Artist Interviews

Q&A: Dum Dum Girls

By | Published on Wednesday 7 April 2010

Dum Dum Girls

The Dum Dum Girls are a lo-fi indie rock band from Los Angeles, originally set up as a solo project by frontwoman Dee Dee in late 2008. While still a solo venture, she released a home-recorded CD-R on her label Zoo Music and two vinyl EPs. The name is a nod to both The Vaselines’ album ‘Dum-Dum’ and the Iggy Pop song ‘Dum Dum Boys’, both acts being influences for Dee Dee. In 2009 DDG became a fully-fledged band, with the addition of Jules, Bambi and Frankie Rose, and together they have just released their debut album ‘I Will Be’, which was produced by Dee Dee and Richard Gottehrer (Blondie, The Go-Gos and The Raveonettes). With the album out now on Sub Pop, we caught out with Dee Dee to find out more.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
I’ve been compelled to write songs ever since I was a small child, as precocious as that sounds. I come from a musical family so I guess it’s in my blood. I failed miserably at learning the guitar as a teenager, but finally picked it up after some actual practice. It’s much easier to write pop songs when you can strum your basic chords.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
I wrote and recorded it over a period of eight or so months – it came together sort of casually, as first albums often do. It sounds cohesive sonically because I used a rather consistent palette of sounds.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
I write all my songs on an acoustic nylon guitar that my dad gave me in seventh grade. It’s from the 1960s and belonged to the music teacher who worked at the high school he taught at. It’s important to me that a song can pass the acoustic guitar test – if it can’t hold its own with just basic accompaniment, it’s not right. Then I record demos and flesh out the song. I try to distil the instrumental tracks and vocal melodies. This leaves room for more Spector-esque production, or not – whatever the song calls for.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
All sorts, both stylistically and lyrically. I favour groups whose songs are pop songs at the core, however they may dress them up. This includes everyone from The Velvet Underground to girl groups (whose songwriters were professionals at this) to Spacemen 3 to Bob Dylan to Iggy Pop. Words have always been important to me as well. They don’t need to be obtuse to be good, either – even the simplest statement can cut you. Patti Smith and Nick Cave are two of my go-tos when I need a burst of inspiration.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
What did you think?

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
Take my girls on the road and enjoy every opportunity we have to play our songs for others.