Interview | Introducing… Worry Dolls

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We stumbled across Worry Dolls playing in a pub in Kilburn and were instantly charmed by their glorious harmonies and idiosyncratic lyrics. From songs about transvestites to dying in a car crash, Worry Dolls’ oeuvre is the work of two imaginative minds (attached to a couple of extremely talented musicians with seriously beautiful voices). Over to Rosie and Zoe…

Hello, please introduce yourself to yourself and your music to the uninitiated.

We are Worry Dolls; a quirky indie folk duo based in London. We sing everything in two part harmony and play a range of instruments including; banjo, mandolin, banjulele and guitar.

How did you start playing music?

We studied music together at LIPA at a time when there was a really exciting folk scene happening in Liverpool (The Staves, Mikhael Paskalev, Dan Croll, Thomas J Speight, to name a few…) We met as solo artists, but by the time we left Liverpool we’d formed an alliance, and that was Worry Dolls. We spent a year travelling back and forth and writing in different places, but we finally took the plunge and moved to London last year, where we’ve been tirelessly gigging ever since.

Tell us about your EP.

It represents the start of Worry Dolls; the time we spent commuting from Kent to Devon in-between uni and ‘adulthood’. We documented every feeling, from wanting to flee our old home towns (Drive), being afraid of forgetting who we are and growing old (Polaroids), dreaming of the London cliché (London), and anxieties about the future (Same Old Dream). We went back to Liverpool to record it in the George Martin Studio.

What was your best ever gig?

We recently supported Joan Armatrading at The Hexagon in Reading. It was the biggest gig we’ve played so far. We also played the last Glastonbury, on a stage in the green fields that was powered by bicycles. People had to cycle while we played to keep the PA running and we were playing borrowed instruments. It would have to be a tie between these, and a gig we played in London last year on a boat called Tamesis Dock. Organised by Folkroom Records & Patch and the Giant – it was absolutely rammed – definitely the sweatiest gig we’ve ever played!

What’s the worst thing about being a musician?

Not being able to realistically play music every day, but not wanting to do anything else! Also having to carry far too many instruments everywhere, having people shout “play us a song!”, “is that a cello?”, “do you have a dead body in there?” etc. and getting stuck in the tube barriers!

What inspires you?

Drag queens, old people, stories, travelling, dreams, unconventional relationships…

If you won a billion pounds what would you do with it?

Quit our jobs and play music! Pay for someone to drive us and our instruments in a blue & orange VW camper (that never breaks down) around Europe & the USA, have someone to tune all of our instruments! Have our own personal chef, PA, designer, etc. And give a large part of it to charity, obviously…

Out of your songs, which is your favourite and why?

One of our favourite songs is called ‘Oliver’. We wrote it about a drag queen that we both fell in love with after seeing him in a West End show. It’s confusing falling for a man dressed as a woman. You’re not sure if you love him despite, or because of, his cross-dressing ways, and which you’d rather be true… We don’t like writing typical love songs; this is probably the closest we get.

What are your plans for the future? Do you always want to be playing music?

In the immediate future we’ve got some great gigs and festivals lined up. We’re playing with Rachel Sermanni in March which we’re really excited about because we get to go back to Liverpool and see all our old friends. We’re also putting the wheels in motion for our next EP, which we’ve already written. We’ve got a producer, guest musicians and an illustrator on board, but we’re keeping it all a secret for now.

Finally, we’re always looking to expand our musical horizons. Do you have any recommendations of bands or artists we should be looking out for?

Our friends are all so talented, to name a few: Andrew Butler, James Canty, Joe Innes & the Cavalcade, Freddie & the Hoares, Laura James, Gerard and the Watchmen, Anna Lena & the Orchids, Patch & the Giant, Sophie Jamieson, Douglas Dare, Farao… We could go on, but start with these!

Worry Dolls are launching their 5-track EP at The Rattlesnake in Angel this Thursday 28 February. Tickets are £2 before 8pm and £4 after. See more info on the event page. You can find more about Worry Dolls at worrydollsmusic.com.

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