Ewan Atkinson explores the minds of Toronto punks Dilly Dally while they were in Brighton playing at The Great Escape.
Sat in a dark and dingy dressing room, slumped up against each other is Dilly Dally, the grungy Canadian four-piece who have firmly stamped their mark on the British indie scene. The band released their empowering debut album, which oozes with angst and sexual frustration, in late 2015 and have been smashing eardrums ever since. Katie Monks’ raw and fleshy vocals could’ve been lifted straight out of the throat of Shane McGowan. They land like a brick thrown against a shop window. Dilly Dally’s sound is riot inducing yet it feels incredibly personal. It’s about more then just music; it’s a way of life. Which is the aim of it all according to Monks, who explains that the bands plan for the next year is to “spread the Dilly life.” Liz Ball concurs and tells me that they intend to do that by “playing all the shows.”
Guitarists Monks and Ball met when they were fourteen and once they’d finished high school started writing music together, before being joined by bassist Jimmy Tony and drummer Benjamin Reinhartz. They appear to work incredibly effectively as unit. Even though its bratty indie-punk, they still sound as tight as a teenagers braces. Throughout the interview the band each dip in and out of what looks a tour coma, each taking a turn to curl up into their own corner of the dressing room and shut down for a few minutes. Dilly Dally appear to have been touring hard since releasing debut album ‘Sore’. It hasn’t been all plain sailing either. “Not being able to get into a country was pretty sucky”, Katie explains, “We were supposed to tour the states but when we got to the border, they weren’t having it.” According to the rest of band Katie, who doesn’t eat a lot of chocolate, ate a lot of chocolate on that day. At this point she stopped to take her vitamins, which along with baby powder “for the foot stench” are the most important things she takes on tour. While Katie is doing this the band start to discuss Doc Martens and “scissoring”, a very giggly conversation that is best left to the band.
Their album, although not being overtly political, does have a lot of important issues at the heart of the album, sexuality and feminism being two. The whole album is “open to interpretation” declares Katie, “I fucking love the challenge of making a song that’s going to be empowering for everybody.” At this point drummer Benjamin Reinhartz sparks into life and enthuses “a good song is something that’s real and adding something decent and powerful to the conversation but is also a fun time.” There are nods of agreement from the rest of the band before Katie adds, “Dilly Dally has got all that shit in there and can even be for the idiots who don’t care. It’s dope.” It seems as though politics, whether it be personal or not, is something that is deeply rooted in the Dilly way of life.
The music the band listened to growing up probably has a lot to do with this Reinhartz tells me. “I started with skate punk and went back and listened to a lot of old school hardcore bands.” Anyone who has listened to old school hardcore bands like Dead Kennedys or Black Flag would find it hard not to have some layer of politics in their music. It hasn’t all been hardcore bands and grunge for Dilly Dally growing up however, as Katie confesses, “I enjoy listening to all kind of stuff like KISS and shit.” However not necessarily for all the best reasons as she goes on to explain, “Sometimes the shit that I love, I love in the way I love McDonalds. Its like love/hate because you know its been shoved into your life and sold to you but you cant help but love it as it still makes you happy.”