Douga is a band based in Manchester, UK. Formed (and early recordings created and written) by multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Johnny Winbolt-Lewis. A rich mix of warm psychedelia, Americana and more European experimental influences.
Old self releases include Frozen Assets and Shadows And Aberrations. If the tracks from those fascinating opening gambits suggested a sandbox-of-sorts in which Winbolt-Lewis explored and drew together disparate ideas - ranging from more orthodox stripped-back styles of song writing to more astral sound structures - then new EP Mono No Aware, a Japanese phrase meaning “the sensitivity of things”, is the fully-realised result of those experimentations.
The use of Douga - a childhood nickname - isn’t coincidental; Winbolt-Lewis likens the joy derived from creative expression to losing himself in his imagination as a child, and as such the warmth of nostalgia deftly brushes the canvas of the lyrics and instrumentation of Mono No Aware, the EP steeped with a faded haze. Names like Tim Buckley and Neil Young are mentioned as influences, alongside more leftfield touchstones such as Broadcast and Tim Hecker. As such, tracks like ‘China Dolls’ don’t take long to lose the shackles of their orthodox structure in order to move towards explorations in repetition, layering and looser more atmospheric segments, mixed with a keen sense of spatial awareness and emotional resonance.
The songwriting combines a mixture of tracks penned individually and ideas developed and conceived in jams; it’s more of a band project than it initially started out as, with John Waddington on bass and keyboards and DBH on drums. Breaking down the hierarchy of a traditional band set-up, they constantly alter their roles; DBH plays additional violin and John moves from more traditional styles of playing to experimenting with affected drones and other aural curios.