DIZZY – Interview

Dizzy © Pooneh Ghana

Foto-Credit © Pooneh Ghana

Obwohl sich Dizzy erst 2015 gegründet haben, verbindet Drummer und Generalist Charlie Spencer und Sängerin Katie Munshaw eine langjährige Freundschaft. Die ersten Stationen: Matheunterricht, Schulchor, Highschool. Das Studium konnte warten und stattdessen erfolgte die Bandgründung. Dazu geholt wurden Charlies Brüder Mackenzie und Alex, die Bass und Gitarre spielen. Zusammen traten sie in lokalen Bars in Oshawa auf. Nach einem Auftritt in Toronto bekamen sie prompt einen Vertrag beim kanadischen Plattenlabel Royal Mountain Records. 2018 erschien ihr Debütalbum Baby Teeth. Dafür bekamen sie den Juno Award für das Alternative Album of the Year. Darin musikalisch vereint all das Durcheinander und die Tragödien ihrer Jugendjahre. Im Ende Juli erscheinenden Nachfolger The Sun and her Scorch berichtet Sängerin Katie sie über ihre Eigenschaften, auf die sie nicht besonders stolz ist. Selbstoffenbarungen, die Mut kosten, sind die Basis für das neue Album. Und es soll vermitteln: Eigentlich ist es doch vollkommen okay negative Gedanken über sich selbst zu haben. Am Ende sind wir doch gar nicht so schlecht.

To get to know you a little bit better and because you know each other best, I’ll give you some attributes now and you choose who fits them best amongst your band. It’s a shame the others are not able to disprove or conform your assertions. Let’s do it anyway. Who is the clown of the band?
The clown is definitely Mackenzie. He has got impressions for days. He is a really funny guy. Laughing. I think he’d agree that he is probably the clown of the band.

Who is the most forgetful one?
Probably Mackenzie.

He is everything.
Yeah, I think so. His brain is sort of all over the place all the time which is a reason I love him.

What did he recently forget?
This is funny actually. We were in L.A. and we were kinda late for the airport to get back home. We got all the way to the airport and he forgot his jacket and then he realized he forgot his wallet at the hotel. So he definitely owns that title very easily.

How did it end up?
Luckily our manager stayed in L.A. for a couple of days and he had his passport. That was definitely a stressful afternoon.

Who is the greedy-guts. Someone who eats a lot/all the time.
Mackenzie (laughing) He could eat junk food for days. His favorite snack is Sweet Chili Doritos. He calls them Deetos. If he eats too many he goes into a coma.

Who can sleep anytime and everywhere?
Not really any of us but Alex is a light sleeper so he can be bothered very easily.


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Imagine I had to draw a picture of you four. What should not be missing in it?
I guess if it was of our band and if we were on tour, Mackenzie could not be missing his Deetos, his Doritos, Alex would have had his headphones, I probably would have a book and Charly would need his sunglasses because he is always driving the van.

What is it in the band you often fight about?
Nothing big. I mean the boys are brothers so any sort of fight is resolved pretty quickly but we don’t really get into fights.

Since they are brothers was it difficult for you find your place in the band between three brothers who grew up together?
No it wasn’t difficult. I was friends with them first. I figured out my place and when we decided to make a band it was pretty seamless. So I felt I had my place in the band already.

You just mentioned that you know each other for a long time now. How did you guys actually meet?
I went to High School with Mackenzie and Charlie. I met Charlie in grade nine math class. He sat in front of me and we became friends because we were both quiet. When I was trying to graduate we decided to take a year off and start a band, just Charlie and I. And then we decided to add Mack and Alex because they both played bass and guitar and that just made sense.

Do you think that this songwriting class in 6th grade helped you, Katie, to lead you the way of songwriting?
Yeah, I mean it’s pretty rare and I was really lucky to have had a songwriting program in my Elementary School. Definitely helped me writing at a young age and formed me a lot and to maybe pay attention to lyrics as I grew up and appreciate them.

I imagine you right now, little Katie, performing your first song and your parents giving you feedback..
I must have been in grade seven and I performed a song at the school talent show and there was supposed to be a guitarist because I didn’t know how to play the guitar. He was supposed to show up to play for me and he never showed up. So I had to go in front of everybody and sing it a cappella. It was so embarrassing.

Skipping to the present now. Which bands do influence your music?
There is a lot. But I think for this new record we were largely influenced by The National’s new record. That record came out right when we started writing so we’re really influenced by them. I love lyricists like Molly Rankin from the band Alvvays, I am obsessed with Phoebe Bridgers and Mitski. Lyrically those people.

Dizzy - The Sun And Her Scorch Cover

What’s your approach of creating new songs? Do you have to sit down and concentrate or does it happen rather casually?
It’s different every time. For lyrics sometimes it’ll just come out of thin air. Sometimes I go out for a walk, go driving and words will come to me. Or other times the guys will come with an idea of some chords and I put a melody or lyrics over top.

Finally speaking about your new album now. Congratulations on The Sun and her Scorch. What does feel like to have finished it and finally being able to release it?
It’s really exciting obviously. With Covid it’s a bit disappointing to not be able to tour. But we decided to self-produce so that was a lot of work but it was quite rewarding.

When did you start writing for it?
I think we started writing probably early 2019. And we decided to really start digging in the summer of 2019. So we went to a cottage north of Ontario and we set up our instruments for a week straight and we just wrote. And in fall we went to the studio and it was finished at the end of February so it was pretty quick.

In comparison to your first album Baby Teeth which got released in 2018, what was the challenge for this new album?
The biggest challenge was because we decided to self-produce. For the first record we worked with a producer called Damian Taylor which was a wonderful experience. But because we chose to self-produce it was a lot of work as I said and extremely challenging. Because I think with a producer you can kind of let them take the song and you’d be done with it and they can figure it out. But when you’re producing yourself you have to figure out that puzzle of every song yourself. So that was the biggest challenge for me I think.

Katie, you once said “A lot of time musicians are these sensitive or introverted people, and I feel like I’m one of them. And then you go on-stage and feel self-conscious
Do you feel like you are two persons: one stage-person and the private Katie-person?
I think as I am trying to play more shows I am trying to make that separation. You know dressing up for shows, wearing clothes that make me feel comfortable and confident. Watching other artists on stage and figuring out what to do with my body in front of people.

Do you think that you get more self-conscious off stage?
Yeah, I think I am getting better at it as I am doing it more. I am definitely very self-conscious and nervous on stage.


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“With the new album especially, I’m saying things I wouldn’t ever say to anyone out loud, and now I’m going to be singing them in front of hundreds of people”
Is it because you wrap up your words into other words so you don’t really say it plain? Which means you still can hide behind these words?
Yeah wrapping up those things that I wouldn’t want to say to anybody, in a melody or in a metaphor is a lot less scary than saying it to a friend or a therapist.

But still being so honest about your thoughts is kind of a self-disclosure. What do you hope for when people listen to your songs? What do you wish to convey?
I hope this album can bring comfort to people. That maybe they’re feeling the same way. I’ve done a couple of interviews and a lot of people have said they felt the same way and it’s been very comforting that way.

I really enjoyed listening to Daylight Savings Time. To me it sounds innocent, raw and hopeful. What’s the story behind it?
It’s sort of drawn from a couple different stories. It’s part of a personal experience and also people around me that are experiencing depression. And I guess that symptoms of depression, that I’ve noticed in myself or in other people is that sleeping is a big factor in that sort of thing. It’s just about sort of running away from your problems with sleeping.

Talking about The Magician of which there is also a music video. The song is about a friend of yours who passed away and you wish to bring her back.
What does it feel like to relive the feeling of loss every time you sing the song?
Oh, I haven’t had to sing it too often because I haven’t been on tour. No actually the song isn’t that hard to sing. I think it’s more joyful. It’s not that difficult. It was difficult to release that song. It was interesting to get all the messages from people who had either lost their friends or friends of mine who knew my friend who died was. So that was difficult but singing it isn’t too hard.

I like the video of Sunflower with all the little hints of the song titles of the album. Why did you choose to do that?
It was just a good chance for engagement and tease that something was coming and people seem to like it. I enjoy doing it as well. It’s like a scavenger hunt virtually.


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Talking about the special time we have right now. What is hard for you during this time?
When we were on tour with the band called Oh Wonder going through Europe we were just about to go to Germany when everything sort of happened. So that’s really challenging to not be able to tour these new songs. The only comfort instead, everybody else is in the exact same position so it’s not like we’re missing out on anything. But it’s pretty devastating. You have like a vision for what your album release is going to look like and usually that includes playing shows. So that has been something that’s hard.

Not being able to play concerts right now, what do you like about touring?
Actually being on stage performing is something that I didn’t think I would miss but it is something that I’m missing. I think I was just starting to get comfortable being on stage. So that’s one thing. And then I enjoy going to the merch table after shows and meeting people. That’s something what I’m missing. That sort of connection that you get from live shows.

What are you happy about to get back when you’re home again after touring?
I mean I live with my mum still. So I love seeing my mum and I live with my sister as well so I love spending time with them. I have a dog which I love taking on long walks. Luckily things are easing up a bit which means I get to see my friends which is something you don’t get to do on tour. That’s been nice.

What else would you like to tell the people who read this interview?
I hope that you listen to the record and if you do I hope you enjoy and find a piece of yourself in it.

Sara Seemann

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