It’s the day after Montreal’s Osheaga festival and Dilly Dally vocalist Katie Monks is back in the city she once lived in.
Dilly Dally are a Toronto band however, and Monks is quick to point out the differences between the two cities’ scenes: “Toronto seems a bit less mysterious, and a bit more comfortable,” an opinion that can be easily seen when comparing each place’s biggest musical exports. Montreal is home to Arcade Fire, Grimes and Majical Cloudz among others, while Toronto has spawned the grittier likes of Fucked Up, Metz and most recently Weaves, who Dilly Dally are bringing along on their upcoming UK tour.
“I’d say Toronto has a really good, proper punk scene. There’re many genres, but a similar attitude that a lot of the artists have within our scene. I feel like there’s something special happening there right now,” Monks affirms.
“It’s insane how many dark, terrible, fucked up things have happened. I’m growing up, ya know? Shit’s going down”
According to the vocalist, for a band to succeed in Toronto, their live show has to be “so fucking good”, and this necessity saw Dilly Dally playing hometown basement shows for nearly six years before they released their debut album Sore in October of last year. “You impress people with a live show and then say ‘hey, here’s a cassette tape with the shittiest sounding recordings ever on it’. Now, I think everyone’s upping their game in that realm, but it always did begin with needing to have a good live show, and that’s why [the Toronto scene] is not a bunch of people who are ‘Soundcloud famous’”.
Monks’ fiercely unique singing voice sets Dilly Dally apart in the scene of loud guitar music, but it’s also one that’s given the band some less-than-satisfactory comments from outsiders. “There was one piece out there which gave a great review of the record, and then said ‘but, we’ll see how her voice holds up on tour’. Firstly, that has nothing to do with whether the album is any good, so fuck you, and secondly, we’ve been playing shows in Toronto at least once a month for six years before we released that record. Not to mention that I sing every single day, and have since I was fourteen.”
“We’re making strangers happy and inspired.”
As for many bands on their debut album, the worlds of every member of Dilly Dally have been turned upside down since the album gained traction, sending them off on tour in all over the world. It’s a particularly drastic lifestyle change for Monks and the band’s co-founder Liz Ball, having played together in the band for over half a decade in the same Toronto basements, meaning Monks now has to schedule time in her life to write the band’s second album.
“What I need to do is schedule time now to actually do it. That’s something I never had to do before. That’s the challenge that every band has after their first record – if it does well, they’re touring constantly, and you think ‘how the fuck am I supposed to have time to digest everything that’s happened in my life in the last year?'”
On top of the pressures facing Dilly Dally, the band’s rise has coincided with a particularly dark time in the singer’s life. “It’s insane how many dark, terrible, fucked up things have happened. I’m growing up, ya know? Shit’s going down. There’s some heavy crap happening around me, with my friends and loved ones, and then simultaneously all of mine and Liz’s dreams are coming completely true and we’re making strangers happy and inspired. I’m only really starting to take it all in now.”
“I FEEL LIKE IT’S MY RESPONSIBILITY, IN A WAY, TO SAY YES TO LIFE, WHEN AROUND ME THERE’S DEATH.”
Monk believes that LP2 can only be improved by its surrounding circumstances. “I had a moment yesterday, where I was thinking about all the extremely sad things that have happened around me recently, and realised that this is the reason why I have to make this next record as soon as possible. I feel like it’s my responsibility, in a way, to say yes to life, when around me there’s death.”
With an upcoming UK tour, plus dates worldwide, Monks is going to struggle to find the time to fully reflect on everything that has come her way in the past year, but a new Dilly Dally album is in everyone’s interests – and it’s not just herself that Monks is singing for. “I’m writing for myself, sure, but I love pop songs, and I love writing songs that are intended to make people feel powerful… Like they can change the shit in their lives.”
Dilly Dally and Weaves play the Exchange on September 21st. Their album Sore is out now via Partisan Records.
Check out ‘Candy Mountain’ right here: