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Interview: Dorothy Martin of the Rock Band Dorothy

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by Linda Pecaj

Guess who’s back, back again? Last year they headlined at The Shelter, now Dorothy is opening for Greta Van Fleet at The Fillmore on May 22, 23, and 25. We interviewed lead singer Dorothy Martin last year, and we wanted more. So, this time around, we touched on the new album, 28 Days in the Valley, working with the living legend Linda Perry, and new collaborations!

HWID: Last time you were in Detroit, you performed at The Shelter and during your set you gave us some new music, “White Butterfly” and “Pretty When You’re High.” Is it nerve-racking playing songs the crowd hasn’t heard before?
Dorothy: No, it’s so fun because we’re playing songs we really love and we enjoy it. I think that energy is infectious. And you know, if they don’t like it that’s totally fine, that’s up to them, they’re entitled to their own opinion. With this new one, we wanted to take risks and be a little more abstract with the song writing. Linda Perry produced this album, which is amazing.

HWID: You can definitely feel the soul and passion in this album, was there a particular vibe or emotions you were trying to channel for 28 Days in the Valley?
Dorothy: This album is very personal. We did everything live together, you know, how rock and roll should be done. There are no samples, no fake drums, everything is live on this album. When real people play real instruments, it’s such a game changer.

HWID: How was the process of writing and recording the second album different from the first?
Dorothy: The first album was really written by me, Mark Jackson and Ian Scott in a room. A lot of the stuff was done digitally. For 28 Days in the Valley I started working with Linda and I felt I was able to express myself a little bit more. That’s not to take a jab at anybody; everyone has such different personalities, and different chemistry. I just felt like this was the direction I needed to go in. I felt really alive in the studio. Everyday I was really excited to go in and be there, I really wanted to push my songwriting further. But not too much, because we want to do more albums, and I want to continue peeling back layers of myself.

HWID: Do the other members of the band help out with the writing or is that mostly you and Linda?
Dorothy: Yeah, they did, it was pretty even across the board. I wouldn’t be able to write the lyrics without the music. Either I had an idea or Linda would start strumming guitar and I would start singing. That’s how “Flawless” was born. She was strumming and the words just came really fast.

HWID: At your show at The Shelter, you were very honest about your personal struggles. Is it difficult being so open in such a public setting?
Dorothy: It hasn’t been difficult, it sort of happened naturally. It happens in the moment and it’s given me a lot of relief. If there’s one thing that I learned from Linda, it’s that there’s a lot of power in being vulnerable, and it’s okay. By relating as a human being, you’re empowering your listeners and your fans. You’re also working out your issues through your art, so I’m really grateful to have that as an outlet, otherwise I wouldn’t know what to do.

Dorothy at The Shelter Detroit – 1.7.18

HWID: 28 Days in the Valley doesn’t feature any collaborations, is there a reason for that?
Dorothy: There are a couple collaborations actually; we just haven’t released them yet. And they’re going to be really exciting! This record is like a story, there’s this theme in this album of coming from a dark place and stepping out into the light and becoming free.

HWID: I saw you have a photo with fellow Roc Nation artist Vic Mensa on Instagram, is that a collaboration we might see in the future?
Dorothy: Absolutely, I’m a big fan of Vic. He touches on some serious topics and I relate to him a lot. He’s a really brilliant artist of this generation and everyone should listen to his album, The Autobiography. I got to see him open for Jay-Z on the 4:44 tour, he was great! I love his infusion of rock and roll into hip-hop. You can see the influence that he loves punk rock.

HWID: Had you heard about Greta Van Fleet before they asked you to join them on tour?
Dorothy: Oh, of course, they’re amazing! They have so many good songs and when I heard that they asked us to come out I was like, “Hell yes!” Their fans have been really great, really awesome and supportive.

HWID: You’ll be in Detroit May 22-25; will you have time to check out the city? what will you being doing?
Dorothy: We plan on writing some songs actually. I grabbed the guitar on the bus last night and started writing. Some of the guys are going back to see their families. I want to see what Detroit has to offer because I haven’t spent much time there, it’s mostly been in and out.

HWID: How does it feel being the only female on tour?
Dorothy: It feels really good, I just don’t really think about it, you know? I just feel like we’re all very connected. It’s not about gender, race or sexual orientation, I don’t ever look at it that way. I get asked that question a lot, and I think your limitations are what you put on yourself.

HWID: Describe your personal utopia.
Dorothy: It was look like what we’re doing now but with no anxiety, because I struggle with that sometimes. I don’t know if anyone would be happy in a utopia. If everything is perfect, then you’re not challenged, and you don’t grow. The struggles make you stronger. Perfect can be a state of mind and you can go in and out of it. I’ve learned to appreciate when I’m down because those are the things that make me human and let me relate to people. But yeah, just more cats, more pizza and less anxiety.

HWID: Late night or early morning?
Dorothy: Late night.

HWID: City or country-side?
Dorothy: Country-side.

HWID: Library or museum?
Dorothy: Museum.

HWID: Book or movie?
Dorothy: Book.

HWID: Reading or writing?
Dorothy: Writing.

HWID: Comedy or horror?
Dorothy: Umm, both…. but horror, if it’s like enchanted Halloween themed horror, but gory horror.

GET TICKETS TO SEE DOROTHY OPEN FOR GRETA VAN FLEET AT THE FILLMORE DETROIT ON MAY 22, 23, & 25!

Listen to 28 Days in the Valley

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