Interview Outtakes: Dum Dum Girls' Dee Dee on Writing Music Despite Tragedy and What Other Bands Influence Her
California retro-pop perfectionists Dum Dum Girls are at the Billiken Club tonight, with Minks and Dirty Beaches. In last week's paper, Mike Appelstein chatted with Dum Dum Girls' Dee Dee; below are some outtakes in which she describes writing music despite her mother's illness, what's in store after the recent He Gets Me High EP and what other bands she's a fan of.
Mike Appelstein: What else is on the schedule for 2011?
Dee Dee: After this tour, we're immediately going to the U.K. and Europe for another month. Then we'll spend the spring and summer months playing more occasionally, festivals and random shows, and gearing up for the next record. That's coming out in the fall, and then we'll start it all back up again. We just finished recording the next record, and we're in mixing mode right now. It's funny to be doing interviews about the EP. Now I'm having to go back and listen to it and go back to the headspace I was in at the time. A lot has happened since then.
Yeah, you did mention on Twitter that you were having a hard time doing vocals for the new songs. Is that a reflection of what's happened?
I Will Be came out in March of 2010. In October, my mom was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. It was a really weird thing to go from a really exciting new life and having to try to reconcile that and trying to spend a lot of time at home. The songs on the EP were the last songs that I had that weren't affected by that situation. [The new album is] going to be a pretty dark, sad record. The tone of it is pretty intense. Sometimes it was hard to be detached enough from it that I could perform it, but still meaning it. So it was interesting, to say the least.
More outtakes below...
You're playing with the Minks and Dirty Beaches here.
They're playing the whole tour. The Minks fall off for a couple of shows toward the end, but some friends of ours, Reading Rainbow, are jumping on. So it's kind of a family affair.
You've mentioned possibly releasing a French pop cover. Could you reveal any specifics?
No, that's on my long to-do list. I haven't recorded anything yet, but I have a pretty intense regard for that genre. I'm actually - this is just an idea I had very recently - do you know the band Hunx and his Punx? I'm friends with Seth, he does my hair and he's another huge French pop fan. So I was thinking that maybe we could collaborate on a Francoise Hardy cover.
Do you have any of the Ultra Chicks compilation CDs?
I am familiar with them, but no.
I heard them after my initial exposure to Francoise Hardy and France Gall, the obvious stuff like that. I was amazed how much stuff was recorded, much of it actually good.
I actually got into it through April March when I was 14 or 15. When you figure out that a band is inspired by one type of music, you go back and figure out what they were listening to.
You have also covered Black Tambourine's "Throw Aggi Off The Bridge." What was your inspiration for that? They seem actually much better known now than they were then.
I have very good friends with fantastic record collections. We were just on a dreampop into noise-pop phase, like Jesus and Mary Chain. That was just one of the tangents that we landed on. Them and, like, Shop Assistants. It was definitely something I loved instantly . At this point I've had a chance to meet a few of them, and I'm really happy that they've had enough fans recently that have sung their praises, that have got a little resurgence. That collection that came out last year was really great. One of those bands that I had no idea they existed when they existed, but was so glad to have discovered after the fact. Not only were they inspiring themselves but I felt a kindred spirit in the obvious references they have.