INTERVIEW: WORRY DOLLS
Killing Moon megafans will remember a dark day in our history when my pale peanut face graced your Facebook feeds for a series of impromptu interviews with some of the artists playing our stage at The Great Escape. I took it in my stride as most awkward people learn to do, but the sideways camera and my mildly terrified grin will forever haunt those wide awake hours I spend in bed, churning over every embarrassing thing I have ever done or said – believe me, there are many. For example, the other day I accidentally commented a Spongebob’ woo’ sticker on a rarely spoken to Facebook friend’s family photos – and then nearly suffocated my boyfriend who was crying with laughter. It helps to have good people around you when you are a human embarrassment – which is why I was so thankful for the lovely girls from Worry Dolls when we did the aforementioned interview after their swoon-worthy set. Lord knows why they wanted a follow up from that car crash, but they did, and here it is:
KM: How did you start working together?
WD: We met at an open mic night in Liverpool in the canteen of our University during freshers week We became good friends through studying on the same course and we use to go to open mic nights all the time together. One of the projects we worked on was singing the songs from O Brother Where Art Thou. Rosie joined Zoe’s band playing mandolin and the rest was history.
KM: Is the name ‘Worry Dolls’ at all linked to the Guatemalan dolls you’re supposed to put under your pillow and tell your troubles to?
WD: Yes, that’s where the original idea came from. We have both always had worry dolls growing up. Both had hippy backgrounds, raised on festivals and arts camps. The name was just a throw away comment to start with but it’s now become something we both really have come to love and it is a big part of us now.
KM: How do you find the co-writing process? Are you inspired by any other musical duos?
WD: Writing and co-writing is a really important part of the music process for us. We enjoy writing together and have been hugely inspired by writing with other artists and writers for the debut album with people from UK, the States and Sweden.
Of course! We love First Aid Kit, Wild Ponies and Lewis and Leigh to name a few.
KM: How did you first become interested in the folk scene?
WD: In Liverpool we both went from open mic night to open mic night together and that was a real folk scene that we were apart of. We were also studying with some extremely talented people at the time including Jess from The Staves, Douglas Dare, Johannes Resfdal (Past Bears Den) and Dario Darnell (Youngr).
When we moved to London we found a little folk collective called Folkroom and it became a big group of friends that are like family to us.
KM: You’ve both been influenced by the country scene in the Deep South – how do you acknowledge this in your work whilst still staying true to your British folk roots?
WD: We always try to take inspiration but not lose our own sound and voices. Subject matter is a big thing – we wanted to make sure the voices in the song are ours and our stories. We wanted a simple production that didn’t detract from what we’re doing. There’s little moments where slipped a couple of solos in as a nod to the amazing musicians we got to work with, but we certainly wanted to create something we could bring back home and play out live that still feels authentic and real and true to us. Nothing else would feel right.
KM: Vocal harmony plays an important role in your music. What is it about that style of close harmony singing that captures your imagination?
WD: It’s a sound we love and grew up with. It’s so powerful and satisfying when it’s done right. We pretty much think and write in harmony now…
KM: You flew to Nashville to record your debut album ‘Go Get Gone’ – that must have been a bit of a dream come true.
WD: Of course! In more ways that you could imagine. To be surrounded by such a historical music city. The songs poured out of us!! We met so many incredible musicians and songwriters and got to collaborate and write together and see amazing bands every night. It was literally #livingthedream. We met friends for life.
KM: Can you tell us the kind of themes you explore on the album?
WD: We like to explore more than just the typical love and love loss… Home, travel, freedom, friendship, good times, happiness, dreaming, celebration, family, hope, joy, passion, promises, reflection and heartache. Every song on that record is true.
KM: How do you think your songwriting and performing style has developed as you’ve progressed as artists?
WD: We have definitely developed as songwriters and musicians in the years we have worked together through the extensive touring we have done, through learning new instruments like the banjo and working with other writers and musicians. I think we have become more open to writing stronger music through the collaborations we have had and have bettered ourselves as solo artists by working together on such a close level. We challenge each other musically to our limits and we always strive to be better.
KM: Speaking of performance, when you played on our stage at The Great Escape, you had dream catchers tied to your mic stands. What is the significance of dream catchers in relation to your work?
WD: We love dream catchers and feathers. We enjoy collecting them on our travels. To us they are about catching dreams and protecting you. Keeping bad dreams away and catching the good ones! It also just reminds us of our adventures in the deep south and how inspired we are by these experiences. They remind us of those moments so we can channel them every day. They’re a little good luck thing now, the gigs where we’ve forgotten to put the dreamcatchers out haven’t gone so well!
KM: Can we catch you at any other festivals this summer?
WD: Yes of course. We are super excited to be playing the main stage at Cambridge Folk Festival. We will also be performing at Summertyne and Beautiful Days. We’re off to Belgium in August and playing our first Irish tour in September. We will then be going back out on the road in November and performing a headline show at The Borderline on the 9th in London for those of you who may miss us on the festival circuit.
‘Go Get Gone’ is out now on Bread & Butter Music.