Interview: A Conversation with Dorothy Martin of ‘Dorothy’

“I have a rebellious streak.  A little bit of a problem with authority”

The name Dorothy might not instantly strike a chord to most people on these shores, but the chances are that you have already heard some of their music and just not realised it. 

Here in the UK there’s not been a whole lot written about the upcoming, four piece, blues/rock group from LA.  In America however, it’s a different story.  Having recently supported Miguel on his US tour and having also been the first rock band to ever sign with Roc Nation, it would appear that things are going well.  In the UK they’ve appeared here on TMB a couple of times and they’ve also struck a couple of sync deals. Their music most notably appearing in an advert for FIFA 16 (viewed by 3.5m people) as well as being used in the trailer for the new HBO channel on BT.

When I speak to Dorothy Martin, vocalist of the band Dorothy, she is in the studio.  The band is there writing a new song that, at the time of the interview, isn’t necessarily for the upcoming LP. “We really don’t know what this is gonna be for” she remarks. “It’s just something we started writing because we thought it sounded cool”

Other than myself, I’ve not seen a whole lot about you in the UK. So basic question, how would you describe yourselves?

In the simplest terms.  We just really like making music and are a rebellious, rambunctious group of young adults. We like organic, good music such as blues and rock & roll and we’re just trying to do it justice.

You’ve been getting a lot of attention from the EP that you released last year and it feels like your début record would be welcomed at this point. Do you know when the record is due?

We have got the record together it’s just a matter of getting the timing right.  The industry tends to slow down around this time of year which is why, at the moment, we’re just writing and spending time in the studio. We’ll use this time to stay inspired and creative and then early next year we’ll hopefully put the first full length album out.

Is there any themes within your lyrics on the record, or will it be a number of different unrelated songs?

It’s going to be ten to thirteen of the best songs that we have now. Theme wise, it’ll just be the backbone of what we do. It’ll be basic. We’re a rock band and it’ll be the best of what we’ve come up with so far. Hopefully we’ll have come out of the gates swinging!  I am excited to see how we evolve and progress as a band though; to see how the sound might mature as the years go on.

Are there any songs on the EP that are going to make the cut for the record?

It’s up for debate. Considering we’re still writing material I might want to swap up a few songs. Normally it would work where the whole EP goes on the album but I want to give the fans more material. If it was up to me it would be made up of brand new songs because people have already paid for the EP.  We’ll see though, maybe just the fan favourites will make it on. I want every song on there to be a fan favourite.

Where have you recorded it?

At the same place we did the EP. A home studio in Beverly Hills. It’s really nice and it doesn’t feel like a corporate, sterile place.  You wouldn’t think that the EP had come out of a bedroom but it did and we’re sticking with it to try to make it feel as organic as possible.  Our producer is Ian Scott and obviously he’s using some production tools too but things like hand claps and chants and percussion are all done in the studio.

Although it’s harder to tell in the UK, it appears you’re enjoying some success over there at the moment. Did you ever think your profile would be as big as it is after just one EP?

No! We’ve enjoyed some success in the sync world as well with some television commercials. It’s very surprising and we’re just extremely thankful. Hopefully we’re doing something right.

Dorothy

How does it feel being the first rock group to sign to Roc Nation?

Good, y’know! It’s great because they are very artist friendly, having been started by an artist (Jay Z). It’s artist driven, artist first, so I don’t have a bunch of people breathing down my neck and telling me what to do. I have a rebellious streak; A little bit of a problem with authority [laughing].  I wouldn’t take too kindly to that!

You’re feeling no pressure to hurry the album out then?

No, no, they let us be creative. I designed the artwork for the EP. It’s actually going to be updated to a 35mm film photo that a friend of mine, Danielle DeFoe, took. It’s really cool. It’s me holding up these knives to my mouth which is like a real life manifestation of the band logo.

I think it would be really cool if everything we did was on film, or Polaroid. It gives it that nostalgic feel. So yea, no pressure and it’s a privilege to be able to run the ship; steer the ship… whatever.

Are you planning on coming to the UK?

Absolutely, we would love to. It’s something that I’ve been discussing with the label. The festivals that go on in the summertime is what we might aim for.

Have you performed in the UK yet?

We have! We have a collaboration with Skullcandy and we had the pleasure of going to the UK for an event with them. We also played the San Sebastián Film Festival last year for Skullcandy and Red Bull and it was awesome!

You’ve just come off a tour with Miguel in the US. How did that go?

Yea, we got to open up for him on his national tour. It was a lot of fun with a ton of great venues. It was sold out, theatre sized venues but it managed to stay somewhat intimate, despite it also feeling large. A nice meeting in the middle of the two.

I saw that you used to scared of going on stage. I guess that’s one way of getting over it!

I get nerves, I get nerves. The nerves and the excitement is always there but now that we sound better and we’re more tight… it’s more fun.

On to some question that I always ask now.  Are there any releases that you’ve really enjoyed recently?

I’m a really big fan of The Weeknd actually. He’s doing very well. I can’t speak for the rest of the band because I know they all have their favourites but I also enjoy Francesco Yates.

I do mainly listen to much older music. Blues, 70’s disco and Aretha Franklin and things like that.  I don’t have a television or cable so I’m a little unplugged from the world.

It’s the older stuff that influenced you then?

Oh absolutely! I learnt how to sing using my dad’s old record collection. Janis Joplin, Donna Summer, Rod Stewart, The Bee Gee’s… Every interview that I do, I think of new artists to add to the list. The last interview I was naming blues artists and now I’m talking about disco. I listen to a lot of stuff and it all influences me!

Final one.  Is there a question that you wish you were asked but never are?

Hmm… that’s a good question.  I guess I always wait to see what the interviewer asks and then maybe I’ll know when eventually asked it… Maybe… What country do I want to visit the most? Or, what is my favourite food?

Ha! Let’s go with both then!

Ok. Well I haven’t been to Japan and I’d really love to go! I can’t wait to see Tokyo. Hopefully that’ll be sometime this lifetime.

Favourite food… oh man… There’s so many.  Fish Taco’s. You’ve got to come to southern California to try them.

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