story / Adeline Tan
Psychedelic surf punk rockers from L.A. based band The Aquadolls are quite frankly the coolest young, new band around: being a little freaky and geeky goes a long way! The Aquadolls call themselves a “rock and roll band of mermaids” but Melissa Brooks (lead singer/guitarist) is also one badass punk rocker. The Aquadolls are lovers of nature and Seal Beach, California. Ocean lovers and mermaid enthusiasts, everything about this band screams Beyond! Their music just makes you want to kick back, trip out and have a good time doing whatever the heck you want! Long hair blowing in the salty breeze, in a kaleidoscope dream and dancing to the beat of your own drum. The Summer of love is here and their feel good vibe truly embodies The Aquadolls. Their EP Stoked on You is already making major waves! Mind you, most of the band members aren’t even of legal drinking age (yet), but something tells me that that won’t stop them from writing rad tunes and breaking some rules along the way! The Aquadolls new LP Stoked On You will be released Winter 2013 by Burger Records. You can already preview 8 tracks at www.theaquadolls.bandcamp.com Q&A with Melissa Brooks, lead vocalist/guitarist as well as Ryan Frailich the band’s guitarist (also Melissa’s beau).
What are some of your current music inspirations and bands that influence your music?
M: I absolutely love Christopher Owens and the music he made under Girls, his solo stuff is lovely too. Cassie Ramone of Vivian Girls and The Babies really inspire me. She radiates being bad ass and is the ultimate punk girl rocker. I am also inspired by nature and my surroundings.
R: This band DIIV from New York, which is really Zachary Cole Smith’s project, is very pop but also shoegazy which I love. My ultimate inspiration would have to be Joanna Newsom though, her music is like a portal to my spiritual world where I feel completely at peace and blissful.
What sparked the name Aquadolls? You call yourselves a “rock and roll band of mermaids”, so why the fascination with mermaids and the ocean?
M: The name came from my love for the ocean. When I was a kid, I always wished I could be a mermaid. Now, I feel I can be one through my music! I love the tropical essence of the beach. I find myself there often, and it’s always fun to bring my guitar along and write songs.
Who are the Aquadolls? If you could first describe each member of the band and your background that would be grand!
M: The Aquadolls are my boyfriend Ryan Frailich, Josh Crawford, Colin Moore, and me (Melissa Brooks). Josh plays bass and is a Leo. His favorite bands include Primus and even Esperanza Spalding. He is single and looking for a sexy mate. Colin plays drums and is a Scorpio, he likes to keep things simple and his favorite musician is Lou Reed. I met them through Ryan and ever since we started playing music together magic has been in the air.
Are you guys in High school now? Did you go to High school things like prom and what do you friends think of your band?
M: The whole band is in college. I went to prom and my date was a total freak!! He was really awkward and then at the end of the night he tried to grope me. Not cool. High school was a bummer for me. I was weird. As far as friends go, I could totally use some haha.
You have a lot of guys in the band. How do they feel about the “girl power” vibe?
M: They love it! I’m sure they all secretly love feeling the “girl power” vibe. Who is the last person you made out with?
M: My boyfriend Ryan Frailich of course! 😉
Where do you guys record your Stoked On You?
M: We recorded it at Valley Recording Studios in Los Angeles with Joe Cardamone (The Icarus Line) and Lucy Miyaki (Tashaki Miyaki).
How did Burger Records find you guys?
M: When I had time in between classes I would ride my razor scooter over to Burger and help out at the shop. One day I gave them a CD and they called me back right away saying they wanted to sign us!
A lot of your fans found out about you through tumblr and facebook or twitter, it’s amazing how the interweb works in this day and age. How does that help you spread your name and image around?
M: The internet is crazy! It’s like the only way to get word out to your fans about new music, shows, or whatever.
R: It is definitely helpful and always fun how you can hit up people you admire and talk them via the internet.
There is a dream pop quality to your music, some would even categorize it as surf punk and a little psychedelic. Are you a laid back band and what are some of your favorite activities outside of performing?
M: Yes and no. I’m a really creative person. I get bored pretty easily and I always want to do something spontaneous. My boyfriend is the same, probably because we are both Aries and both like to keep ourselves entertained. My life is constantly surrounded by making music or any kind of art. I like to paint, lay in the park, but mostly I’m at my height when I immersed in a rock n roll show and feeling the power of my band behind me.
“Don’t Mean Jack” is one of my favorite song soff the EP, for many reasons. But most of all, it’s really catchy and blunt. Like a direct F-you to someone who broke your heart, which really makes the song even more amazing! What inspires most of your songs and their quirky titles?
M: As far as the love songs it’s kind of self explanatory, the ones that have positive linings are the result of my boyfriend who inspires me so much and makes me really happy. Other songs I’ve drawn inspiration from crazy-ex boyfriends, the beach, tripping out, and just being a teenage girl in southern California.
You are a 90s kid, what are some of your favorite 90s bands and what cartoons were you addicted to as a child?
M: Bikini Kill, Hole, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera were my childhood heroes. I used to dance along to their music videos and pretend to be them. My favorite cartoons from the 90s were Hey Arnold, Ren and Stimpy, and Doug. It’s crazy how you can’t remember someone’s name you just met but you can remember all of these cartoons from your childhood.
R: Nirvana for sure! Pavement and Sonic Youth are rad too.
I noticed you have great taste in clothing. Name three pieces of clothing from your wardrobe that you are currently obsessed with? And who is your style icon?
M: My circle skirt from American Apparel is my favorite obsession. It is very versatile and goes with literally anything. For the summer I love wearing high-wasted shorts and crop tops are a must. My style icon would have to be Edie Sedgwick. Even though she dresses in simple things, she still stands out and is able to make a bold statement. She’s a fierce bitch.
I get from your merchandise and album art that Aquadolls is a very fun, vivacious and colorful band. Tie dye shirts and rad artwork! Were the designs and artwork all done by the band and what was your muse for these remarkable offbeat motifs ?
M: Most of the artwork were designed by our awesome fans. Ryan and I hand-make all of the tie-die shirts and cds. Our muse would have to be 60s psychedelia and just that summer of love feel good vibe.
If you could collaborate with another artist/band, who would it be and why?
M: GRIMES!!! Claire Bouche is a babe and musical genius, she is the future of pop.
I know you guys are based in L.A. but what are some of your favourite spots in NYC? And when will we see you here on tour?
R: I’m reading Just Kids by Patti Smith for the third time and each time I read it I long to go to New York because of the way Patti describes the city in the late 60s and early 70s. I daydream about what Hotel Chelsea would have been like running into all sorts of artists and poets, and going to Coney Island and Brooklyn. If I could I’d like to have a place in New York one day.
M: Central Park is my favorite spot in NYC. I went to New York for a trip when I was in 8th grade, and I remember visiting Central Park so clearly. People were gathered around the grass playing guitar and singing songs and it inspired me to want to connect music with being in the beautiful outdoors. Also, I don’t remember the exact name of the place, but I had the BEST pizza a few blocks from my hotel in Times Square. Hopefully we can tour out to New York next summer!
What is your dream tour called?
M: My dream tour would be called The Best Aqua Wavves Ever Tour! It’s a tour featuring The Aquadolls and two of my favorites, Best Coast and Wavves.
What do you guys mostly fight about?
M:We fight about who has the prettiest hair. I always win. *flips hair*
When are you going on a national tour?
M:Summer 2014 for sure!
What do you want to see happen to your band?
M: I want to go all the way. I want to play shows all over the world and get my music everywhere to people who want to hear it, and hopefully it makes them feel good. I just want to have the same effect that all of my favorite artists and musicians have had on me. Art has a life-changing effect and I want to be a part of it. This is my career and passion!!!
Any other things in life you want to pursue?
M: I want to travel with my guitar to Japan, eat pizza in Italy, take beautiful photos and just surround myself in things that make me happy.
What is next for The Aquadolls? Anything we have to look forward to, tours, new music etc? We are releasing our debut album Stoked On You on Burger Records this winter. 15 songs of angst, love, heartbreak, and aliens mixed with a ton of rock n’ roll, keep your eye out for it. We are touring the bay area this summer, playing in San Francisco, so that should be crazy. Because we have to wait for the album to drop and we are always jamming and creating, we definitely plan on releasing more music and videos, as well as pictures and fun things in the meantime.
Finally, last three questions: What place would define The Aquadolls? River’s End at Seal Beach What movie would portray The Aquadolls? A tie between Clueless and Mean Girls Food that would describe The Aquadolls? Pizza