Interview: Dolly Daggerz (Tokyo Taboo) “I’ve always been into visual artists.”

With the music revolution gaining pace it’s bands like Tokyo Taboo that are currently making the most headway. Their alt rock sound is complimented by real stage sass including singer Dolly Daggerz performing pole dancing while continuing her vocal duties. Far from just being a novelty it just adds to the spectacle of the live show that is gaining legendary status. Gary Trueman had a chat to Dolly about her style influences, where the band are in terms of their second album and who she’d most like to resurrect to perform with.

You’re a rock band principally but there’s all kinds of other influences in there too.  You’ve got bits of grunge, punk and pop all mixed up.  Do you think that helps to broaden your appeal?

“I think it does. I think the music you make reflects what you listen to. I grew up listening to strong female pop like Madonna and Cyndi Lauper, that type of thing. So that gets mixed in with more guitar type of music such as Hole and Paramore.  So we mix the two and then all kinds of other genres creep in too.”

Do you think music fans are more accepting these days and that it’s easier to find new music with everything being online?

“I would say that because the internet is there you have the good things like Spotify, although they don’t pay their artists, but they do have that playlist radio thing going on so you can get carried away on a musical journey.  That’s a plus. Everyone can connect to everything so freely which is great. The negative is that everything is so accessible that no one really values anything like the time it takes to make a record. We’re still half way through our second album and it’s taking ages.”

Talking about that second album and Pledge.  Now everything has gone belly up with the Pledge crowdfunding site which has affected a lot of bands including your selves.  What’s the status with you at the moment?

“Pledge I think are going into administration now. I feel angry because it’s not our money. I’m so shocked by the whole thing, that Pledge can take people’s money and not give it to the artist. It’s such a great concept and they just messed it up. I don’t think I’ll ever do crowdfunding ever again. It’s really demotivating. You almost have to find a reason to keep going as a band when that happens, it’s not so much the money part it’s more the feeling you get from that happening to you. You have to have so much get up and go to be in a band that’s self financed and then when that happens it’s a big kick in the stomach. But we’re going to keep going anyway.”

There are a huge number of bands around at the moment and it helps to stand out from the crowd. You obviously have a bold image. You also use the pole on stage as well which is unusual if not unique. How did that come about?

“It’s all to do with the fact that I stopped drinking and that I’m one of those people with an addictive personality. I have to have something that gives me a high or gives me adrenaline and it so happens that running and pole took the place of the alcohol that I was drinking. It just became a natural thing to bring it on stage because I always want to know what I can do to push myself more. I was getting bored with shows and wanted to do something extra special. It definitely makes the gigs more challenging because you have to have the energy to do it, and warm up properly. It adds a whole new challenge to shows and I like to feel challenged.”

Do you think that even if songs are memorable image helps to add another layer to a performance?

“I’ve always been into visual artists and it’s an Instagram age, a Youtube age, people are into visuals. It’s an instant kind of thing and visuals can grab you instantly. I think it’s important to keep testing ourselves and to keep coming up with better and better imagery.”

One of the things people know you for on stage image wise are your insane stacks. How do you manage to walk around and even dance in those killer heels?

“I think it’s adrenaline really. It’s funny because when I’m off stage or almost off stage I’m almost falling over. I think because you have so many people watching you you end up being super cautious and focussed. It helps to have a pole to hang onto to be honest. It keeps you upright.”

So who are your style icons?

“I was really into Madonna, I have a Madonna tattoo from when she did the blond ambition tour.  Nowadays I’m not really that interested in her but when I was seven or eight I was watching Truth Or Dare her documentary, seeing a strong female who was the boss.  Also Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, they are the other ones who are iconic. The glitter is definitely Bowie. I also like how androgynous he was, and super flexible with all the strange poses. Lady Gaga too but she wears fur so I kind of hate her.”

Your guitarist is also your husband. How does that work as a dynamic in the band? What are the pros and cons?

“I guess the pro is that you are a team, we were always a team and the marriage came after that. The con is that you don’t have a break because we live together. So we talk about band stuff, then personal stuff, then band stuff, and there’s no real divide. We have a separate room where we make music, I think it’s important to be able to shut the door on that.”

You’re both vegan and spend quite a lot of time travelling to and from gigs and staying over in different places.  Is it easier now than it used to be or is it still quite hard to find vegan food?

“In the UK it’s easy. Say it’s really late and we’re coming back from a show, somewhere like Starbucks will usually have vegan food. Most stores will have something. It’s when you go elsewhere.  When we went to America and did a video shoot there was just a Mexican restaurant and it was really horrible. It’s tricky but it’s getting there. People are creating options for us.”

You’ve got a few dates coming up.  What have you got booked?

“May 26th we’re playing Lechlade Festival, May 31st were playing Alice’s Wicked Tea Party, June 2nd is Camden Rocks, June 30th we’re at Bedford Esquires, July 12th we’re playing Unholy Messtival, we’re at Beanfest the next day July 13th then on the 14th we’re at Whitby Music festival.  On July 27th we’re playing Deerstock and then we’re playing Rebellion over the following weekend (August 1st – 4th). We’re going to be doing loads more after that too.”

If you could bring one artist back from the dead to perform with who would it be and why?

“I’m torn between Freddie Mercury and David Bowie. The first name that came into my head was Freddie Mercury. He’s my spirit animal and he was an amazing performer. He had so much charisma and his voice was just insane. I just completely connect with him.”

Interview and photography by Gary Trueman

Clothing by Phaze Clothing

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