The resounding feeling while listening to The New Way Out, the Doped Up Dollies debut album, is overwhelming joy. The music is a hybrid of ska, doo-wop, double dutch, and soul but the emotion is absolute fun. Those feelings continued as we interviewed the band. What started off as wanting to learn more about the group ended with wanting to hang out and be their best friends. Enjoy the interview and be sure to check out the new record.
How did the Doped Up Dollies first become part of the Big D family?
Sirae: Dave had a great idea to expand Big D and the Kids Table and add female vocals. He began the idea of “stroll”, a ska-doowop-surf rock combo. After he finished brainstorming that, he reached out to Hayley Jane, Tip The Van’s Simone and Nicole Oliva and myself. From there, stroll was born!
You have had a few line-up changes over the years, How did the current formation of the group come to be?
Brie: Sirae became one of the original Doped Up Dollies from the beginning. I met the band when asked if I could be in their music video for We Can Live Anywhere right before their Fluent in Stroll tour. They were a dolly short so I was asked if I could sing…. At the time I hadn’t really sung professionally but I tried out and got the tour!
Erin: I came down from the hair heavens and landed upon the gloriousness that is Brie and Sirae of the already established Doped Up Dollies.
Your music has a lot of old school ideas but feels very current. What types of sounds and influences are you trying to convey in the music?
Brie: In the beginning, Shirley Ellis with The Clapping Song really inspired Dave to write Fluent in Stroll. There’s also a lot of 50’s and 60’s doo-wop with a little bit of 70’s car chase/ Tarantino influence in there as well. For this last record though, we added some Specials and Madness vibes to the mix.. We gave everyone a little taste of everything for The New Way Out.
Erin: I feel like I am surfing in the 1960’s in a vintage bathing suit when I’m listening to most of the songs. On other tracks I feel like I am cruisin’ down the street with the Beastie Boys.
Sirae: Talented people with beautiful voices! We want that old school, feel good vibe.
What is the songwriting process like and who is involved?
Brie: For The New Way Out, the Big D tribe wrote the songs and Dave wrote the lyrics with the girl’s input here and there.
Sirae: We added our flair to it and threw out ideas for our personal tastes but most of it was Dave’s creativity.
Given that Big D and the Doped Up Dollies share the same musicians – does that lead to some interesting music collaborations that we have yet to hear?
Brie: We have already collaborated with such amazing musicians. On The New Way Out you’ll hear Coolie Ranx of Pilfers on the track Be Free, and badass selector and musician, Maddie Ruthless, of The Far East on Skinhead and Righteousness. We hope to work with more talented people from the scene in the future!
Erin: And our track Oi DJ with Maddie… That’s what happens when you take the two bands and put them into one room to play a song…. Pure awesomeness.
Sirae: Oh, absolutely! This is only the beginning!
The recording of The New Way Out sounds pretty legendary. Where and when did you record the material?
Brie: Great question! For The New Way Out the writing process was unlike anything Big D has ever done before. With the hectic schedules and band members living in Boston and New York, it was pretty difficult to get everyone to take the time off to write a whole record. To make things harder, Mad Oak Studios, the recording studio we recorded Stomp and Stroll, was under construction at the time. Dave and I (we’re married) live in a little cabin on a lake in New Hampshire and asked Benny Grotto, recording engineer master, and his assistant, Steph Durwin, to set up their mobile recording rig at our house. We had the band stay with us for a two nights. We set out to just write and record a few songs for an EP and ended up with 13 amazing songs for the Dollies record. The guys would talk about a song, noodle it, arrange it, and by the third take, record it. All the while Dave and I would cook and make sure the guys were fed and beered. The tracks recorded that weekend were never edited or changed, it was purely organic writing. After that Dave took the songs and wrote lyrics to them while the girls met weekly to start shaping the songs. In the winter we launched a Kickstarter that funded in just 5 days and by the end DOUBLED our original goal! During the Kickstarter, Benny and Steph came again with their mobile rig to the cabin and we laid the vocals, horns, and percussion in a week. It was a remarkable process for all of us and we are truly proud of the finished project.
Now that the record is out, what is next for the band?
Erin: We just had our CD release parties, we had our first show on Halloween night, and we packed all our KickStarter stuff to be sent out in December when the vinyl comes so the sky is the limit now. Dollies are on the loose and ready to dominate.
Brie: Well we just played our first show and judging by the response of the crowd, I think many more shows are in line for us. There is talk about possible touring but nothing in stone yet.
Sirae: We have a few fun things in the works, so hopefully 2016 will be an adventure for us.
Getting off topic, what are you obsessed with right now? Could be anything – music, TV, movies, food, etc?
Brie: Umm…watching Cops and Strawberry Pop Tarts.
Sirae: Calzones, Supernatural, and Doc Martens!
Erin: This is my favorite question…I am recently obsessed with Justin Bieber’s new music and busy diving headfirst into fall and winter weddings for doing hair!
Brie: (scoffs at the words “Justin Bieber”)…