INTERVIEW: Kelly Ogden – The Dollyrots

Pop-punk duo THE DOLLYROTS have recently released their sixth album, Whiplash Splash, and completed an American tour with their two young children. Their cheerful lyrics and upbeat guitars have won over the fans once again, now vocalist Kelly Ogden has sat down to chat with us about their recent tour, their latest album and looking ahead to the future.

You’ve just released Whiplash Splash, how do you feel about the album?

Kelly: It’s definitely been one of the best experiences so far in my life, the making of it and now going out on the road with it. It’s in my top two favourite THE DOLLYROTS albums.

What was the first one?

Kelly: Love Eat My Heart Out. It was our first album and I just think because you spend your whole life writing your first record and it just has so much in it, memories and experiences and it’s just really special to me. And this last one, urgh it’s just really good! And I don’t know where it came from, it just came out of us in the coolest way possible. I’m pretty proud of it.

Was this different, in terms of writing and recording, to your previous work?

Kelly: Yeah, I mean, we definitely had less time in the long sense, meaning I think we had about two months before we had studio time booked and then I was cut off from flying because I was super pregnant so. Then, every day we have less  time to focus on our jobs – being in the band – and we’re kinda back and forth between parenting and work, so life is extra crazy right now but at the same time I think that we thrive in that environment, which is really awesome, but also it can get a little hectic.

It’s good it’s a situation you thrive in, certainly for the future of THE DOLLYROTS!

Kelly: Yeah, I think so!

Where did the inspiration come from?

Kelly: We spend all of our time between Los Angles, California, and the gulf coast of Florida, and the Tampa bay area and so, the beach and water are definitely a part of our lives. There’s a freedom that comes from being in the water where you kinda feel like you’re almost on a different planet when you stick your head under, even if you’re in a bathtub you can kinda escape for a moment, and I think as we’ve grown into parenting and adults, I wouldn’t say we’re adults exactly but, you know, it’s nice to take those breaks and reflect on life. Also, the whole Mermaid thing is about evolution as a person, and we’ve definitely had to do a lot of evolving. Luckily our music hasn’t had to change very much and so I think any fans of our band will love this album. It’s not musically a leap in anyway, if we were going to do something musically very different, then it would be a different band. I think our fans are really, really excited about it. Lyrically, some of the songs just came from the ether, some of them were written intentionally, like Just Because I’m Blonde was written as a jokey song, a feminist jokey song and so that’s what that one was. Some of them were like that, others just came from nowhere, or from everyday experience.

What’s your favourite song from the album?

Kelly: It’s so hard, right now it’s City Of Angles because we just got back from Los Angles, we ended our tour there, and it just made me realise all the things I love about that city. I just have a romantic image of it in my head right now. We played that one on all the dates and it’s just so powerful, and people seemed to really respond to it. But that’s just today, it changes all the time. I’ve also been singing Other Trucker because Jaret from BOWLING FOR SOUP sang on that song and he texted me earlier like ‘I keep singing Other Trucker, but I changed the words to Mother Fucker!’

How have audiences reacted to the new songs?

Kelly: Really good! I feel like they’re among the strongest songs in our set, that’s kinda crazy because we’ve put out six albums, and we play a couple songs from each record at least, and we play all the hits – My Best Friend’s Hot, Jackie Chan, and Because I’m Awesome – but these new songs, I don’t know if it’s because we’re playing them with a fresh excitement or because our fans are excited to hear them or what. We were playing a show in Dallas, the venue we played was open to the street so there were people just randomly walking by during the set, and I love shows like that because I can see what songs pull people in, and I swear all the new songs made people stop and listen, even more so than our older songs. So I do think we did something special with this record and I think that it’s coming across live too.

How did your American tour go?

Kelly: It was incredible, it was up in my top three favourite tours of my life, and there’s been a lot because I was so terrified going into this whole adventure. I was like right, I’m gonna be positive, think that it’s all gonna be great, and I know that we have an awesome crew and we have great songs, we can play live, but the whole personal aspects of it, being on tour with two little kids and all of those details of it was kinda freaking me out but it was honestly no different to being at home with two kids, or touring with our first kid River. They both did great, and our team really just made it a lot of fun.

Is there anything you want to do during a show or on tour that you’ve not been able to?

Kelly: Not really, to be honest, I kinda got everything I wanted out of it that I wanted, which is a miracle.

You did a few things between shows, like seeing the Dodgers in Los Angles, what was the most fun?

Kelly: Well, that was definitely up there. Opening day is kinda a big deal for any baseball fan so to get to go Dodgers Stadium for that was super cool, and we went to the Alamo with Jaret and that was pretty fun because we’ve passed it a million times. And I don’t know if anyone in England has seen Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, but the end of that movie is at the Alamo, and it’s kinda funny to have finally gone there. Probably the best and scariest thing we did which was not tour related was we went to White Sands National Monument which is huge gypsum dune field, I think she said it was almost three-hundred square miles of white sand dunes and you can just run off the top of a thirty foot tall dune, and jump and roll off. It’s just like playing in snow, but it’s not cold, and it’s not hot either. It’s just north of El Paso, Texas, and that was so awesome, until we almost stepped on a rattlesnake, and then I was straight up freaking out because our toddler River was running around and everyone was rolling down the sand I was like please don’t anyone get bit by a rattlesnake, please please please. But we left unscathed with great pictures and great memories. We used a crappy cardboard merch box to try and sled down the side of it but that didn’t work. It was a lot of fun.

Your family has grown since we last spoke, the fertility chair in Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem in Nottingham clearly worked!

Kelly: Yeah! It worked the first time that we were there too, we were on tour with BOWLING FOR SOUP and I sat in the chair and soon after River appeared, so yeah, I think that chair really works. And you guys have a Taco Bell now! It’s so weird, now you guys really have my favourite city. Between Rock City, that chair and Taco Bell I could probably live there now. I’ve finished sitting in that chair though. I do have a funny story about that Taco Bell though. When we went, we ordered so much food, and the poor girl was a little bit overwhelmed because I like to get regular items but make them vegetarian, like ‘I’ll have a taco with no meat, substitute beans’ and it can get a little bit complicated, and the poor girl she ended up, somehow charging our credit card £30,000, instead of $30. She was able to reverse it, but we actually have the receipt that says £30,000 of Taco Bell. That would have been really scary.

How did the added child affect your touring?

Kelly: It didn’t really, luckily she’s a go with the flow baby, for the most part so it didn’t really change our programme that much. If anything we were all more used to the routine and knew what to expect. And our awesome tour nanny, she toured before we had kids with us, and now that we have them, she and River get along great, Daisy just fell right into it so it was totally cool.

What’s next for THE DOLLYROTS?

Kelly: We got to get to the UK. We’re gonna do our best to get there before the end of the year. We leave for tour again in a few weeks, and as soon as we get home from that, we will really focus on getting over there in the fall, or autumn as you say. We will definitely hit Nottingham so we can eat Taco Bell! We should just have a THE DOLLYROTS taco party, forget about playing the show, we could have an acoustic show on the sidewalk out front and just eat tacos all day.

Whiplash Splash is out now via Arrested Youth Records.

For more information on THE DOLLYROTS like their official page on Facebook.