INTERVIEW: Speaking With DOROTHY On 'ROCKISDEAD', Song Writing and Hot Yoga
Looking for some awesome rock music in the contemporary world? Look no further, because DOROTHY is definitely the band to look forward to. Comprised of vocalist Dorothy Martin, drummer Zac Morris, guitarist DJ Black and bassist Gregg Cash, the LA-based group is stepping up and changing the game of modern day rock n' roll. Their self-titled EP, released in 2014, was just beginning of a vibrant career. Now, signed with Roc Nation, it is no surprise Rolling Stone consider them “a [band] you need to know.”
We had a conversation with lead singer, Dorothy, about band dynamic, music video production, and their new EP, ROCKISDEAD, out June 24.
What color do you feel like today?
Like a dark muted green.
A lot of songs on Rock is Dead have an old west rock kind of swagger to them, is that a style that you see as part of Dorothy’s sound identity?
I don’t quite know what my sound identity is because I feel like it will always change and evolve. That’s what it was like for the first album. I wouldn't say that anything is set in stone because I think we need to evolve.
‘Shelter’ is the last song and has a very different pace than the rest of the album. What was the choice to have a song like that and have it end the album?
You know, I feel like every album needs a good tender song... at least one. Something that's a little more intimate and there, because it’s more about the words and we wanted to have a little more of a touching moment on the album. It felt right to have just voice and guitar.
What is one of your favorite memories made while making ROCKISDEAD?
We were touring and playing shows while we were making the album, and I think one of the highlights of the year was playing The Viper Room. Just the reaction we got from the crowd was amazing. We kind of looked at each other and knew that things seemed to be catching on... And we were right! When we got back from the tour we were playing at The Echo and people were singing along with the lyrics, and it wasn’t just a couple of people, it was the whole room. That was an indicator to us that we had done something that connected with people. The Viper Room was definitely a turning point and it felt really good.
The energy was very intense.
What is the creative process like in the studio? Band dynamic?
It depends. It depends who you work with -- it can be hard, it can be easy. Sometimes I feel like when things are difficult, you still get really amazing material because you're catching feelings that you don't always acknowledge or want to deal with. Sometimes that pain is a good thing and a beautiful thing because you can make music out of it. I definitely want where we go from here to be a lot more live. It’s provided all sorts of experiences.
How do you feel about the relationship between audial and visual art particularly when it comes to your music video for 'Raise Hell'?
Really, that was a chance to work with some USC film students because they reached out to us so we gave it a shot and they seemed very talented. The fact that they were reaching out to us to make a video was really flattering. These kids worked so hard and we were on set for 20 hours without a break, so it was a group effort and really collaborative. It was fun to see everybody work like that and to see students who will hopefully be really accomplished in their field some day. So that was something that came to us, but otherwise it has kind of been a DIY approach where we get camera and we edit things in iMovie using our own eyes and sensibilities. I'm not a video director, nor is anyone in the band, but it’s fun to do.
What is the most important thing to remember when putting together an album?
Just be honest. You know, write honestly, write from the heart, write what you're feeling, what your experiences are. I feel like I've just scratched the surface and I've got a lot more material and experiences where I would be afraid of judgement but I'm gonna write about them anyway because it might help somebody else. We might get more serious this go around. This first album was really just fun rock n' roll, but the best thing you can do is just be honest.
Do you have a vinyl collection? If so, what does it mainly consist of?
I do have a vinyl collection! It belonged to my father who passed away a few years ago. It mainly consists of a lot of folk music, a lot of Bob Dylan (like a lot of Bob Dylan... like an unhealthy amount of Bob Dylan.) I’ve got the Commodores, The Bee Gees, old jazz, some Ella Fitzgerald, I think I’ve got the Thriller album, Pink Floyd, Zeppelin, a lot of Janis Joplin records, and I've added to it. I buy stuff on tour and I support artists I like. I prefer to get their vinyl because it’s a memento. So that's my collection; it’s not huge, but it’s growing.
How has music guided you to discover new things about yourself?
Because it’s an emotional process. When you're in the studio and you're writing and you have those honest moments, it can also be very healing. Writing songs can be very therapeutic. I use it for working on my demons and working out internal struggles. It helps me in that way -- it lets you get to know yourself because things come out the way you’d never expected.
As someone immersed in the aesthetic, how would you describe your personal style?
Pretty casual. I like t-shirts and comfortable shoes like Vans. I’d rather not dress up if I don't have to. My personal style at home and on stage are different. I'm obsessed with these velvet Betsy Johnson opera coats. I find them used on eBay so it's like online vintage shopping. I get to be a bitch on stage, I get to be sassy and it's fun! I wouldn't go to Starbucks in ripped stockings and heels but I will go in a t-shirt and jeans.
How do you escape?
Hot yoga has really helped me a lot. I got a case of the post-tour blues, but I went to yoga and it really reset everything. It felt good because I did something for my body and my mind. It definitely helped me and I’m trying to do it regularly. I prefer to do something positive to relax.
How do you want to be remembered?
As a great songwriter who was able to connect with people and make them feel good. Whether that's through a song or connecting with them in person at a show and making them feel all sorts of things.