There are more than a few people in this world who look up at the sky and think, there’s got to be more to life than just this. Whether or not it’s a multiverse where various versions exist, or it’s just other lifeforms, something is out there but what? Well, all of that and then some have inspired Dolly Dagger since she was just a kid watching ‘The X-Files’ with her dad. We talked about those early outer space memories as well as her latest single, “Nightmare,” women taking control of their music in today’s realm, and more in this back-and-forth exchange.
Kendra: In your latest single, “Nightmare” you say you’re “too old/not old enough,” but how old were you when you realized music was something more to you than just something you wanted to listen to?
Dolly Dagger: I was around 14 when I first started writing songs, but it was around 21 that I decided to actually take music seriously as a business which is when I started to learn about the industry, really focus on my songwriting and releasing music properly instead of just as a hobby.
Kendra: Sticking with “Nightmare,” this song feels like one of the most relatable right now because the world, it’s a mess. Of course, we all have our struggles but do you think that the world and society also being in turmoil makes the weight of our troubles feel heavier?
Dolly Dagger: Absolutely! I think there’s some comfort in the shared trauma, it comes with a certain understanding towards each other, but I don’t think that necessarily makes it any easier to deal with. We’re all going through something and the world is facing a lot of division among belief systems and values and that’s really hard to navigate as a collective.
Kendra: On the flip side, the video for this song is so fun, and very timely given the US government was like, yeah – aliens, they’re real. But your love of space and its inhabitants came from watching ‘The X-Files’ growing up. If you could travel back in time and pen a song for the show, what do you think it’d be about? Would it be about Mulder and Scully, the government, or simply an alien lifeform?
Dolly Dagger: Ha! I used to watch reruns with my dad in Australia, he was obsessed! I think a campy synth-heavy song to go along with a scene including the Lone Gunmen, there’s something about those three with all their technology and backdoor shenanigans that I always loved watching!
Kendra: ‘The X-Files’ was a wild ride, but life in LA can be just as crazy. When did you make the move there from Australia?
Dolly Dagger: I think it was officially in 2015, and I’ve been back and forth since then. I’m predominantly here but I’m really looking forward to being in Australia a little more in the future, perhaps playing some shows and taking my American friends on a few road trips.
Kendra: With that, if you had to compare your upcoming debut EP to a spot in LA that inspired you most, what would it be and why?
Dolly Dagger: That one is easy, Mount Wilson Observatory! It’s my go-to spot when I’m looking to get grounded, I love all the antennas and space vibes and it’s really gorgeous on a summer night. It’s a nice drive up and a couple of years ago, I had my birthday there where we got to view space through the 60-inch telescope!
Maybe it hasn’t quite inspired the lyrical content, that’s always very emotion-based and usually about people or life events, but it definitely is a place of calm that helped me through all that emotion and obviously inspired some visuals!
Kendra: Growing up the women in music that were popular were like Britney and Christina, badasses but also very much controlled by the industry. Today, it feels like women are taking the reins completely from what they release to how they move about their careers, including yourself. You are releasing music that doesn’t feel curated by a boardroom of executives. It’s real and expressive. While artists like this have always existed, why do you think that’s more ever-present now with artists like Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish?
Dolly Dagger: I think audiences got sick of the way labels would package those artists and we got sick of their tricks and perfections. When the industry shifted to streaming and social media, it became so much easier for other artists to have a voice and reach their audience which may have previously been ignored by labels.
With that came a level of depth and authenticity we hadn’t been exposed to through the perfect, shiny pop world of the 2000’s so the labels recognized the changes and realized people connect more deeply with an artist’s true personality, not something manufactured. But we love our Britney /X-tina era and it’s nice to see that even they have a bit more freedom to be who they really want to be these days!
Kendra: Time for a side note – August was just a huge month for me, with so many loved ones’ birthdays being celebrated, so I’d love to know what song you’d dedicate to your loved ones, be it friends, family, or both…
Dolly Dagger: That’s so cool, my mum and brother have August birthdays! I’d like to dedicate the classic, soulful hit “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers and hope everyone has a lovely, lovely day!
Kendra: Lastly, with your debut EP on the way, what else can the people out there expect from you as 2023 rolls along?
Dolly Dagger: They can expect another music video as well as unhinged videos on social media, maybe some behind-the-scenes leading up to the release, and a chance to get to know my alien friend a little better! But I’m most excited about the live shows and set we’re working on as well as the merch. I can’t wait for everyone to see it because it’s truly a masterpiece that encapsulates the whole EP!