DOLLS + DITTO = Don’t Stop!

DOLLSxx in a Bow Tie Just Stop

Gorgeous DITTO Music, who I’ve released all my music through for the past – because they’re so so so so delicious – did this interview with me after they found out that I met Fauxplay through Tinder (true story).

Read it and weep – since you never matched me! Kisses!

Tinder is known as the dating App used by millions of people worldwide that makes it easier to meet someone for a casual fling, but did you know it can also be a tool for meeting your next musical collaborator? We chat with DOLLS to find out about her new Tinder-inspired collaboration. 

DOLLS xx Synthpop UK Nikki Milovanovic

Tinder is usually used as a dating App, but you have used it to find a musical collaborator. Can you explain how this came about and how you harnessed Tinder’s power for something that it wasn’t intended to do?

I originally thought Tinder was a bit of cheeky fun for dating – cute if you’re really bored, in a new city or whatever – but I don’t have a lot of free time and I have even less for small-talking with random strangers, so after an initial flirtation with the app, I was really just messing about with it as a marketing tool, meeting the odd emotionally-stunted investment banker for a really expensive dinner (as you do).

I noticed loads of guys were posting their business and band websites – I guess to peacock a bit and demonstrate their ‘status,’ so I thought “why not do the same, just never meet anyone and steer everyone to my music.”  It completely worked, until I had too many matches to keep up with conversations, so men started reporting me as spam – which is actually hilarious because I wasn’t sending mass messages or anything, I was simply not replying in 30 minutes or less. I’m not a pizza chain, boys – honestly!  So textually demanding!

Did your collaboration with Fauxplay originally start out as a date, or did you make it clear from the outset that it was purely a musical collaboration?

I think I swiped right (Fauxplay isn’t hard on the eyes) but then realised he was a producer, so told him we couldn’t meet because I don’t date musicians. He replied saying he liked my music and wanted to remix my track Limited Ltd, so I was like, sure, let’s see what you can do. He came back a couple weeks later with the Limited Ltd Swipe Right Remix, which was quite up my street, so I asked him if he wanted to meet for a drink to discuss tracking together. To ensure he didn’t think it was a date – you can never be too certain a man isn’t going to awkwardly throw himself at you and then shame-spiral in the middle of a restaurant – I totally dressed down and went no-makeup post-Pilates (dating advice: if a woman does that, she’s super not interested or just REALLY into the gym). So yeah, I think it was pretty clear from the jump. Otherwise he’s going to be totally shell-shocked by this interview!

The track that you ended up with was Just Stop, an electro-pop inspired track that harks back to the good ol’ days of artists like No Doubt. Was there a linkage between the genre and the theme of the single?

I’ve always loved a bit of a female-fronted fuck-you anthem, like Madonna’s Express Yourself, No Doubt’s Spiderwebs, Elastica’s Stutter and Salt-N-Pepa’s Step. I think everybody does, really, because it’s a retaliation against the ‘soft, feminine, knows her place’ stereotype that brands so many women, making these kinds of songs a bit of a blast back at the status quo and a reminder that women aren’t just sitting around in Downton Abbey waiting to net a suitable husband while tolerating inadequate suitors.  It’s really satisfying to be a voice contradicting the billions of ballads documenting unrequited love for lacklustre lovers – not that I don’t have love for a ballad, but it’s also really fun to call someone out like ‘hmm, your lack of game while trying to play me is super cute and everything, but no, sorry,” on top of music everyone can dance to.

You were once signed to a label and experienced some significant success in Canada. What made you pull up stumps and take the more DIY approach to the distribution of your music?

Some people are really good working within an existing structure that has its own rules, like The Matrix or the commercial music industry, but I don’t think I was the perfect fit for a major label. I wanted to be artsy and different and straddle different genres, and they prefer something a bit more categorised as one thing or another, so it was bound to feel restrictive to me, which is never a good thing unless you’re discussing massively chic lingerie.  By going independent I was able to release what I wanted, when I wanted, and it meant fans were able to relate a lot more to me as an artist because they could see the development – like they could be part of the process.

I think once artists get a taste of the freedom of self-releasing it’s difficult to conceive of going back to putting it all in someone else’s hands and as a result, playing by their rules. I’m not saying ‘never’ to a label, but it’s a lot more important to find a great match rather than just “being signed,” to me. Like, no need to rush into marrying the first thing that comes along with a flaccid daisy, y’know? Romance me.

Back in 2014, you promoted your single Limited LTD using anti-Valentines cards. Later that year you also released a Twin Peaks themed video for Pedestal. Is this you exploring other areas of your creative personality? Do you find that using creative methods to help market your music really helps with promotion or do you do it for enjoyment?

Although I’d love to say it was all super-clever marketing, I think honestly I’ve just been keen to amuse myself – the anti-Valentine’s cards were me just being obnoxious and self-promotional while piggybacking on a commercial ‘holiday’; I thought it would be funny, and didn’t expect it to be a talking point – but it’s actually ridiculously difficult to market a track releasing on Valentine’s Day (alternate title: R&B Christmas), so it worked to differentiate the track, which is key for an independent. The Twin Peaks thing was completely coincidental – I knew it was 25 years on, and Laura Palmer (who I paid tribute to in Pedestal, which a lot of people thought was next-level twisted anyway) had that famous line “I’ll see you again in 25 years,” which I thought would be cool. When I shot the video in February 2014 there wasn’t even a murmur of the show returning, except obviously on the megafan forums who’d been typing backwards and promising its return since before the Internet was born. I was just making a video and cosplaying this homecoming queen who’s found dead and wrapped in plastic – literally like 7 people got the Twin Peaks reference before they announced it was returning to TV and everything Twin Peaks re-exploded in October, alongside Pedestal’s release.

I think honestly if you can’t promote your material in creative ways as an independent you make a rod for your own back while simultaneously missing the funnest boat; if your plan is simply to try and copy what a major label does step-by-step, but without the budget, you’re almost dooming yourself to live on adrenaline, delusion and disappointment. And if you have the budget, just fucking start a label since you’re already doing all that work.

Lastly, can we expect more from your collaboration with Fauxplay in the form of an EP or album in the future? Will it be entirely Tinder-inspired or was that a one-off?

You can definitely expect more from DOLLS + Fauxplay; there’s at least one EP lined up for 2016, and I wouldn’t call it Tinder-inspired, but there may be a reference or two to some dreadful Tinder date that wound up as fodder for a song – but isn’t that so 2016? Eat it up.

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