Transmissions from the Dorm Room Heart: Dilly Dally

Words: Jordan Weinstock

Dilly Dally write pop songs, but you’d never know that from listening to them. The band, which has been centered around guitarists Katie Monks (who is also the vocalist) and Liz Ball in some form since 2009.  The Toronto-based act recently released their debut LP Sore  a beautifully violent assault of 90’s indebted, guitar-centric indie rock.  Today is Thursday and I am preparing to see them on the next Tuesday by listening to their cover of Drake’s “Know Yourself” for the umpteenth time, my heart imploding in on itself the way it always does when Dilly Dally roars…

Jordan of TGE: I’m always curious as to why bands name albums the way they do, what is “Sore”?  Are you sore?

Katie: I think we liked it because there are a lot of different meanings behind.  Overall, the feeling behind the album was represented by that.  Ben, our drummer, came up with the name at practice, which was really cute.   

I can’t recall exactly what he said but I remember certainly one of the things was not only that they feeling in the music was there but it had taken a long time to get to that point for this band.  It had been six years where Liz and I had been working on Dilly Dally and we had gone through different members and talked to different labels and managers and we recorded a record that never came out.  There were just so many things that had happened along the way.  With any band that has been doing it for so long there’s just this constant grind and you put your trust and faith in this relationship that just falls apart and implodes and it kind of leaves you feeling a little stung.  

Especially because the dream of it all started out as being very naïve and innocent and romantic and we were just blindly in love with this project.  It’s funny, my friend asked me recently if this was a coming of age album and I think it is. 

Jordan: Do you still feel sore after all this?

Katie: No!  It’s a healing!  Absolutely, It’s about rebirth, the whole fucking record is about that.  You know my mom asked me why do you write these sad songs, are you sad?  Should I worry?  I told her that, “mom, the reason why I’m a happy person is because I write these sad songs.”  It’s so therapeutic. 

While we have been stung and hurt by people in the past for the most part there’s just been love and awesomeness.  There’s been a lot of good, there’s certainly been bad but it’s this cleansing process to write music that helps you extend those feelings and emotions and gets them out there.  I think that Purple Rage is a good example and The Touch, they’re these dark topics but they always have a happy conclusion I think.  They’re just deeply hidden in metaphors and you have to look for them in the record. 

Photo: David Waldman

Photo: David Waldman

Jordan: You’ve said before that you’re trying to realize truths through music. What are those?

Katie: It’s funny, there are different ways to look at art right?  For me, the way I see is that there is no such thing as a genius. For me, I’m just a much a part of the audience as everyone else is.  I’m equally as surprised or amazed when a sound fucking comes out of me and then I feel like, “damn, shit, look at all that meaning that stuff has!”  It starts with a feeling.  If you close your eyes for a minute and shut out all of the bullshit and other people’s judgement, I don’t know, it’s just meditative.  

Jordan: How does the songwriting process with Liz worth?  You two have played together for a long time so I’m curious to hear how you’ve evolved over the years.  Your songs always seem to be trying incredibly hard to burst at their seems but are always being uneasily and loosely held together where does that come from?

Katie: It’s just natural.  We’ve been playing together for a long time and you might think it’s evolved or matured over time but it hasn’t at all. In fact, we have to remind ourselves to get back to the old ways. We’d smoke some weed and drink some wine and plug in our guitars in a tiny room in a tiny apartment and sit on the floor and light some candles and just fuckin’ jam. We wouldn’t talk about it, it just was. 

Jordan: Is there any significance to color in your music?  There’s this aesthetic of purple, blue, red, and pink that follow you and your music.

Katie: All of our decisions are very feeling based.  If we’re adding someone new to the team or whatever, everything is “oh yeah that feels right.”  Colors create so many feelings for me.  Each song kind of has its own dream world to it.  They help me sleep, you start thinking about all of the work you have to do or how you can make your life better or what’s wrong with you and your life or you’re worried about your friends; all this stuff turns off when I think about a song.  I’ll be in bed and close my eyes and that imagery will come to mind.  For the record we tried as hard as we could to get as close as possible to that imagery.