Rock band Dorothy, founded in 2014 and signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label, is currently touring their debut album Rockisdead across the country. We caught up with Dorothy Martin, the band’s lead singer and namesake, backstage at their tour stop in St. Louis to chat about the band, their tour and how the hell the rock band landed on a hip-hop label.
How did Dorothy come together?
The band was originally my producers and I. We started writing together and we were like, ‘This is great, we should put a real band together.’ We really started developing at the very end of 2014.
How’d the Roc Nation deal come together? It seems like such an odd fit.
My manager actually made that connection. He had a meeting with Jay Brown (Not to be confused with Jay-Z). We had just shot a music video, kind of DIY. We did it at a rehearsal studio. It was cool and grungy looking.
Jay Brown liked it, and then offered me a publishing deal. He liked the song ‘After Midnight.’ Actually, he was searching for music for Rihanna, who he also manages.
Yeah, I got a publishing and record deal. I still do some writing. It’s a nice release for me.
Do you intentionally write for other people or do you just figure it out as the song comes together?
Both. If we write a song that doesn’t necessarily work for our album, I could always turn it over to Roc Nation and say, ‘Who do you think would sound good on this?’
So it’s a really natural relationship?
Yeah. It’s a really artist-driven company. Jay Brown didn’t want to change anything. I’m not going to name labels, but there’s some like, ‘First of all, like, you gotta lose 10 pounds, or cut your hair, or change your sound, or do something that’s not you.’
I can always tell when someone’s not being genuine. I feel very uncomfortable if I’m not being genuine. I really lean on and rely on the band. We all support each other, so that chemistry feels very real and we bonded that way.
Yeah, for about two and a half years. Our first tour was with Miguel, and then we went out with Halestorm a few times, and The Struts. Now we’re doing our headliner.
With all of that touring, when did you have time to work on the album?
We had written a majority of the album. It was sitting there, marinating, figuring out what we were going to do with it, how we were going to finish up the songs, if this song was going to go on the record, or that song. We took our time.
What is your favorite track from the current album?
Blue Roses, which is not finished all the way. Jay-Z loves it, so I think it’s going to do really well.
Female fronted rock bands are so few and far between. Do you get frustrated by any comparisons?
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. We get compared to any female fronted rock band, even though we don’t sound anything like them. They’re awesome but I think that the esthetic of the band might be influencing that. I don’t really know who we sound like. I try not to sound like anybody.
DJ Black is one of the best guitar players I’ve seen live, and I got goose bumps the first time I saw him perform. Gregg brings a lot of aggressive, combustive energy. Dylan is just like a super human, but he also has a lot of feel. Everyone’s super positive, silly and fun. They love what they do, and they’re super talented musicians. They all bring a LOT of hair.
A lot of hair? That’s saying something coming from a girl with great hair herself.
They have so much hair, and I get jealous. I’m like, ‘Why won’t mine grow past my shoulders?’
You forgot to mention Jenkins.
Jenkins the Cat! It makes no sense. It’s a ceramic cat that sits by the drum kit. We should just turn our stage set into a living room and have like cool rugs and an old lamp. Maybe a fake fireplace off to the side? Jenkins would fit right in.
They’re soulless and dead. He stares at you.
What’s your dream gig to play?
Selling out the O2 Arena, Wembley or Madison Square. Any of the big ones.
Featuring any special guest, who would it be?
AC/DC or Journey, or one of the legendary classic rock bands. I think we’d fit in well with them. I’d like to do a duet with Jack White. I love the White Stripes. That was my high school years.
In a year from now, where would you like Dorothy to be?
The biggest rock band in the world.
What would the benchmark for that moment for you be?
Selling out the O2.
For more on Dorothy, visit itsdorothysucka.com. Their debut album, Rockisdead, is available now. V
by Jimmy No Show