m excited to see what people say. We want to know what you like.”
Acosta said he wants one thing in particular with this album: for at least one person to go on a road trip and use the album as their journey’s soundtrack.