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:: Spotlight :: Interview with Dollsquad

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

Melbourne band Dollsquad recently launched their latest album ‘Lethal In Leather’ at Melbourne's Cherry Bar and Sydney's Sandringham Hotel. Lethal in Leather was produced by Steve Lucas (from X) and is out now on Dollsquad's own label - Radio Rocks.

The six-piece line-up has a tough rock and punk sound. These rock ‘n’ roll ladies are as striking visually as they are musically, sporting the tightest of tight black leather assassin style outfits. With their flamboyant style, they are set to tour Europe, where they've proved popular in previous years, and set about rocking their world. I caught up with lead singer Joey for a chat about the band's move forward.

Q. Being the last original member, how has the band evolved, and where does it sit at the moment?

A. I had always wanted to be in an all-girl band - one that is like a pack or a gang. It has taken a while to get it together but we've been together for five years now. Dollsquad has been through four different line-ups. The first lasted three years and toured Europe. We first broke up in the middle of that tour. I hastily had to form a band to complete that tour.

When I came back to Australia I was still determined to go through with the idea and looked for new members. It took a long time to get the current six-girl line-up. We've settled well now and each is a valuable contributor to the band and its development. We have a great understanding in what we want to achieve. I've gone through hell in getting to this stage but I feel as though we have a really united band. It's a rare thing to be able to get six girls together to form a rock band.

Q. How have you coped with the organisational side of it?

A. I've had to manage our affairs for a long time. I then met a guy called Steve Lucas who I was told would help produce the record. He is very rock-orientated. The idea was to hopefully find interest in an Australian label. He took us on board and worked hard on rehearsals - to get our act to develop. We would do the music, then the vocals, then the mixing and we got the whole Dollsquad album done in a few days. It is live and it properly replicates how we perform - a very good representation.

Q. What efforts have you gone to in order to achieve the sound and image you want?

A. I'm not into bands where you don't know who the musicians are when you walk into a room, because they look like everyone else. I like the idea of Elvis in his leathers, Suzi Quatro in her leathers. Even ABBA were insane. They looked like entertainers and I like that in music. I believe it's important.

Q. You must have been pleased with the sold-out album launch show at the Cherry Bar…

A. Yes, it was a fantastic response. We did two sets - the first being our album in leather gear. Then we performed the second set in gold dresses - doing a bunch of songs that influenced the writing of the album and some other old Dollsquad songs.

Q. Tell us about the making of the album?

A. Most of the songs are old demos of mine. I had a two year hiatus when I didn't have a performing band. The songs are quite old but they've been given a new lease of life. Yolanda, our guitarist, also plays keyboards and she helped greatly in getting these songs up and running. Steve (Lucas) fine tuned each song. Everyone added their ideas. There are also a couple of songs that Yolanda and I co-wrote. Hopefully, we'll be able to co-write a lot of songs from now on.

Steve has been great as a producer and arranger. If there are indie bands out there who think they shouldn't be spending money on a producer, or think it's a luxury, then it's not. It is about as crucial as having a drum kit, a guitar, etc when recording. You need that level of objectivity. You can't be objective amongst yourselves. You end up with a compromise. I wanted an objective viewpoint to crystallise and bring out the best. Steve does that for us.

Q. How important has the Internet been to you?

A. It's a great tool and very inexpensive. How hard would it have been years ago to arrange overseas tours? We can now shoot off emails to promoters in all countries and you hit the ground running. People can see your biography, your videos, your audio tracks, etc. As far as piracy and downloading goes, you lose on the swing but make up on the roundabout. As long as it's getting out there, eventually people will pay for it if they like it.

Q. You mentioned overseas touring. You've been able to draw a good fan base around Europe…

A. Last time we went away, I couldn't believe the fanaticism for such a little known band. They wanted all our merchandise. I'm hoping that, despite the decline in the European economies, the momentum can still be strong for us. We used to sell out many shows. It's a fringe, alternative appeal that we have.

Q. Are you a tough person?

A. I believe that I am. I've been through quite a bit in my life, including a marriage break-up, band line-up changes, and more. I do a pretty demanding full-time job too. I'm not a mean or hard person but I get things done on time. Yolanda and I are very dedicated to the band. This is driving us to make Dollsquad a priority.

Q. What's happening for the rest of this year?

A. We are soon off to Europe for a series of shows during May. Then we will work on a strategy upon our return.

See Dollsquad in their pre-Europe farewell show in Melbourne at the Cherry Bar on April 16.


EUROPEAN TOUR

Apr 29 - Casbah Club, Pegognaga (Mantova), Italy
Apr 30 - Shindy Club, Bassano Del Grappa (Vicenza), Italy
May 1 - Sidro Club, Savignano Sul Rubicone (FC), Italy
May 2 - La Casa Matta, Biauzzo Di Codroipo, Udine, Italy
May 4 - Arco Alcazar , San Juan, Spain
May 5 - Wurtlizer Ballroom, Madrid, Spain
May 6 - Los Picos, Santander, Spain
May 7 - La Iguana Club, Vigo, Spain
May 8 - Run Rum, Ferrol, Spain
May 10 - Cocodrilo Negro, Ponferrada, Spain
May 11 - Helldorado, Vitoria, Spain
May 12 - Rock Sound, Barcelona, Spain
May 14 - “Summer Safari Festival”, Halle, Germany
May 17 - Velbloud Budweis, Budvar, Czech Republic
May 18 - Schaffhausen, Fasskeller, Switzerland
May 19 - Solothurn (Switzerland) “bad boys (and girls) for life tour”, Kofmehl, Switzerland
May 20 - Alte Hackerei, Karlsruhe, Germany
May 22 - Palais d’Auron - COSMIC TRIP FESTIVAL, Bourges, France
May 23 - ZwölfZehn, Stuttgart, Germany
May 24 - TBA, Frankfurt, Germany
May 26 - Bastard Club, Osnabrück, Germany
May 28 - Bassy Cowboy Club, Berlin, Germany
May 29 - Sonic Ballroom, Koln, Germany

For more information, visit

www.myspace.com/theofficialdollsquad