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Culture Shock

Interview with Doug Dulgarian of “They are Gutting A Body of Water”


The Philadelphia shoegaze band They are Gutting A Body of Water, known as TAGABOW, was a part of the lineup for WIUX’s annual festival, Culture Shock this year.  

TAGABOW is a band that started as a solo project by Douglas Dulgarian, the lead singer of the band. Dulgarian also has a record label named Julia's War, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


TAGABOW’s sound is nostalgic, from the video game instrumentals to the hazy trademark shoegaze sounds, similar to classical shoegaze bands like My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and Pale Saints.  

I was able to interview Dulgarian about the band’s process, advice on running a record label and more.  

Aaliyah: What’s your favorite song to perform and why? 

Doug: “Behind the Waterfall,” because I don’t have to sing. I love N64 soundtracks, and it feels like that, so being able to do that with a rock band is cool.  

Aaliyah: You recently dropped a new song with a music video with SUN ORGAN and Greg Mendez. How was working with them, and how did the music video come to be?  

Doug: We’ve been friends for a really long time [Greg Mendez]. Basically, I had a song I didn’t know what do with, and I brought it to Greg. He was like ‘Let’s go to Tim’s [Tim Jordan, SUN ORGAN] house and hang out,’ and Tim started to do stuff with it. With the video, my friend Reece hit me up and said ‘I have a 16 mm film.’ He said he wanted to shoot something and I said I had a song; He came from New York and he had an idea of what to do. The whole process of making the song and music video took about four days.  

Aaliyah: What are some of your favorite upcoming shoegaze bands?  

Doug: I love Full Body 2, Julie and Lola Star. I think that there’s so many I could make a whole list. Shoegaze is never-ending.  

Aaliyah: What is your creative process like? Do you follow a similar formula for songs, or try something different each time?  

Doug: I don’t think I set out to do the same thing every time, but it feels like I do the same thing every time. That’s what is comfortable and that’s what works. I’ll typically write a riff and then send it to PJ [Carroll]. He’ll expand upon it and we’ll bring it to Ben [Opatut] and Emily [Lofing]. It’s pretty systematic and typically that way every time. 

Aaliyah: What is your favorite EP or album you guys have made so far?  

Doug: Destiny XL for sure. It was the first record I’ve made in my life where I was like ‘This is how I want it to sound always.’ It felt like a circle moment in my life. I love Lucky Styles, but it doesn’t speak to me the same way. When I revisit the Destiny XL it's always a satisfying feeling.  


Aaliyah Soto (left) and Douglas Dulgarian (right)

Aaliyah: What was your favorite song to make and what makes it different? Was it the lyrics or the process? 

Doug: I think it is interesting that even instinctually as human beings we find faces in patterns. I think listening to music, what you are drawn to is the voice, when the lyrics and melody work together. I think my favorite would be maybe “63 skies,” but it took us about five months to make. “eightball” was also fun because it was quick to make. It took us about two days. I think of songs like tattoos; It reminds you of a period of your life that’s permanently out there.  

Aaliyah: What direction do you want to move Julia's War to?  

Doug: I want to continuously collaborate with other labels. I do that all the time, like Rope Bridge in Atlanta, Crafted Sounds in Pittsburgh, and Flesh & Bone in Chicago. We want to continue our collaboration releases and continue to put out tapes. 

Aaliyah: What advice would you give to someone starting up a house show venue or label?  

Doug: Just do it. I hate to be like Nike, “Just do it,” but really do it [laughs]. There’s no way to learn how to do it without actually trying it out. You don’t want to have a monopoly over someone’s sound. I wish more kids were making labels where they just put out their friend's music. I don’t want to eat everything up. Running a label is way easier than you think, you just make the tapes, send the info into a national audio company, and pay the money. Then, you have the tapes. Running a house venue is kind of similar, you have to set up the bill, make a flyer and make sure [of] your audience. It is just a matter of doing it. 

Aaliyah: My last question, what body of water would you gut first?  

Doug: You know what’s weird [laughs]? I think of how all the oceans are connected. Probably the Atlantic Ocean because I grew up on the East Coast. I grew up swimming all the time. Maybe a little pond behind my childhood home that I think of often. I don’t know [laughs].


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