With their debut album ‘Sore’, Toronto punks Dilly Dally are showcasing something special.
Words: Jessica Goodman
Toronto quartet Dilly Dally might be releasing their debut album, but they’re no newcomers to the music scene. “We have a secret record we recorded four years ago that no one’s ever going to hear,” frontwoman Katie Monks teases. “We didn’t know what we wanted as much back then. Now we have more of a sound. We know what we want more.”
That certainty has been a long time coming. Dilly Dally have been performing in various guises for the past seven years. At the band’s core lies the permanent duo of Katie and Liz Ball, high school friends who pledged their allegiance to the Dilly Dally cause before they ever picked up instruments together. “We were like, ‘Yeah, let’s start a band!’ So we went and we got the tattoos for it,” Katie laughs. “The tattoo artist was like, ‘You really shouldn’t get these if you haven’t even played a show yet…’” Thankfully, the pair were not to be deterred. “We were appalled that he didn’t have faith in Dilly Dally. We got the tattoos, so that was that.”
Jump forwards a few years, and with the addition of Jimmy Tony on bass and Benjamin Reinhartz on drums, Dilly Dally’s lineup is at last complete. “Liz and I have been playing in Toronto once a month for the last six years under Dilly Dally,” Monks recalls. “Every shit bar and every crummy hole in this city, we’ve played it. Over time I think we just started to get frustrated that no one cared about what we were doing.”
Frustration led to creation, and changing their setup, the group found their forte. “People reacted differently to us live once we started playing with Ben and Tony. Ben is an incredible performer. He makes us all play in a bigger way. Tony does as well. We became louder and more angry. We were just like, ‘Now will you guys listen to us?’ It affected the live show so drastically that it felt like something really special was happening with the four of us.”
That ‘something special’ is showcased in the form of ‘Sore’, the quartet’s first full-length record to see release. “It’s pretty animalistic stuff,” Monks describes. “Deeply personal and spiritual experiences I’ve had in my life. I’m a smart person, but I live my life through what I feel. So that’s what the record is. If I felt like I was oppressed because I was a woman, and the deep anger and sadness I would feel because of that, that’s on the record. Deep feelings of love for my friends, that’s on the record. Feelings about just wanting to have sex with somebody, that’s on the record.”
Whilst most people might shy from baring themselves so openly, the frontwoman relishes it. “It’s like sex!” she exclaims. “It’s amazing! It’s like I’m stripping my emotions in front of everybody. You’re so vulnerable. The more vulnerable I make myself, the more people enjoy it, and the more it makes them feel good about themselves. It’s easy.”
“I have a great story!” Katie proclaims. “One time there was this guy at a party, and he was like, ‘You stand up on stage, and you sing and you play in front of all those people?’ He said, ‘You are so brave’. I don’t get scared – I feel so comfortable doing it, you know? But I was like, ‘I guess that is brave, thank you!’ I took it as a compliment, and I started thinking quite much of myself. Then I said, ‘So, what do you like to do?’ He said, ‘I skateboard’. And he was like, ‘Last year I skateboarded into a bus, and I was in a coma for eight months, and now I can’t see out of this eye…’ He told me he had all these health problems…” she trails off in disbelief. “I put my hand on his shoulder and said ‘YOU are the one who is brave.’ I’m not fucking brave. I don’t have the guts to fucking skateboard.”
When it comes to feats of bravery, Dilly Dally are completely modest. Their hopes, however, are as admirable as they come. “I hope that when people hear the record they find it empowering,” Katie expresses. “I hope that all people across the board hear it, and it makes them want to get up and do something with their day. I just want it to have a positive effect on people.” “If they’re feeling depressed, and shitty, I hope it makes people feel like “she’s made sense of it all, and turned it into something beautiful. Maybe I can do it. Maybe I might try.””
“There’s tons of bands that get started saying, ‘We started our band because we liked other bands in school’,” she continues. “I want to make people pick up instruments, a pen, or whatever they want to express themselves with, and run over to their fucking desk or wherever, and get to work.”
Dilly Dally’s debut album ‘Sore’ is out now.