I’m as reluctant to accept new trends as any other agorophobic music jerk, which certainly
includes that of the home-recorded reverb boom. It’s too easy to do, and with enough hands
patting each other on the back, no one is there to splash some much-needed cold water in
the faces of these “bands”. On the flip side, there are artists that are unfairly and lazily lumped
in with such trends, artists that do what they do so naturally that it’s impossible to imagine
them doing anything else, artists who only share the most shallow of traits with the multitudes
of also-rans sure to be forgotten before next season. Dum Dum Girls is one of those fine artists,
a solo project-turned-functioning band spawned by a last-nameless Dee Dee. If you’re not
familiar, she writes these timeless rock tunes that borrow from the past five (six?) decades
without sounding anchored in any, keeping it simple and cool, never cutesy. She sings with a
gloriously confident voice that’s pretty yet unsubmissive. She covers a GG Allin song and makes
it sound like The Jefferson Airplane. Her first full-length album comes out in March, which is as
good a reason as any to purchase something from a Warner Bros. subsidiary.
So, what time do you normally wake up?
Between 7 and 9AM, depending on my work shift. I try to sleep in on Sundays, but am
typically unsuccessful due to my cat.
If I’m not mistaken, you moved from San Diego to Los Angeles in the past few
months. How has that change been for you?
The big change for me was actually moving from San Francisco (and the East Bay, where
I grew up) to Southern California — a different world entirely.
Anything in particular you miss about the East Bay?
I miss the weather and “cold / wet city” feel of San Francisco.
When you met with Sub Pop for the first time, did you gather in their big meeting room?
No, Dean Hudson picked me up in his little car and took me to lunch. Then I exploded
Kombucha all over the passenger side and remained self-conscious throughout the entire
office tour. I briefly met everyone and took in all the photographs. That night Dean and I
got too drunk and struggled to keep it together during a run-in with JP at Cha-Cha.
Have you seen the inside of Dean’s house? It’s intense.
I saw the inside of Dean’s home once, and I loved it and his cats.
Tell me a little about your bandmates. How’d you meet them? Are they all full-time
Dum Dum Girls at this point?
Yes, they’re full-timers, and we’ve the tattoos to prove it. They are all best friends of mine.
First came Frankie from Brooklyn — I was a fan, then an internet friend, and we finally met
in person last July. Oddly enough, we used to live in the same Mission neighborhood in SF.
She was the cornerstone of making Dum Dum Girls a real band; I knew there was no one else
I could play with. Then came Jules, who was introduced by a mutual friend who knew I was
looking for a girl to play guitar. We were fast friends, and since she lives here, we can hang
out beyond tours. She and I DJ at her work together sometimes. Lastly came Bambi, who
I’ve actually known the longest. She lives in Austin, TX now but was a childhood friend of
my husband. Once I’d already settled on faraway-Frankie, I decided why not ask another
friend regardless of location — she’s the mama bear of the band, too. Tough as nails! Those
three all met for the first time the week before CMJ this past October — instant girl gang.
So everyone is getting along? I never really considered cherry-picking members
from across the US to form a band, but that sounds kind of awesome.
All the girls get along really well and we have so much fun together.
Your upcoming album – was it written and recorded collaboratively, or is it all just you?
I wrote and recorded the whole thing over the last nine months. My baby. I gave Richard
Gottehrer my rough mixes and he essentially (post) produced and remixed it so it sounds
like it should. Stripped all my digital effects and re-effected it for a much warmer, analog
sound. It was a huge honor to work with him — he’s written a handful of my favorite songs.
What are those favorite songs?
Richard Gottehrer wrote “My Boyfriend’s Back,” “I Want Candy,” and “Sorrow” to name a few.
Is there any particular musician or artist that you haven’t heard yourself compared
to that you are just waiting for? Like, someone you’d love a writer to reference when
talking about Dum Dum Girls that hasn’t happened yet?
There have definitely been comparisons I don’t understand or think are lazy, but not really
any I’m waiting for.
What are we more likely to witness at a Dum Dum Girls gig – sequins or patent leather?
Are the two mutually exclusive? Sequins and regular leather most likely.
I guess patent is kind of wack. Have you ever performed while wasted?
Not for years.
Was that a previous band, I presume? You are kind of mysterious.
I gotta stay a lil’ mysterious!
Here at Yellow Green Red, I don’t just critique records, I occasionally release them, too. The associated label is White Denim. for those who aren’t familiar (founded 2001, not to be confused with the band of the same name), and I figured it wouldn’t be too inappropriate to announce White Denim’s new releases on YGR for any interested parties. May your Google Reader pardon the spam.
The Native Cats are a duo from Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. They play a minimalist style of post-punk – vocals, bass guitar, drum machine, and the occasional keyboard. Their White Denim release is a two-song 7″ single limited to 370 copies. It’s recorded in hi-fi, without fuzz or feedback, which provides an intimate feel and allows the listener to understand the lyrics, which are consistently a treat. I hear Young Marble Giants, Arab Strap, Joy Division, maybe some Eddy Current Suppression Ring too, although none of those comparisons really explain what they’re doing. Check it out for yourself – you can download the a-side of the single, free of charge, here: The Native Cats “Catspaw”
If you’re interested in purchasing a copy, it’s available for $5.00 postage-paid in the US, and it can be ordered directly from the White Denim website via PayPal. For international orders and wholesale rates, shoot an email to whitedenim AT gmail DOT com.