Dott are definitely the sunniest band to find themselves on Graveface Records… They embrace fuzzy sonic transgressions but, in general, they remain far more delightfully upbeat than label peers like Black Moth Super Rainbow, Xiu xiu, and Monster Movie… yet without being any less awesome. Last week the band released their debut LP, Swoon, and they have a handful of upcoming US dates lined up for 2014 as part of the Graveface Roadshow Tour (Although, sadly, they will not be at the local February 21st stop at Johnny Brenda’s.) with The Casket Girls and Stargazer Lilies. I recently got a chance to chat with lead singer Anna McCarthy who told me everything you need to know about Dott.
Izzy Cihak: So Dott is still a relatively new musical project. What have been the highlights of the band so far?
Anna McCarthy: Yes, in January we’ll have been together for two years. My highlights so far were playing Cake Shop in New York, playing Electric Picnic, and appearing on The Late Late Show (Ireland’s late night talk show). Also, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as much as when we played a couple shows with Torche in Ireland. They are the nicest people!
IC: What do you think is most important that the general public knows about Dott?
AM: Oh God, I’m terrible at this… Ummm, we play shiny, harmony-driven guitar pop and your ears will probably fall off, if you don’t listen to us right now!
IC: You’re based out of Galway, Ireland. What’s the music scene like over there? Us Yanks are pretty ignorant about non-US regional music scenes, aside from places like London, Paris, and Berlin.
AM: The Galway music scene is small but well-formed. It’s famous for its traditional Irish music, but there’s plenty of odd balls like us, So Cow, and Oh Boland doing our own thing. My favourite venue is the Róisín Dubh, but there’s a few fun pop-up spaces for shows too, like the Arts Centre and The Secret Garden and there’s a nice weekly night called Citóg every Wednesday, too. Also, friends of mine put on punk shows in a secret warehouse every couple weeks, which is always a lot of fun. It would be nice to have more of a variety of venues in Galway, but it’s such a small place that it doesn’t seem to happen. But then again, if the city became too big, it might lose the charm that makes it special.
IC: You‚ve gotten some pretty glowing critical praise from places like PopMatters and Brooklyn Vegan. Is there anyone that you feel like has best characterized, or just plain best “gets,” your sound, whether a critic or simply a friend?
AM: I don’t think I could pick out anyone in particular, but I’ve been so pleased with how we have been received. I think the idea behind Dott is just so simple that people seem to get it right away. All I wanted to do was write simple, feel-good, summery pop songs and keep it at that. The last thing I wanted to do was force anything and hopefully people have picked up on that and embraced it. I’m really happy with our reviews so far. They really seem to see where we were going with the album, which is a nice relief.
IC: You just released your debut album, Swoon. What were the album’s biggest influences and inspirations?
AM: The biggest influence was a six-month trip around the world with my boyfriend. We traveled around Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and then drove 4, 000 miles across the US. This was where the original idea for the band came to me; out of nowhere I started writing these feel-good summery pop songs. It was such an amazing time and I think the songs inspired by it really reflect the feelings I had of joy, romance, excitement, and freedom from responsibility.
IC: Do you have a favorite track from the album, or a track which you think most represents where your future sounds might be headed? I love the album, but I’m really into “Love You Too.” It sounds almost like if Pixies were a Phil Spector girl-group.
AM: Thank you! I think my favourite song on the album is the last song, “Another Summer,” which is a bit sadder than the rest of the album. In Ireland, loads of young people end up leaving the country ‘cos there’s no jobs, so every year more and more of your friends move away to other countries. It’s a bit of a ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?” kind of song, where you love where you live but you’re questioning if it’s still the same place when you take some special people out of the place. However, I don’t think it’s representative of where our sound is going, but more where we’ve been. We’ve already started recording a follow-up EP to Swoon and I think we might be maturing just a little bit, but not too much! I’ll also be on another road trip in the US this Spring, so it will be interesting to see how that inspires me this time around.
IC: What are your most significant hopes and plans for 2014? Any chance of a full-scale US tour?
AM: Yes! We’re off on a Graveface Roadshow with The Casket Girls, Stargazer Lillies, and Dreamend in March. The dates are here. The live show will be loud and fun. We can’t wait! Then in 2014 we’ll be releasing the follow-up EP and writing lots of new material and finally taking up some offers to get to the UK and Europe.