Dollhouse are a 4-piece ‘neo kraut fuzz’ band originating from Stroud, Gloucestershire, in the South of England. They are Zak Thomas-Akoo (vocals), Will Ainsley (guitar/backing vocals), Nick Browning (bass) and Tom Stevens (drums). Their exciting blend of pulsing motorik rhythms reminiscent of Krautrock pioneers Can and Neu!, atmospheric soundscapes and urgent, compelling vocals akin to the likes of Faris Badwan and Ian Curtis, but with their own unique identity, make this group of promising young lads ones to keep an eye on. We interviewed Will from the band to talk about their influences, what it’s like being on the road, and their plans for the future.
So how long have you guys been a band for? And how did the band initially come into existence?
We’ve been a band for four years, but in this current incarnation we have been going for one and a half years. The band initially came into existence when Zak, the singer, was sitting at home listening to The Clash, and he thought, “you know what, I could do this”. He then enlisted the talents of I (Will), first on bass, then on guitar. A year later, Tom the drummer came on-board, then a year after that, Nick the bassist.
Did a mutual love of genres such as Krautrock bring you together then? Any bands of that genre, or any other genre for that matter, that have particularly had an influence on you or inspired you?
It wasn’t so much of a mutual love of genres, rather a mutual love of a few select artists. We all have different interests in music. Nick is more into Electronica, whereas Tom is a Shoegaze scholar. I love Krautrock and Experimentalism, the avant garde etc, Zak likes nothing more than disco and sleazy ballads. We all find common ground in the music of The Velvet Underground, Fat White Family, The Monks, Primal Scream and the Modern Lovers.
Do you believe in wearing your influences on your sleeve in plain sight? Or do you think bands should focus more on delivering their own concept to the world?
We like to think that we don’t wear our influences too heavily. It’s great if people pick up on little parallels they can draw between our music, and another artist they like, but we try and make music that is resolutely us rather than anything else.
You’ve just come off the back of a mini-tour of the South of the UK, and only yesterday supported Joseph Coward in your hometown of Stroud. How were those experiences? Is being on the road something you’ve always loved, or did it take a bit of adjustment to fully enjoy it at first?
I’d say the mini-tour was fun, we don’t get to do shows too often so doing four almost back-to-back was great- we also really enjoyed supporting Joseph, a lovely person and a fantastic song-writer. We’ve never done a tour like this per se so it was a bit of a learning curve, with regards to organising transport and not getting each riled up too much!
You’re also supporting Moon Duo on the 9th of June in Cardiff. Is it still as exciting and rewarding as ever when you get called up to support bands like Moon Duo?
The show with Moon Duo will probably be our biggest one to date. We’ve never supported such a big name before, but it is very rewarding supporting big names, especially ones you like, like Joseph Coward or Filthy Boy.
You’ve also got a split-EP with Mysteron coming out in the near future, can you tell us a little bit about how that came to fruition?
I saw them supporting The Moonlandingz on tour and really enjoyed their set. They seemed to be in a similar situation as us- both fairly young and still up and coming. I contacted them to see if they’d like to release anything together, and the split-EP kind of came from that.
Many bands these days are cutting out the middle man and releasing their material on their own D.I.Y. labels, such as Radiohead and Fat White Family. Would setting up your own label in the future and releasing your own stuff be something you’d be interested in doing if you had the opportunity?
We’d like to release things ourselves because we’d like to have much more control over the process and what happens to it. However, this is just a question of funds. We’re going to see where we are with the EP before we make any decisions about how to release it.
Summer’s just around the corner, are you hoping to play any festivals this year? Do you have any already lined-up?
We’d love to play some festivals this year, although we haven’t got any lined-up this year. It’s one of our biggest ambitions as a band to start playing festivals.
Finally, if someone was coming to see you live for the first time, how would you describe to them the kind of show they’d expect to see?
Loud, hard, fast on the ears and easy on the eyes.
Dollhouse have just finished a small tour of the UK, but you can catch them on the following dates:
9th June at The Globe, Cardiff (Opening for Moon Duo)
21st June at the Betsey Trotwood, London (Free entry)
Check out Dollhouse’s Soundcloud below to hear more from them:
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