Kelly Ogden of The Dollyrots Talks Kickstarter, New Album and Spinal Tap. - Interview

The Dollyrots’ new album is more than just the band’s fourth studio release; it’s a joint effort between the band and its legions of fans. The Kelly Ogden led punk/pop group decided to subsidize The Dollyrots’ self-titled album, which will be out September 18th, via Kickstarter. Ogden recently stopped by to talk about the new album, as well as leaving Blackheart Records to go independent.

Q - Hi Kelly. How are you?

A - I’m good. How are you?

Q - I’m good. You have a new album coming out.

A - Yes, we do.

Q - This was funded largely in part by Kickstarter. Why did you decide to go this route?

A - Well, we knew that we had some awesome fans; just how awesome they were was a bit of a surprise to us. Moving forward with this record - we had done our last two on Blackheart Records and it was an awesome experience and we learned a ton - we felt at this point in our career we were ready to do what we do on our own - with our fans.

Q - The Dollyrots used to be with Blackheart Records. Now you’re independent. Other than label support and funds, what obstacles and benefits do you face being an independent band?

A - Luckily we found a distribution company that we’re going to license the album to for a short period of time so it can get the album into stores. That’s something that, as a touring band, we were having trouble trying to figure out how we would manage doing that. So that part is taken care of.

Usually one of the things that the label takes care of, that we’re now taking on, is setting up the pre-sale for all the non-Kickstarter people. We’re redoing our merch site, and our website; we’re doing all of that, just me and Luis (Cabezas - guitar) for the most part. Still things have been kind of crazy.

Q - You recently had a line-up change on drums (Alicia Warrington). How did the learning curve affect the new album in terms of sound, writing and producing?

A - (Laughs), well, it’s funny that you bring that up because we had another line-up change, already. We haven’t announced it yet but last night we played a show with this guy named James (Carman) from a band called Images. Alicia (Warrington) decided to go full-time with Chris Rene, who’s like an ‘X-Factor’ artist that she was doing some shows with here and there while we were finishing up all the record stuff. She decided to do that so we have James going on this next tour and a half with us. He’s awesome. Luis and I feel it’s kind of Spinal Tap-py (laughs) at this point and we’re going to embrace it. The band has been our life, just the two of us, for over 10 years. It really is mostly our band and we share it with whoever wants to be our drummer at the time. That’s just how it’s going to be moving forward and I think we finally feel really comfortable with that.


Q - What can fans expect from this new album that wasn’t prevalent on the previous ones?

A - We had TIME in the studio. We’re working with John Fields again, who we recorded our first two albums with, ‘Eat My Heart Out’ and ‘Because I’m Awesome,’ and playing with him again in the studio… he was an integral part in having some keyboard things and a lot of the production was just me and Luis and Fields. Being creative and not limiting ourselves or worrying about any of that stuff. We had an idea and if it was great, we kept it and if it sucked, we tried something else. I feel like we got to think about it a little bit more and get the sounds we really, really wanted. We felt really confident, especially knowing that we had all these fans backing what we were doing. Also that we had to deliver something that would make them proud to be a part of it.

Q - The band is currently on tour. How much of the new material makes the set list?

A - We’re thinking about a third of the set will be new stuff. We’ll rotate songs here and there but for the most part, we’ll probably do five or six new songs. And then, the hits (laughs).

Q - With the music industry transitioning to digital downloads and iTunes, how does marketing your band differ from when you first came onto the scene 10 years ago.

A - It’s definitely been a major learning experience; all of that stuff. When we first started out, we had a text only email message that we would send out to tell people about our tour. We had a little bit of online merch, our website and MySpace. That was pretty much the way we marketed. Lookout (Records) and Blackheart would buy ads in magazines because there were still a lot of magazines at that time. But now it seems like it’s way more important for us to know our fans and directly interact with them via Twitter, etc. With all of this new stuff we’re trying to make fans understand that they have to support us, not to say that in a weird way, but this music is virtually free if you want it; you can download it without even paying a dime. There has to be some way for people to support artists that they believe in so we decided to not be so bashful about asking for it. We put together some cool pre-sale packages that are cheap but we can still make some money on. We’re just trying to be really straight forward and close to our fans so they understand what we’re doing and what our motives are.

Q - Thanks for chatting. Is there anything you wanted to add?

A - We will be on tour and we are always interacting through Facebook and Twitter and our email addresses are on the website (www.dollyrots.com) so you can always get a hold of us. And if people like this record we’re really counting on them to get the word out because we’re doing this as fans and not as a huge machine (laughs). So if you like it, tell people.

BYLINE:

Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Email Jason at jason@zoiksonline.com.
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