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Sound Circuit - Online Exclusive

Barking up the right tree



Mickey Davis has proven himself to be one of the brightest young minds in the city. Serving as the Des Moines Social Club’s program director, Davis has brought innovative, highly successful classes and performances to the downtown space and has helped establish the Kum & Go Theater and The Basement Bar as bastions of advocacy for local art.

Additionally, Davis has spent the past four years expressing himself creatively as one half of disco and satin jacket enthusiasts, MAIDS. But now, Davis is setting his old duo aside and exploring a new realm of creative expression: meet Pet Sounds.

“Initially, I wanted a place where I could focus on solo work,” Davis said in an interview. “But the more I started thinking about the relationship between people and their pets, the more I realized I was on to something. It’s been an amazing journey.”


Mickey Davis of Pet Sounds.

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That journey first took Davis to the ARL, where he found Skylar, Captain Snickerbottom and Doggy Heggen, a trio of 4-year-old Labradoodles that came from the same litter. From there came what Davis describes as an intensive program of music instruction, where each canine was given the opportunity to spend time alone in a room filled with various musical instruments, in an effort to find their musical center.

“Obviously, things like trumpets wouldn’t work, because dogs don’t have lips,” Davis said. “But percussion instruments are great, and Doggy Heggen really found himself drawn to keyboards.

“From there, we just started jamming,” he continued. “Dogs are amazingly in-tune creatures. They seem to take to music instinctively. We seemed to go right from instrument selection straight into songwriting. It’s never felt this easy before. This is the best musical working relationship I’ve ever had.”

Pet Sounds is an act that Davis describes as “thought synth.”

“It’s like if Bon Iver and Two Door Cinema Club had a child in the ’80s,” he explained. “But with Olivia Newton John’s character from ‘Xanadu’ kind of dancing in the background. You really just have to see it.”

Davis has plans to take Pet Sounds on tour with local impressionist act Gloom Balloon this summer, with stops in Austin, Portland, Boulder and Minneapolis. But, for now, you can catch the act every Wednesday at the Vaudeville Mews, as Pet Sounds begins a two-month-long residency at the Fourth Street venue. CV



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