The Dollyrots are one of the most dedicated pop-punk outfits to come out of the US in recent years, members Luis Cabezas and Kelly Ogden have been storming the American scene with a run of huge albums and EPs, and even a freshly released live album. In short, they’re killing it, right off the back of their brand new EP Mama’s Gonna Knock You Out! we chatted to them on the last leg of their UK tour with Bowling for Soup to chat about accidental albums, getting asked to tour on MySpace, and plans for the future.
AMBY: Hey! I’m here with Luis from The Dollyrots in Bristol, have you been here long? How do you like it?
The Dollyrots: Hey! Usually the bus drives at night and so we sleep when we travel so we get to wake up in the city that we’re gonna play in so we got here at like 5am or something, but it’s like, we’re just asleep and normally the band will sleep until like mid-morning, or sometimes into the afternoon and sometimes late afternoon! Depending on what happened the night before, but yea! We haven’t done much exploring outside of like a one block radius of where we are. It’s funny, we always have the intention of going out and exploring whatever town we’re in but usually something comes up like between sleeping, finding food ‘cause there’s always, like, the food hunt. There’s always something to do with setup, we always do soundcheck early during the day – the day kinda goes by like a blur.
AMBY: You guys have very recently brought out a new EP called Mama’s Gonna Knock You Out! What was the recording process for that like?
The Dollyrots: That was just kind of an accident to be honest, like we finished out US tour in LA which is where we’re based and we had been recording a live album that we were funding through PledgeMusic, and one of the incentives that we wanted to give to the people that had pledged for it some kind of bonus content, and we didn’t know if that was gonna be in the form of a single or some other kind of digital ‘thing’ and we just thought ‘alright, let’s just go into the studio, write three songs real quick, release it as an exclusive and that’ll be the end of it’ but it turned out really good and we’re really really proud of it and we just thought ‘whatever, we’ll release it’ and we did it to coincide with the UK tour and it’s be awesome, we play one of the songs in the set, so it was just kind of a thing where like, the intent was not to have a new release but was to give the people who pledged something fresh, but it’s been received really well, the press has been really really good for it so we’re excited about it.
AMBY: You mentioned that you’ve recorded the live DVD which you released recently, what was recording that like in comparison to playing regular shows or recording regular albums?
The Dollyrots: Well, we ended up just doing one show, just filming and sound recording one show, so like the whole process was way more complicated than just recording an album, we’ve recorded six albums so we know what we’re doing when it comes to creating a studio recording, but this was totally different, ‘cause just doing the whole film thing is totally different because you have to deal with like editors and producers and there are like different titles and skill sets of the people we were dealing with and as part of the pledge we were filming the tour and we made them like updates from the road so I think like there are just so many more layers like, rather than just an album it was like an album and a short film, and a tour diary, but we’re really happy with the way it turned out.
AMBY: As you said, you guys have released 6 albums and a whole bunch of EPs, so you kinda know what you’re doi-
The Dollyrots: I think so, well, I hope so!
The Dollyrots and AMBY: [laughs]
AMBY: Your last album, was an acoustic album, what influenced the decision to ditch the electrics for that record?
The Dollyrots: That was another accidental release as it was born out of the same thing essentially, one of the donation incentives was to have us write a song for you and the ideas was that they’d give us three lines, or like a theme, or a person that they care about or some experience that they wanted a song written about just for them, and these fans, it ended up being fifteen fans got a song, and so we ended up with a collection of fifteen songs written for our fans, and when it was all said and done we were like ‘Hey, this is kind of good enough to release!, let’s just put it out there!’ and again it was like born out of the concept of trying to do something special of the fans, so when it was all over we had something truly special. I’m proud of that one because it was the first one that we recorded and engineered and sound-wise did it completely on our own, so yeah, I feel like there’s a certain magic to it, it’s a little naïve sounding but that adds to it’s charm.
AMBY: Do you use Spotify personally?
The Dollyrots: I don’t really use it very much but like I do have an account.
AMBY: What’s your opinion on music streaming sites in general?
The Dollyrots: Uh, I feel like it’s just another way for people to find your music, if you’re like a major artist and you have a machine around you then it doesn’t make sense if you’re someone like Taylor Swift it just doesn’t make sense to use it and see that you’re getting fractions of pennies on the dollar for each play, right? For T-Swift or Beyonce or for someone of that stature it just doesn’t make sense, but for a band like us, we’re always acquiring new fans, the majority, like 99.999% of the people in the world don’t even know an independent band of our stature exists, so if someone accidentally stumbles upon us through Spotify, or like a YouTube playlist or like whatever then we welcome that, and I know they’re not paying us- we can see like the amount of royalties that we get from Spotify, it shows us and it says like ‘0.0001 cents’ but that’s okay because maybe that person gets turned on to our band, maybe that person goes and discovers that we have other music, or they come to a show, and then that person goes and supports the next thing we do, we think that music is a shared thing, so we’re all for sharing- I mean it’s better if they send us a cheque, I’m not like against money or anything!
AMBY: Speaking of sharing, you guys have been sharing the last two weeks over here with Bowling for Soup and Lacey, what’s it like just being on tour for two straight weeks, a show every night?
The Dollyrots: Oh well, like we’re at day 15 right now and by this point, a lot of bands would have taken a couple of days off someone in the mix but I think that we’re just used to doing it this was, especially with BFS, but it’s just really cool, everyone gets along, everyone is friends, there isn’t the tension that you’d maybe expect from a tour of this magnitude, we’re got two big buses and a truck, and pyro, but considering how much work goes into making the show happen every day it’s a pretty positive, chilled environment which is really cool because it’s not a situation that we feel weird about having out two year old be a part of or anything like that, it’s been really nice.
Nice like, polite English lads, the Lacey guys, and BFS are just our buddies so it’s great.
AMBY: Do you guys have any plans to come back to the UK on your own sometime soon?
The Dollyrots: We’d really love to, yeah, we’d like to come back on a headline thing, or supporting a band that we like or are friends with, the key so if you’re gonna do it with another band, there should be some familiarity, we wanna feel like we’re doing it with friends, you know?
AMBY: Do you think it’ll happen with the BFS guys again?
The Dollyrots: I don’t know, I don’t really know what their plans are to be honest, I didn’t even know like, if, we were under the same impression as everyone else that they just weren’t coming back, we had to say that we couldn’t do the farewell tour because Kelly (Ogden, bass) was pregnant and we were really sad like ‘oh man we’re not gonna be there with them for that’ and when Jaret asked us to do this, we were just as shocked as you were, but moving forward I think they’re just gonna be going full steam ahead, and if they ask us to be a part of it, of course we wouldn’t say no, always say stuff to doing stuff with them, but if not, it’s not a big deal, we’ll find a way to come back here.
AMBY: You’ve got a pretty special relationship with the BFS guys that’s gone back a long while, including the ‘One Big Happy’ tour and album where you all recorded each other’s songs (The Dollyrots, BFS & Patent Pending).
The Dollyrots: Yea, we’re really really good friends! We spent about two straight years just riding their bus and touring with them, like at first our little van and trailer followed their bus, and then for one tour Jaret was like ‘Hey you guys should just get on the bus with us!’ and for that tour Kelly was the only girl on the bus with twelve dudes for a couple years there and we just rode around the US raising hell and it was awesome, but yeah we’re like a family, we’re all seen each other in our underwear and stuff [laughs].
AMBY: How did that special friendship start?
The Dollyrots: Well that was kind of a weird story, it was like, Chris Burney send us a message on MySpace out of the blue and like, we were aware of them as a band, this was in like 2007 and that was when Chris send us the message – on MySpace, which pretty much doesn’t even exist anymore really, and he was just saying that he liked our music, and that was that!
AMBY: Amazing! Really quickly, what’s next for the Dollyrots after today?
The Dollyrots: We’re gonna go home and just work these new releases, we’re kind of doing it in a reverse order, normally a band will release something, and then they’ll tour to support the release but our whole concept for the last year has been ‘ok we’re touring the US, we’re touring the UK, we’ll bring the fans with us’ but now our plan is to just work the releases, not tour and just do what we can with this, because we’re doing everything through our own label so we’re gonna go home and put our label hats on- y’know we’re still gonna do StageIts and things like that and probably schedule some dates for the second half of the year but we really need some time off, we’ve been touring consistently with a baby for like, the last year and a half, so, yeah, it’s gonna be alright for us.
Thank you The Dollyrots, for giving us your answers!