Happy Mondays Interview Series: Dollys

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When you think of bands performing in basements, particularly the New Brunswick basement scene, thoughts of sweaty, thrashabout bands screaming into poorly plugged in PA’s dance through your head. But then sometimes you get a band like Dollys, who channel this lovely classic pop rock sound. It go against everything your brain tells you about the basement scene, but here they are performing this wonderfully infectious, tightly composed and melodically joyous sound.

And now, Dollys leaves the basements of Hub City to rock the stage of the famed city-by-the-sea, Asbury Park. Tonight, the band jumps on the Happy Mondays stage at the Wonder Bar. We caught up with the band to talk about two things very important to them — music and pizza.

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Dollys Is (Members of the Band): Jeff Lane, Natalie Newbold, Erik Romero, Michael Mendonez

We Formed in: 2013

We’re Based out of: New Brunswick, NJ

Any New Music Coming Soon? We are working on releasing our first full-length album. We have an Indiegogo campaign to fund the project.

Our Sound Is Likened to: Beach Boys! We once spent over a month preparing for a one-night-only Beach Boys cover set. It was painstaking (Brian Wilson = genius and makes you question existence), but it helped us with nailing harmonies and creating more clever arrangements in our own music.

You guys came out the New Brunswick scene. I was involved in way back in the early 2000s, can you talk about the current state of the music scene there? Are people sleeping on a vibrant scene?

Dollys: Music is always happening in New Brunswick, and it’s mostly underground (literally). There are basement shows year round organized by people who do it for the love of music. Some of our favorite bands in the scene right now are Perennial Reel, NGHTCRWLRS, and Modern Chemistry. Our favorite venue is the Court Tavern which hosts bands of all different types almost every night of the week. Touring bands pass through New Brunswick a lot which is great because it helps bands like us make contacts around the country for planning our own tours. People are always helping others find shows to play or promoting bands to check out, and it has all been so important for how we’ve developed as a band. The NB music scene even has it’s own calendar which can be found here

In your bio you call yourselves a “pizza-eating machine,” so we’re going to call you guys out – what’s the best pizza in New Brunswick and what’s the best pizza you’ve had together as a band?

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Dollys: BROTHER’S PIZZA in East Brunswick is our favorite spot. BUT the campaign is always ongoing. On our next practice day we’re trying out Pizza Mondays at Villa Capre in Sparta with our buds from the band Deal Casino who have been harassing us for a good three months to come and have all-you-can-eat pizza for seven dollars. Sorry that turned into a commercial at the end.

If someone is reading this and discovering you for the first time and wants to listen to a song of yours to truly get the essence of Dollys which song would it be and why?

Dollys: We just released a new music video of one of the songs on our forthcoming EP. It’s called Lilypad, and it definitely captures the poppy vibe and textured instrumentation we are going for:

What can the people coming out to Happy Mondays expect to see from you guys in terms of a live experience, your sound is highly unique to many of the bands that take the stage in the area.

Dollys: What to expect: poppy, harmony filled music that’s fun to listen to (interspersed with awkward humor that lands the mark roughly 40% of the time (though steadily increasing)). If that doesn’t sound like a good time, well then at least there might be some cute dogs outside at Yappy hour!

The Jersey Shore scene has so many bands performing in it right now, so what makes Dollys stand out — from a musical standpoint?

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Dollys: We love the idea of what great classic pop music is—fun to listen to, with melodic hooks, but composed of interesting textures and unique arrangements. We love tracks that you learn more about every time you listen to them. As a band we focus on the songwriting first, making sure that the vocal melody is strong, and then build around it, arranging the song so it has a unique vibe, tempo, rhythm,etc. Our songs are inspired by the music of the sixties, but that doesn’t stop us from introducing aesthetic elements from other genres and times.

What do you have planned for the rest of 2014?

Dollys: We have a lot on our plate (not just pizza, though we wish it was just pizza). We have a tour planned in September where we’ll be going through DC, Harrisonburg, Richmond, and Nashville. We’re having a listening party at Lakehouse Recording Studios in Asbury Park where we tracked our forthcoming album to tape. The album will hopefully be released in the beginning of 2015 when we’ll be having a record release party in New Brunswick. Lastly, we’ve been working on a ton of new material for the next record. We always want to make sure we’re moving forward and incorporating new ideas into our music.

Dollys performs tonight at Happy Mondays at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, NJ along with Creeptones and Climbing Walls.

Upcoming Dollys Shows:
8/13: Cape Canaveral – New Brunswick, NJ
8/14: Circuit City – New Brunswick, NJ
8/16: Candy Barrel – New Brunswick, NJ
8/17: The Saint (w/Deal Casino) – Asbury Park, NJ
8/21: Burbon & Branch – Philly
8/31: The Saint – Asbury Park, NJ

Bill Bodkin is the owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

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