"It is a very male industry but we surround ourselves with strong, powerful, wonderful women" In conversation with Worry Dolls
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Hey Worry Dolls, what have you been up to today?
We’ve been writing a new song on piano this weekend. Enjoying some down time after having been on tour with Ian Hunter for eight dates, and looking forward to the next batch of tour dates starting again next week.
So 2017 for you so far, tell us about it?
We had a pretty epic start to this year with the release of our debut album, Go Get Gone in January. We’ve been out on tour pretty much since then, touring all over the UK. Heading into festival season now - so far we’ve played C2C, Great Escape and Maverick this year but we are really looking forward to playing Cambridge Folk Festival on the main stage very soon with our full band as well as SummerTyne and Beautiful Days.
So, you mentioned your debut album came out in January, what can you tell us about it?
Go Get Gone was hugely inspired by our three month trip out to the States, where we wrote and recorded it. It was very organic. It all came together in the space of six very inspiring months. All the songs are about the joint experiences we went through from start to finish.
What’s your process for writing and selecting songs for the album?
We tend to sit down and start an idea and come together to finish it. That may be a lyric idea or a banjo riff or something as simple as a song title.
You’re signed with Bread & Butter Music, a label people might not know much about. How did that come about?
We found Bread and Butter when we were planning our trip out to the States. We then met with some industry folk out there and they recommended getting in touch with Sara Silver who runs Bread and Butter with Maurice Bacon. We then met with Sara on our return and they came on board to release the album at the last minute in October 2016 in the few months before the album was released. They're a fantastic label for us because we share the same creative vision and they really care about us as people.
What’s coming up for the rest of the year?
We’re playing a Bob Harris-curated Live Under the Apple Tree session at Silverstone this Thursday (13/7) and Bristol O2 Academy on Sunday (16/7). We’re also very much looking forward to getting back on the road with Sam Outlaw, this brilliant country artist from LA, for a few more dates soon at The Tunnels - Bristol (24/7), Bullingdon - Oxford (25/7), Glee Club - Nottingham (26/7) and Night & Day Cafe - Manchester (27/7) before playing the main stage at Cambridge Folk Festival (28/7). A few more festivals and then we will be back on the road again doing our own headline tour in the UK in November. We look forward to playing the Borderline on 9th November in London.
You met when studying in Liverpool, how did you time in the city influence the artists you are today?
Liverpool is a very inspiring city and it definitely had a part in inspiring us to become the band and songwriters we are today. We had the chance to meet and play for Paul McCartney which was incredibly inspiring. Just being surrounded with like-minded creative people at LIPA was an all round life changing experience. We had the chance to grow as artists together in our three years studying there.
Where’s the strangest place you’ve played live?
We played on a coach once... We went to Music City Roots, which is a roots music show that live streams from a factory in Franklin, Tennessee. You could get a coach from Nashville and there were was meant to be a guy performing on the way but he pulled out, so somehow we ended up filling in. There was also a guy dressed in a rabbit costume for no apparent reason. We've really played everywhere from shop windows to burlesque nights...
You’re women in a predominantly male industry, has that had any impact on your careers so far?
You know what, it is a very male industry but we've made a point of surrounding ourselves with strong, powerful, wonderful women. That really helps!
Are there any instances when you’ve thought “A bloke wouldn’t get treated like that?”?
Yes, and we like to think that we call it out when it happens but sometimes it's difficult without causing friction, especially if it's people you're working with for a short time at a gig - you just want the show to go well. But it's important. Often it's backhanded compliments like "you don't often see girls who can play their instruments so well!". All we can say is, girls, keep calling it out! We're definitely feminists and proud to be.
What female artists do you look up to?
So many! Dixie Chicks, Courtney Marie Andrews, Hannah Reid (London Grammar), Michelle Branch, Joni Mitchell, Kacey Musgraves; the list is endless!
What advice do you have for people trying to get into the music industry?
Know your strengths. Believe in yourself and your worth and put value on your art. Know when the say no! Never give up. Most importantly, ask for help. People will surprise you with their generosity.
If you could only listen to one song this week, what would it be?
Jason Isbell - 'If We Were Vampires'
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
What's your favourite thing to put on a barbecue?
Oh wow, great question. Well the other day we chopped up some plantain and rolled it in cumin and cinnamon and put it on skewers and barbecued it until it was melt-in-the-mouth and it was SO GOOD.
You are welcome.
What are you doing next today?
Going to finish that song I was telling you about earlier.
Finally, how do you take your coffee? (Or alcohol?)
Rosie is the coffee drinker, Zoe is more of a herbal tea kind of person. When we’re on the road Rosie likes a strong milky coffee. Alcohol wise, we are both fans of Moonshine!
Worry Dolls are on tour at the moment, you can find out more information from their website. You can also hear their album on all streaming services (Tidal below) or buy from some places.