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Artists on Trial: Dolls on Fire

Artists on Trial: Dolls on Fire

Dolls on Fire is one of the newest bands to hit the Kansas City music scene—a group of local music veterans with a penchant for melody and a collective ear for sound song structures. We talk to the foursome about what we can expect from its music, including its upcoming debut release Ladies and Gentlemen…

The Deli: Gun to your head, 1 sentence to describe your music. What is it?

Dolls on Fire: Zach: Vocally-driven, high-energy synth rocktastic explosion of dramatic merriment.
Rachel: Singy, synthy disco necktie rock out!
Mark: Buzzy, fuzzy, synth-rock diversity.
Michelle: A vocally-driven synth rocksplosion.

The Deli: Let’s talk about Ladies and Gentlemen… your upcoming debut LP. What can we expect?

DoF: Zach: Lots of sing-along hooks and dynamic rock n’ roll performance. It's a big, bursting rock record, yet still tastefully crafted and arranged.
Rachel: Sass. Lots of sass.
Mark: The only thing you can expect...is the unexpected. Ever.
Michelle: Stellar songwriting and unicorns.

The Deli: What does “supporting local music” mean to you?

DoF: Zach: Everyone will say "Go to shows. Buy merch. Yell loudly." Those are very true and appreciated, but in these technological times, I would also add social media support. Like and share statuses, retweet, actually follow a band on the Interwebs. We know nobody can afford to go to every show in the city on every night, but people can (more or less) freely navigate the web. The more people that know how much awesome stuff is going on artistically in this town right now, the better. It's the whole "they tell two friends, then they tell two friends, then they tell two friends" kind of thing. Community is more than just trying to impress the people that are already there listening. It is helping others find new people to listen. In turn, they will do the same for you.
Rachel: Screaming “WE LOVE *band name*!!!” during a quiet moment from right in front of the stage.
Mark: Show up, yell and scream, and be unafraid to go outside your musical comfort zone.
Michelle: Unicorns (note: Michelle has answered these questions before, so her answers will likely make no sense).

The Deli: Who are your favorite “local” musicians right now?

DoF: Zach: She's a Keeper, Maps for Travelers, Molly Picture Club, Tiny Horse, Thee Water MoccaSins, Radkey, Antennas Up, and seriously, so, so, so, so, so many more.
Rachel: My fellow Dolls, of course! Those guys are the bee’s patella.
Mark: Zacrachelle (as I will now call my bandmates), Kara Taylor (of Shudder), Julie Berndsen (of The Latenight Callers).
Michelle: Since I already answered this last time, I will just say that I get to work with my two favorite female vocalists in Kansas City, and that makes me feel cool.

The Deli: Who are your favorite not-so-local musicians right now?

DoF: Zach: The Rentals, Nada Surf, The Neon Trees, They Might Be Giants, Lollipop Factory, the Avett Brothers, the Civil Wars, Ben Folds (and his Five).
Rachel: Aesop Rock, Utada Hikaru, Jem and the Holograms.
Mark: Les Claypool and Danny Carey.
Michelle: Due to recent concerts, I’m currently in a Regina Spektor and David Bazan phase. I won’t kill myself, don’t worry.

The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?

DoF: Zach: They Might Be Giants, The Get Up Kids circa Yahoo Outloud tour, the Who circa Who's Next?, Queen (really any time for them).
Rachel: Jon Bush-era Anthrax, Morning Musume, and Bjork.
Mark: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Weather Report.
Michelle: One Direction! I actually don’t know what this band sounds like, but they sold out Sprint Center in minutes! That must mean they’re great.

The Deli: Would you rather spend the rest of your life on stage or in the recording studio?
DoF: Zach: The studio. I love playing live, I really do, but I am a crafter. A refiner. A polisher. Put a coffee pot and a cot in the back corner of the control room and I'll see you in six months.
Rachel: Stage. It’s the only time I get to wear my hair in pigtails.
Mark: Contrary to "studio-owner" bias, I prefer stage lights and bandmates to hours of mixing and mastering.
Michelle: Does the studio have nice black or red leather couches? If so, studio. I really like to nap. The couches have to be black or red leather.

The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?

DoF: Zach: Pete Townshend—the work that man did with synthesizers is still just stupid impressive. John Lennon—Plastic Ono Band is probably the pinnacle of songwriting as far as I'm concerned. Michael Jackson—say what you want about any of the non-music crap, that man had absolutely no holes in music repertoire. And John Linnell, for proving that even quirky, slightly goofy-looking white guys can be rock stars.
Rachel: Keyboard Cat, Maru, Lil’ BUB, and Hello Kitty because… cats.
Mark: Jaco Pastorius, Buddy Rich, Jimmy Page, Ella Fitzgerald—for unique, timeless, unquestioned talent.
Michelle: My last one was silly so this one will actually be serious—Beethoven, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, and Dave Brubeck. All musicians that will transcend time.

The Deli: All right, give us the rundown. Where all on this big crazy web can you be found?

Twitter: @dolls_on_fire

The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?

DoF: Zach: You can always, always, always try harder. "Good enough" is neither good nor enough. Life is short, so get on with it.
Rachel: The turkey vulture’s main defense mechanism is to projectile vomit. So, always carry a poncho.
Mark: Always forgive, never forget. Every minute is precious—spend each one accordingly, as it is forever gone afterwards.
Michelle: More Ovaltine, please.
Dolls on Fire is:
Zach Hodson – lead vocals, guitar
Rachel Jaggard – lead vocals
Mark Johnson – drums/bass, vocals
Michelle Bacon – drums/bass
Kelly – background noises and things (Kelly could not be reached for comment)
Dolls on Fire will be releasing Ladies and Gentlemen… this Saturday at The Brick. The show kicks off with The Hillary Watts Riot at 10, followed by Dolls, then The Quivers. (Facebook event page) Sure to be damn good times for all.

--Terra Peal

Terra is a musician who has been around the Kansas City music scene for over 22 years. She is the singer and bassist for The Quivers and holds down the low end for Drew Black and Dirty Electric. She is also the official calendar girl for The Deli Kansas City. She's a lil pep, a lil spice, and a lil Ginger.

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