Perth indie pop darlings Dulcie have had a cracker of a first year. Their debut single ‘Fall’ received near-instant rotation on triple j, and by the time their second song ‘Own Ground’ was released, they were a featured unearthed artist. Capitalising on the buzz, the energetic all-female quartet then scored a tasty spot on Groovin The Moo in Bunbury. All before they’d even released an EP. Now they’re opening up their sound to a whole new crowd at BIGSOUND 2019, and the delegates are loving it. We had a lively chat with the lovely ladies during their Brissie sojourn.
Ashleigh Carr-White (keys and vocals), Saskia Brittain (guitar and vocals), Timieka Denton (bass and vocals) and Madison Hanley (drums) come barreling into the Marquee Bar for their interview, all breathless, laughing apologies about their lateness and four concurrent stories happening about the crazy parking and driving situation in Fortitude Valley. They are like a basketful of excited puppies, and I feel like the interview might have already started without me. I get straight into it.
Saskia and Ash were the initial founders, taking on Timieka on bass fairly quickly. Unfortunately for Timieka, she hadn’t played bass. Like, ever.
I hated it,” says Timieka. “I was like ‘nup, I’m out of here!’” Fortunately, it only took a few weeks for her to get into the groove. “It was a tough couple of weeks,” she laughs.
They then began the search for a female drummer, and Maddie turned out to be just the ticket. With good, available drummers thin on the ground to begin with, finding a female drummer could have proved near impossible, but fortunately there were school connections already in place, and the Dulcie dream team was born without much fuss at all.
The girls feel like they got pretty lucky.
“In Perth, it hasn’t been done before,” says Saskia, about the all-female lineup.
Maddie is the youngest of the crew at just 19, with the other girls all 20-21. She has deferred her musical studies due to the band’s unexpected success. I ask her about her degree, for which she was the only female student, for the entire duration.
“It’s a really inclusive environment at WAAPA (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts), and everyone is very loving and kind. The boys and men in the course were incredibly supportive.”
All the girls have been thrown into a bit of a spin by their whirlwind first year. I ask if they at all expected the journey they’ve had.
“NO WAY!” they exclaim in chorus, and fall about into fits of giggles. “We’ve crammed so much into this year it feels like three years,” says Saskia.
“We’re just going to do this cool thing together and thought it’s going to be so much fun,” says Timieka. “It was a dream. I’ve always wanted to be on the radio.”
Ash quickly agrees. “Ijust thought ‘This is insane’ the first time I heard ‘Fall’ played on air.”
Madison jumps in. “I nearly cried!”
Through all the laughing and interrupting one another, one thing becomes abundantly clear: The girls are extraordinarily grateful for the support they’ve received, both from fans and behind the scenes, particularly from the Perth music scene and Great Gable especially, who took them on their first support tour sight unseen. It’s refreshing to chat to a young band at such a new and exciting point in their careers, and I hope they don’t lose the starry-eyed quality that makes them so engaging.
It’s particularly noticeable when we’re talking about their slot at Groovin The Moo in Bunbury. I’m curious about their set and the stage vibe and all of that stuff, but the girls have other favourite memories.
Timieka recalls “I was just going to the bathroom and Holy Holy walks past. Then in the bathroom, Billie Eilish was there!”
Ash interjects. “I got to meet Aurora!”
Amidst all these crazy new experiences, they’re still desperate for one thing, and that’s more time in the studio.
“We have about fourteen songs written and ready to go,” explains Timieka.
“It’s finding the time to get home, settle in, jump into the studio and get a release program going,” says Madison.
I say fans will be excited to hear there is new music on the horizon and Ash bursts into laughter. “Fans! We have fans, that’s so funny to think about. I’ve been working a hospitality job every day so that sounds really strange.”
They’d better get used to it.
We move on to talking about how their sound is constantly changing and hard to describe, and how the indie pop label doesn’t really do it justice. They bring up what they refer to as their Dulcie “stabs”, sort of like musical and rhythmic accents that make their sound distinctive.
“We need to make sure we have the stabs”, states Timieka.
Saskia tries to explain. “That’s one of the things we like putting in. Like ‘Auth-en-ti-ci-ty’,” she sings. They all then chime in with “You found your own, ground do-do BA-AH” and then all laugh again.
I wasn’t expecting a personal concert, but hey, I’ll take it. It seems that anything goes, when you’re interviewing Dulcie. I ask them what works about their dynamic.
Saskia jumps in. “We are all bright and bubbly as you can probably tell, and we all love to chat.”
Ash agrees. “I love a good convo!”
‘Fall’ and ‘Own Ground’ are out now through all the usual channels. With more touring and recording ahead for the rest of 2019, Dulcie’s upwards trajectory is set to continue. Keep an eye on their socials for news, and if you’re at BIGSOUND, stop them for a chat. You might not get away quickly, but you won’t regret it!