With a full-length debut and a blues EP under their belt, Dustin Douglas & the Electric Gentlemen return this week with their sophomore full-length album, “Break It Down.” The album finds the band continuing to explore its blues-rock approach but with some subtle tweaks, thanks to some new songwriting and production ideas.
The band — which in addition to Dustin Douglas on vocals and guitar features bassist Matt “The Dane” Gabriel and drummer Tommy Smallcomb — will celebrate the June 1 release of the record with a hometown show in the lobby of the FM Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on Saturday, June 2. Below, you can hear the debut of one of our favorite songs on the album, the Led Zeppelin-flavored “Goodbye,” and read our interview with Douglas, whom we chatted with right before he was about to perform at Jack White’s Third Man Rolling Record Store at Gallery of Sound in Wilkes-Barre on Memorial Day.
Following up on the first album and EP, what was your intention going into the making of “Break It Down”?
I feel like where we’re at right now is a really good place, so we kind of wanted to take this period of time and lay it down. I feel like the records we did previously, all those records brought us to this record.
There seems to be more focus on production this time, with some little effects or different drum sounds throughout.
Yeah, this time around, a little bit more bells and whistles, and we wanted to spend a little bit more time on it. And this gave it a little wider reach. It’s still raw, but definitely not as raw.
You co-produced the album with Paul Smith, whom you’ve played with in The Badlees, at his new studio, Eight Days a Week. What did Paul bring to “Break It Down”?
Working with Paul is a treat. It’s always nice to have a fresh ear, and everything that Paul recommended worked. Producers can be like “try this, try that,” and you don’t like what they’re recommending, and Paul was 10 for 10, and that was a joy. His energy is infectious, and he’s such a great guy to work with. And his new studio is unbelievable. We basically stayed there two weekends in a row. You stay above the studio. It was just “Operation: Make a record.”
How would you describe the dynamic between the three band members now that you’ve been working together for some time?
I mean, we’re a band but we’re really also best friends, so what we all bring to the table is such a great thing. We have this magical thing that’s running right now. The gas tank is on full. I feel like we’re all at the best places of our lives musically, and to bring that together while the iron is hot is really special.
Local blues standout Teddy Young will be opening the release show at the Kirby. How did that come about?
Me and Teddy have become pretty close friends over the years, and we’ve been trying to play a show together for years. When this show got booked, I was like, “Dude, do you want to play this show?” and it worked out. Teddy’s a monster. I think it’s going to be a really good night of music.
The Kirby Center and Gallery of Sound record stores are very familiar to any music fan that grew up in Northeastern Pa. What is it like to now be working with those places and performing there?
I think it’s a good indication that your hard work is paying off, to have that relationship with those people after all these years of cutting your teeth. It’s nice having this professional support this far into the game. Those places are huge pillars in the music scene.