Ever heard of La Blogotheque?

In the age of having an Internet where everyone can enjoy the same media together, La Blogotheque posts intimate, high-production value captures of the greatest music in the world. Sigur Ros whomps on glass bottles or Bon Iver walks around strapped to a timpani — that sort of thing. But it’s usually not preconceived in any way, just an organic performance by these musicians, and, for the fan, an innovative way to get inside music.

That’s where [dog]and[pony] comes in. In an amazing boon to any music scene, but especially for Portland’s familial version, Nick Poulin and Krister Rollins have fused their talents in an endeavor that has lifted local artists to another level by using the same raw, tight-shot video storytelling.

With a weekend of music-rich DVD-release parties on tap (including Friday at Space in Portland and Saturday at The Oak & The Ax in Biddeford), the guys at [dog]and[pony] will be able to enjoy the finest performers in the land paying back the favor, in their honor.

Describe the conversation where the concept for [dog]and[pony] was born. In what ways has the project evolved from those original ideas?

Rollins: We attended the same high school where we first started making horrible short movies. We then each went to separate colleges where we studied filmmaking and returned home with our degrees and no real idea about how to make them work in practice.

Poulin: [dog]and[pony] was directly inspired by La Blogotheque, an online video site that features popular artists from all over the world. We had just seen their Fleet Foxes video and thought, “Hell, we could do that.” Then we spent three weeks trying to come up with a name for it, borrowed a camera, and begged Dead End Armory to let us film them.

The biggest changes we’ve noticed over the years have mainly involved our style of production. The first three videos were shot as a single take. After that, we started using different editing techniques to help capture the mood of the song. While filming the Lady Lamb the Beekeeper episode at the Tower of Song festival in May 2009, a lack of appropriate B roll of the artist forced (my) hand to use more juxtaposition in editing. The resulting video was far and away our best work to date, and the technique stayed with us.

Rollins: We’ve also started up a fledgling label — The [dog]and[pony] Label — with three signed artists (Jakob Battick, Good Kids Sprouting Horns and Jared Fairfield), and a handful of plans for future albums.

You’re putting together a feature film next year. What do you hope for the film?

Poulin: … I’ve been working with bands that have made an impact outside of the state of Maine. Brenda, Lady Lamb, Jacob & The House of Fire and Spose have all found success, and it’s my goal to have similar success in filmmaking. The best way to achieve that is making a feature film and hitting the festival circuit. My hope is that the film will do well in festivals across the U.S., and if not, my plan is to tour the movie myself.

How are you coping with Lady Lamb splitting town (for Boston)?

Poulin: Lady Lamb for me is one of the top three quintessential artists in Portland. Certain musicians inspire me as a filmmaker, and Lady Lamb is definitely one of them. I’ll definitely miss her presence.

Rollins: I’m torn. It’s a bittersweet time. As one of the loveliest things to happen to Portland music, I’m sad to see her go, but if there’s someone from Portland who’s going to do amazingly on the outside, it’s her. So I’m getting by with her recordings and our recordings of her, and I’m getting ready to be the first to say “dibs” when she makes it big.

How does the documentary medium compare to the music video?

Poulin: The level of direction is the big difference. With most of the episodes, I don’t get involved in what the artist does or plays or how they want to play their music. In the Brenda and Spose videos, I had more of a hand in guiding what we saw on screen. With the Brenda video, for instance, I wanted to make the party more unhinged, so I encouraged more people to pick up instruments and to get crazy with the booze, throwing it around and pouring it over everything.

What was the year’s most surprising shoot?

Poulin: I would say Brenda. Because I showed up with my brother not knowing what to expect, and found five guys drinking Natty Ice from a trash can. I didn’t know what to expect. We had nothing planned. It was like “You wanna shoot a music video?” “Sure,” show up and hope for the best. With all that said, I consider it the best video I’ve made thus far.

Rollins: It was Alberta Cross for me. They’re an internationally touring group that Nick and I both like quite a bit. The idea for a proper D&P episode never paid off, but Nick caught their show at PCMH (Port City Music Hall) and talked them up, and convinced their management to let us shoot something. So the day after the show, we got to hang out in Portland with one of our favorite bands. We showed them Novare Res and Amigos and the pier, and had a fun time. 

Mike Olcott is a freelance writer who lives in Portland and Boston.