The Sweetest Sounds; An Interview with Nick D'Andrea and Jon Elliott of Doc Robinson

Just about four blocks away from where he lives, I catch Nick D’Andrea already bunkered down within the studio in Columbus, Ohio. Three weeks has passed since the start of the mixing for Doc Robinson’s forthcoming debut full-length album, scheduled to be released in May. Meanwhile, D’Andrea’s bandmate Jon Elliott is a little late coming to our phone conversation. I quickly find out that Elliott is on the other side of town, quickly packing up his gear from a gig with his cover band Popgun. The early show was held at Bluestone, a church that has now been converted into an high-end event and concert venue. It takes D’Andrea a couple of calls when we were able to reach Elliott. “There’s another band loading on while I’m loading off stage,” Elliott mentioned. The day’s itinerary is far from over; there’s a holiday show in town that will be happening later in the evening.
The friendship of the duo from Doc Robinson dates all the way back to when D’Andrea was attending college in town. Elliott’s other band The Floorwalkers cemented themselves as one of the top acts in town; combining elements of rock and soul to their lively shows. A year into knowing each other, the duo went to work on writing a song together, but later it was dropped. “We both began learning about how co-writing works,” D’Andrea says. “We did sessions in Nashville where you go into a room with a stranger and write a song within five hours.”
The work in Nashville, along with co-writing with other musicians, allowed the duo to come back and revisit their plans. Just ten months ago, Elliott and D’Andrea began writing the song “It’s Over”. Both musicians feverishly texted one another during the writing period, which then led them to call their project Doc Robinson. “We had a really frank discussion after writing the song on what we wanted everything to sound like,” D’Andrea declared. “It’s weird how much that its proven to be the case now.”
Already having a EP released early last year titled Golden Daze, Doc Robinson are pushing the boundaries to produce slick pop sounds. “We want to have a polished produced sound with an organic message,: Elliott explained. “For our sake, we wanted to have the music reflect our personalities based on how we write. It can be very easy to lose sight of that and write pop songs in sake of try to have something catchy.”
Doc Robinson’s full length will be featuring a full arsenal of talented musicians that are from the Columbus area. The recording process has been primarily loose and lively; tracking at one point a rhythm section that has also been a part of local shows. As for the vision of where Doc Robinson want to take their songs, the duo explained that they see it as a flourishing blend of older soul singers like Smokey Robinson and indie rock band Dr. Dog. The work being done on the full-length has given both D’Andrea and Elliott fresh perspectives. For D’Andrea, this marks the first time he’s been part of recording a full-length. “It’s been a lot work (laughs),” D’Andrea revealed. “It’s been a lot like the process of how the records that got made when I was young. ”
As for Elliott, Doc Robinson is a transition from what he has done previously. With The Floorwalkers, Elliott and the band are used to writing over forty plus songs and trim it down to about fifteen for albums. Working with D’Andrea, the vibe is completely different. “Nick and I have been releasing every song that we have written, so that’s pretty amazing.”
Click onto the single to hear “I’m Not Gone”: