Interview :: Doll & The Kicks

The last interview with Doll & The Kicks didn’t really go too swimmingly. There were some technical problems that really didn’t help. With this, I felt it necessary to make amends with the guys and do a ‘proper’ interview. Crossing my fingers in the hope there were no hiccups, we chatted about that night in Liverpool, proper gig going etiquette and what we can expect from DATK in the future.


Anthony Barlow: So, last time we spoke it was a little bit of a shambles. Technology wasn’t on my side and I lost a lot of what I wanted to say.

Doll: We thought it went fine.

AB: Thanks. I did manage to recover some of those questions though. They’d have probably been better used in the first interview, but it should be alright. So, let us begin. Previously you guys have said you were all in different bands in the past, how exactly was it that you got together?

Doll: Matt?

Matt: Oh, this old chestnut. We had all moved to Brighton and we were always the ones who liked the same kind of cheesy 80’s tunes.

Doll: We were always at the same club nights

Matt: We all had a mutual love for

Chris: Toto

Matt: Toto especially.

Doll: We thought that rather than going out and getting drunk all the time, maybe we should try doing something productive. So we’d stay in, get drunk and do music. *laughs*

Matt: Plus, Brighton’s a small place so we’d always bump into each other all the time.

AB: You were all in very different bands as well, weren’t you?

Matt: Mine was kind of a…

Chris: Hair rock *laughs*

Matt: Rocky, Guns N Roses mixed with Foo Fighters or something like that.

Olivier: I was in a ska band. Madness-esque with a bit of punk.

Chris: and I was in a kind of…

Matt: Britney Spears tribute band

All: *laughs*

Chris: Mainly, but the odd time we’d do a sort of screamy, proggy, metally kinda thing.

Doll: Prog, screamy, emo. Before I moved to Brighton I was in a funk soul band. I’d also been in a dance band previously as well. I did a lot of chillout stuff with a partner.

Chris: She chilled out with her partner.

All: *laughs*

Doll: Yeah we really chilled out and just recorded it

Matt: Was it good stuff?

Doll: It was a bit quiet

AB: Ok *laughs*. Doll, you were recently described as Cindy Lauper on speed. How do you feel about that?

Doll: Who described me as Cindy Lauper on speed?

Olivier: It’s actually crack, not speed.

Doll: *laughs* yeah, make that smack or crack. No I love Cindy Lauper…

Matt: And Crack

All: *laughs*

Doll: Yeah, and smoking crack. No, it’s good to be compared to anyone I like.

AB: Before I forget, someone asked me to find out how you felt about having more stage time than Morrissey in Liverpool?

Doll: It was very disappointing at the time, because obviously we were worried about Morrissey and we were upset for everyone who didn’t get to see him. It wasn’t a great experience.

Matt: It wasn’t, but we did get a lot of messages for the next few days after that show. A lot of people saying that we made their trip worthwhile, so that was good.

AB: I actually saw a lot of people sporting Doll & The Kicks t-shirts on the way in, seemingly happy to see you just as much as Morrissey. Did you expect that kind of reaction?

Doll: Yeah, we had quite a lot of people coming into the Morrissey gigs wearing our t-shirts which was amazing. They’ve paid to see Morrissey, but they’re wearing our t-shirts. That was pretty cool.

AB: One thing that stuck in my mind from that night, other than the obvious, was something you said on stage actually. It was something along the lines of “We’re going to play a new song now. The again, they’re all new to you”. I thought that was brilliant.

Doll: Well most people still don’t know who we are, so every song was new. We might play the same thing every night, so it feels repetitive to us. To everyone else it’s all new.

AB: It’s criminal that people don’t know who you are, yet bands like Delphic are the talk of the town. Is there any news on you guys sorting a deal out?

Matt: I don’t think we’re necessarily looking for a record deal really. We recently got a really good booking agent and we’ve been booked for small festivals and stuff.

Doll: Yeah, we’re starting to build a really great team of people around us now so it’s exciting.

AB: You’re playing South By South West aren’t you this year?

Doll: Yeah, it’s really exciting.

Matt: Yeah, we’ve got one official show there and we’ll do a lot of unofficial ones whilst we’re out there. It’s gonna be really good.

AB: You’ve sort of got a worldwide fan base now, how does that feel?

Matt: It’s good. I saw we were sending t-shirts to Moscow in Russia.

Doll: It’s amazing to see how many more people there’s been on this second tour that we’re doing compared to the first and if it keeps building and building then that’d be really good.

AB: Outside of the UK, where do you think you have the largest amount of fans then?

Chris: Germany?

Matt: Germany on the Morrissey tour was phenomenal.

Doll: We had quite a lot of people come to the second LA show.

Matt: Yeah, there was a lot of people at that gig. We’ve got a German booking agent and they’re great with us. So I think Germany might be the biggest and then America.

AB: You said last time that the amount of people coming to your gigs had gone up after the Tour Of Refusal, have you seen a similar rise again after the one Swords Tour?

Doll: Yeah. We were pleased with the turn out on our first headlining tour. We were pleased with the amount of people that came, but this time there’s been a lot more. Obviously, there were people who came last time who’re now bringing people with them.

Matt: We still rely a lot on word of mouth and stuff like Facebook and Twitter to get the word out. They’re good crowds.

AB: There’s a lot of big bands using that kind of stuff as well and it proves that it is a good way to promote.

Matt: It’s so much fun and we feel really lucky to be able to do this.

Chris: It’s extremely satisfying when you know you’ve done it yourself as well. It’s gonna be quite weird if it ever gets to the point where we have to hand it over to someone else. Especially if they’re a nightmare to work for.

AB: Would you ever really want to hand over that work to someone else then?

Doll: Yeah, eventually.

Chris: We’d have to eventually, because it’d just get too much.

Matt: I think we’ll always, whoever we work with, will always keep a keen interest in what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. They’d probably appreciate that as well.

AB: We spoke a bit about your debut album last time, but not too much. It seems a lot of that material was based around relationships and particularly the breakdown of relationships. Do those themes continue throughout your recent stuff?

Doll: Some of it is.

Matt: I think it’s more objective actually. Songs like ‘What Goes Around’ and ‘You Do It Better’.

Doll: But they’re still about relationships, but I just write about stuff that happens to me really.

AB: Can we expect another studio album any time soon?

Doll: When we get the time and the money. That probably won’t be for a while.

Matt: We might do an EP with just five tracks or something like that.

Chris: Did you mention the live album, I can’t remember?

AB: I was just about to get on to that. Will that be on sale at tonight’s show?

Chris: No, because we’re waiting to get it back from the printers. We had to, basically, save up enough money to buy it from the printer.

Doll: They were holding it hostage. They printed it, but we didn’t have the money to give them.

Chris: We should have it by the end of the week and it’s got about four new tracks on it.

Matt: I think it’s three new ones.

AB: What was the decision behind recording a live album?

Chris: Well our sound engineer did recordings of every gig we did with Morrissey so it just seemed to make sense really. We had these recordings and we don’t have the money to record good versions of the new stuff so it’s kind of a half way point between.

Matt: A lot of people want copies of the new stuff and we’re hoping by the end of the week we’ll have the new album.

AB: In one of my past interviews someone brought up the idea of people getting a CD or USB sick with the gig on as they left. Is that something you’ve thought about or would be interested in doing?

Matt: We’re quite critical about some of the gigs so if we didn’t like a certain part of a show, it’s not something we’d want to put out.

Chris: We had to actually replace all the bass parts with program bass.

Olivier: Not really

AB: I was gonna say. You know what the people of the internet are like. That’ll be a known fact soon.

Olivier: *laughs* I’d love it if that actually went out. It’d be awesome.

Matt: Our whole show is backing track.

AB: So, how’s the tour going? I realise that should’ve been my first question but what the hell.

Matt: Well our van broke down the other day as we were about to go to Cambridge. It ended up getting towed down to Brighton with all our gear in it. We had a gig in Cambridge that night, so we had to hire a car.

Doll: When we got the van back, we were so pleased that we decided to throw an amp out of the back of it.

Matt: Yeah, Chris left the van door open the other day, driving out of Brighton at 30 miles an hour, and an amp went flying out of the back of it. It was in a flight case and two trusty tramps wheeled it to the side of the road.

Olivier: They assured us that the case was a very good case.

Chris: We thought they were just shouting at us and waving their bottles.

Doll: Yeah, Chris was like “fuck off, tramps”.

AB: Does it still work?

Matt: It does.

AB: So you’re playing the Ruby Lounge tonight, how does that compare to playing big arenas on the Morrissey tours?

Matt: It’s great. All those people they’re there to see us. It’s a different kind of buzz. It’s still as exciting as doing the Morrissey thing.

AB: Would you not prefer to be playing arenas then?

Matt: Not at all, no.

AB: Fair enough. I’m gonna get on to the some questions people have wanted me to ask you. If that’s alright.

Matt: Go for it

AB: Someone has asked how you feel about the use of swearing in music and if you think it serves a genuine purpose.

Doll: I don’t have a problem with it. I think it’s fine. I think if someone feels the need. Some really good songs have swear words in them. Take Lily Allen, loads of her stuff has swear words in it and she just has radio edits where it’s got a blank space or she says something else.

AB: Fair enough. Someone pointed out that, in your last interview with Moon & Back, you said you’d been inspired by a lot of 70’s punk. They’ve asked if there’s any specific artists who you think have directly influenced your sound.

Doll: New acts or older acts?

AB: I think they meant in general really.

Doll: People like Kate Bush, people have said that they can her Siouxie Sioux in my vocals, Annie Lennox, Cindy Lauper. All those women who I think are amazing.

AB: Like I pointed out last time, it can’t be a bad thing to be compared to them.

Doll: Yeah, always. I’ll never complain about being compared to any of them because they were all amazing. I’ll start complaining when I start getting compared to Shakira

Olivier: Or Lionel Ritchie

Chris: Barry White

All: *laughs*

AB: What do you think about the ‘pay what you want’ model that people like Radiohead have started using when they release a new album?

Matt: I think it’s a load of rubbish.

Doll: I can see why people have tried to do it, but I think it’s not going to help the situation so it does render itself a little bit pointless.

AB: Given the choice of paying ten quid or nothing, I think a lot of people are going for the ‘nothing’ option.

Doll: Yeah, most people would.

Olivier: To be honest, I used to do a similar thing washing cars about 10 years ago with my mate. We went around saying “we’ll wash your car and you can pay us what you want for it”. We actually got paid quite well, because we were in a rich area. The thing is with music, most people will take it for free.

Chris: I think if we did that, we’d have people coming up drunk going “go on, I’ll give you 2 quid for it”.

Matt: We’ve got to pay for fuel and accomodation. We can’t afford to give it away for free.

AB: Someone wanted to know why Matt wasn’t in the last interview.

Chris: You were doing something with the gear weren’t you?

Matt: I could’ve been meeting up with somebody. I don’t know, but there was a valid reason.

Chris: He was practicing his shapes.

Olivier: He almost got fired from the band for not turning up *laughs*

Chris: He just thinks he’s too good for it, man.

Matt: Yeah. Actually I think I was online trying to sort out some stuff. Some gigs in America, because we were due to go to LA in about a month and we hadn’t got any gigs sorted out at the time. So I was online just trying to contact loads of people.

AB: I’ll forgive you then

Matt: We did get a few shows out there, so it worked out alright.

AB: Ok, I’m going to leave you in peace. Before I do, someone wanted to know if you had any words for the guy that threw the bottle at the Liverpool gig.

Doll: I don’t think we need to say anything. I’m sure he feels suitably stupid about it.

Olivier: Don’t do it to us. I don’t want a bottle in my face.

Chris: If you do, can you aim it at Matt please.

Matt: I think if I’d have seen him, I’d have taken off my guitar, gone down there and jumped on him.

Doll: I think he did actually get a good kicking though anyway.

Chris: I think so, yeah.

AB: There were certainly people vying for blood.

Doll: Yeah, I’m sure he got beaten up. I think he actually did, in the crowd. I think the bouncers had to take him out for his own safety.

Matt: I hope it doesn’t happen to us.

Doll: Yeah, don’t do it.

AB: Right then, thanks a lot for that.

Matt: No worries.

Chris: Thank you.


You can buy Doll & The Kicks’ debut album and any other merchandise here. Be sure to check out their MySpace Page too.

One Response to “Interview :: Doll & The Kicks”

  1. Paul says:

    Awesome interview as always; wouldn’t have thought Germany though :-S … and that amp case should be put in a museum, bomb proof!

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