Tales from the Sea – Interview with The Duloks
by Mr Lion
“Octopus In Love” By The Duloks
Music and comedy can be uneasy bedfellows. The Monty Python team pulled off a few amusing tunes in their day, and I’m sure if you delve far enough back there might be a chuckle or two to be had in the Comic Relief charity single back catalogue. But let’s face it, the comic musical brilliance of the Mighty Boosh or Flight of the Conchords is balanced out in the universal whole by unforgivable assaults on the charts from the likes of Terry Wogan and Ken Dodd. So when the top of the Anglo-Canadian, London-based three-piece the Duloks’ MySpace page declares their musical genres to span indie, new wave and comedy, they certainly lay down a gauntlet to themselves. Thankfully, the declaration is backed up by nicely surprising, wryly assembled lyrics which are carried on some seriously dramatic, entertaining and uplifting keyboard melodies, a concoction which has a wonderfully hand-made feel that only ramps up the appeal. Add to that songs inspired by video games which I thought had been banished to the unreliable memories of Clive Sinclair’s great grandad, plus the first band name I’ve come across since Nerf Herder to be named after an obscure creature from the Star Wars universe, and the result is not only more exciting than I can quite find words for just now, but is also very worth investigating in closer detail.
Having bribed the band with an artistic favour or two, I was lucky enough to be able put a few choice questions to singer Mira, drummer Mar and newly-installed keyboard player Abi, and they were nice enough to give some highly entertaining answers in return…
Mr Lion – First things first, how did you all get together? Are there friendships in the band that predate the Duloks as a unit, or did you assemble especially for this musical mission?
Mira – Mar & I wrote for the same website – which was called Coolgrrrls.com – luckily for me she decided to come to ENGLAND from Canada and that’s when we met in Real Life! I had talent spotted Abi at a few shows and tried to steal her when we had gaps in our keyboard players but she was always busy busy busy!! ‘Til NOW!
Mar: One thing that should be mentioned is at the first practice all Mira and I talked about was boys and foreskins. It’s a true story. Cock talk brought the Duloks together, we love discussing the difference between North American and European cock. Abi doesn’t like to take part though.
Abi: The Duloks were playing at Club Motherfucker and I was also playing there the same night as Abi Makes Music – it was fate that we met over music! Even though I don’t believe in fate.
Mr Lion – I’m a lion of advanced enough years to recall the Ewoks cartoon series in vivid detail… for those who aren’t in the know, can you put us in the picture about your name and how you came to use it?
Mira – This is really Mar’s story… I will just say that we are not as stinky as our cartoon namesakes and we like to wash!!
Mar: The Ewoks was my favourite cartoon show growing up. I was in a band in Vancouver called the Ewoks which was organ, drums and singer. When I moved to England I missed having a silly band to play drums in so I started the Duloks (who were the Ewoks’ enemies in the cartoon show)…. it was an inside joke that has now been going for 3 years!
Abi: I had never even heard of the Ewoks. Terrible.
Mr Lion – Is it possible to name your influences? Are there any significant artists or bands (or otherwise!) which you feel have informed your musical stylings, and if so who are they?
Mira – Again – this is a nice one for Mar to answer because she was in mind of definite influences when she put the Duloks together! I love lots of old 70s prog rock, which probably explains my predilection towards concept albums and intertextuality!!
Mar: Thee Goblins from Vancouver Canada were the first organ and drums silly band I ever saw. I dated the drummer in that band when I was 18 and that’s how I started playing drums. I also think the simplicity, attitude and sparse-ness of Bratmobile has been a huge influence on both the Duloks and Ewoks.
Abi: Before I started Abi Makes Music I wanted to have a band, but I didn’t have any friends (I mean MUSICAL friends…) but I used to make up band stuff anyway in my head. It sounded quite Duloky and I think Help She Can’t Swim was a big influence. But you can’t even hear that music, because it was in my head and I have forgotten in now.
Mr Lion – How does song-writing work in your ranks? Is it purely a collaborative process, or do you each have tunes you’ve penned individually?
Mira – Lots of different ways! We normally start with the seed of an idea or topic we want to write about or some melody or Mar has a beat she wants to feature and then it’s like children building a sand castle together!! I like to feel I get to decorate the finished structure with seashells of harmonies and funny voices!
Mar: The lyrics are usually about some boy Mira can’t get out of her head OR some sort of random sentence / inside joke I’ve said which inspires a FULL song. Music wise though it changes for each song – drums, keys and vocals have all been the first bits just depends on each individual song.
Abi: I’m looking forward to making them write songs about lesbians.
Mr Lion – What’s the long-term game-plan for the Duloks? Do you have your sights set on a specific objective, in terms of the kind of music you’re making and where you want to go with it?
Mira – I’d love to continue being able to travel with our music and play all over the world. We’ve already been all over the UK, to France, to Norway, to Spain, to Austria and Germany! So wherever else will have us! Also the satisfaction of making people laugh with our music is a big part of what we do. So as long as we get opportunities to make people smile with our silliness I will be happy!
Abi: Yeah I want to start taking the band into a bassline house sort of direction, with a bit of thrash metal thrown in for good measure.
Mr Lion – It’s clear that you place a certain value on image, with your coordinated uniforms and the construction of a brand to go with the band, as it were… do you think this is essential for a pop group in this day and age, or is it something very specific to yourselves and the kind of music you make?
Mira – The uniforms were a lucky coincidence due to Mar hosting a Jocks VS Nerds party! I love the fact that we have a uniform. Some of our fans buy headbands and wristbands to wear to be part of Team Dulok!
Mar: I think it’s pretty important in our band because our lives shows and band is all about entertainment, participation and fun. So having an image and brand is part of what makes up the Duloks. I think people can make amaaaaazing music and not have any sort of image but it’s probably harder to sell your band and get out there.
Mr Lion – You just got back to the UK from a mini-tour in Germany – how was that? Do you have an established fan-base in that part of the world? What sort of a cross-section of society do you get at the gigs?
Mira – We don’t have a typical fan, they come in all different guises!! We get lots and lots of laughs in Germany and we played a show to 14 people on the mini tour but still managed to sell 9 lps and a teeshirt – so they’re pretty passionate in their awesomeness! :)
Abi: That was my first trip abroad. EVER. In Offenbach the DJ was playing bassline before and after our set and there were 15 year olds and 60 year olds in the audience.
Mr Lion – Your first mini-album, Children of the Sea, comes out on 9 March. There’s a distinctly nautical feel to this release – what was the inspiration for that? And will we see the short-shorts and long-socks dropped in favour of pirate costumes and mermaid tails at future shows?!
Mar: Mira’s already worn a mermaids tail before. I’ve played in a bikini 3 times…. we love all sorts of costumes but the shorts will never leave!
Mira – We actually HAVE done a few shows dressed nautical style!! (see http://www.flickr.com/photos/miramanga/1395731063/) and I absolutely LOVE wearing mermaid clobber so I am sure that quite a few nautical costumes will be surfacing!! Not only that but with the advent of the arrival of our Duloks CDs we got super excited and bought a stage dressing fishing net complete with lobster, starfish and shells…! Eeek!
Mr Lion – I imagine the immediate future is very much about this new release, but what comes next? Will you be recording again soon? Do you have ideas yet for future singles or a full-length album?
Mar: We’re recording again in March. Immediate plans are to record one original and a cover of a You Say Party! We Say Die! song. We’re gonna do a split 7-inch with them with each of us having 2 songs on either side. They’re covering Star Trail.
Mira – We’ve been talking about how the next LP will have a fire & desert theme. It’s been inspired by the freezing cold winter and casting our minds and imagination into the sun! I’d love to have a new LP ready for summer 2009 themed around FIRE! How cool would that be, then we’d just have to complete two more taking in Air & Earth to have a musical collection entitled, The Four Elements by the Duloks..! Like the Four Seasons by Vivaldi. Kinda ;) The most recent song we wrote called Making Plans for Oliver takes in conspiracy theories, Mars old band The Ewoks, the credit crunch, has biblical references and also refers to the Duloks. So who knows what will happen!
Abi: Who knows what it will sounds like now that I’m in the band……..(I predict a ‘Bad Lesbian’ song….)
Mr Lion – Do you have five words with which to suck any unsuspecting passers-by into Dulok World?
Mar: Shorts. Stars. Fun. Sea. Cock.
Abi: Penis. Problems. Patrick. Alliterative Tourettes.
Mira – Follow us to the stars!
“Don’t Leave Me In The Lighthouse” The Duloks