Although they had only been together as a band for about a year the Galway, Ireland-based band Dott quickly won a great deal of attention across the UK. A number of their songs have received regular radio play on BBC Radio. They’ve also made at least one major television appearance on the Late Late Show, and have played several of that region’s major festivals. “Small Pony” the first single off their Graveface Records release, Swoon is a warm, summery blast of jangling guitar pop that’s reminiscent of the Go-Go’s, Veruca Salt, Belle and Sebastian, Camera Obscura, and others.
But where Dott manages to set themselves apart is in their lyrical content. Lyrically, each song’s narrator feels like a fully fleshed out woman – the sort of women i’ve met and personally admired. There’s the narrator who sees her relationship failing and she sweetly wants things to be as (seemingly) perfect on “Last Summer.” “Another Summer” is an equally nostalgic look back at a summer. And of course there is "TEFL" where the narrator calls out an unfaithful lover. “Day That I Found You” describes the one moment you stumble into someone and you know that you want to be with them. It sort of describes that moment as feeling destined to happen. And they’re all sung with a sweet sense of harmony and melody – the sort that also brings Phil Spector and the countless girl groups he produced in the 60s to mind.
I recently spoke to Dott’s vocalist and guitarist Anna about the new album. the songwriting process behind the album, Galway’s music scene, and what she loves about Galway. Check it out below.
WRH: How did you get into music? When did you know that music was the thing for you?
Anna: My older sister left home when I was 16 and I was bored in the house on my own so I picked up a battered old guitar and started teaching myself how to play. I started writing songs instantly.
WRH: Who are your influences?
WRH: How did the band meet? And how did you come up with the band’s name?
A: We’ve all known each other for years as Galway is a small city. But I came back from a round the world trip and wanted to start a sunny, dreamy pop band and convinced the rest to join me. The name came before the band. I happen to wear a lot of polka dots for some unintentional reason and people have a tendency of pointing at my outfit and saying “Ah, more dots!” I added the second “t” for the hell of it and to give the band name an even deeper meaning.
WRH: How would you describe the band’s sound?
A: Shiny, harmony-driven guitar pop.
WRH: Who are you listening to right now?
WRH: Your sound seems to owe equal debts to the girl groups produced by Phil Spector in the 60s and a bit to the 90s – in particular Veruca Salt, Liz Phair, and even fellow Glaswegians, [ Note: While starting this interview I had Glasgow on my mind. Thankfully, Anna didn’t mind. But at the end of the day: My bad.], Belle and Sebastian and others. There’s even a hint of the Go-Gos. How much of that influenced your sound? Was that intentional?
A: Haha. Belle and Sebastian are Glaswegians… We are Galwegians. As in, from Galway; the coastal city on the west of Ireland. I went to Glasgow last month to see True Widow and I loved it there so I don’t mind being mistaken for a Glaswegian. I definitely didn’t set out to intentionally sound like any of the bands you just mentioned but I have listened to some of them and quite like them. The idea behind this band was to try to write good pop songs and I have always loved playing with vocal harmonies so that just came along with it.
WRH: The narrators of each of the album’s songs feel like fleshed out, realistic women – I have a feeling that I’ve met many of women that come up throughout the album. There’s the narrator who sees her relationship failing and she sweetly wants things to be as (seemingly) perfect on “Last Summer.” “Another Summer” is an equally nostalgic look back at a summer. And of course there is "TEFL" where the narrator calls out an unfaithful lover. “Day That I Found You” describes the one moment you stumble into someone and you know that you want to be with them. It sort of describes that moment as fate. How much of the songs are inspired by actual personal experience?
A: That’s a huge compliment, thank you. A lot of the songs are inspired by own relationships past and present as well as relationships experienced by my friends. Sometimes I sneak in secret nods to friends that really, only they would recognise. But, that said, a lot of the album is inspired by real experiences but you can’t let the truth get in the way of a good song sometimes. Like TEFL for example.
WRH: With the site being based in the States, the majority of my readers may be unfamiliar to Galway’s music scene. Could you describe what’s going on there?
A: The Galway music scene is small but well formed. It’s famous for it’s traditional Irish music but there’s plenty of odd balls like us, So Cow and Oh Boland doing our own thing. My favourite venue is the Róisín Dubh but there’s a few fun pop-up spaces for shows too like the Arts Centre and the Secret Garden and there’s a nice weekly night called Citóg every Wednesday too. Also, friends of mine put on punk shows in a secret warehouse every couple weeks which is always a lot of fun. It would be nice to have more of a variety of venues in Galway but it’s such a small place that it doesn’t seem to happen. But then again if the city became too big it might lose the charm that makes it special.
WRH: What advice would you give to artists trying to make a name for themselves?
A: Don’t compromise your art for anyone else and just do what feels right. And don’t look people in the eye when eating a banana.