The Rocket Dolls are one of the many new breed of British rock bands making people sit up and take notice. Their new album ‘DeaDHeaD’ is due for release April 6th. I caught up with vocalist/guitarist Nikki Smash to get the lowdown on the release.
How would you describe The Rocket Dolls to people who have yet to hear of you?
“We are heavily influenced from a lot of genres of music, and a lot of sub-genres of Rock and Metal. We jokingly describe ourselves as ‘Post Grunge Riff-Metal’, but we are contemporary with catchy sing-along anthemic parts, and we have dirty riffs and phat grooves to balance that out.”
How long did ‘DeaDHeaD’ take to record?
“It was recorded in sections due to budget, illness, and a band member change.”
Which song are you most proud of from the album?
“I’m incredibly proud of ‘The Last Thing On My Mind’. We really stretched our arms and legs on that one. Getting Nick Evans from Choppersauras to come in and create the amazing string section on that track as well as ‘Drowning’ was so inspiring. ‘DeaDHeaD’, our title, is one I love just through the construction of the song. It’s a step up in song writing for me.”
Is there a particular song that you love to play live, and why?
“She’s Starting Something Now’; I just love the riff. Someone said that it’s a riff that Mark Tremonti forgot to write, so I take that as a huge compliment. Also, when we play it, you see loads of people in the crowd giving you the riff face! Haha!!”
The Rocket Dolls have played with some pretty amazing bands, including Black Stone Cherry. How did this come about, and who has been your favourite band to play alongside?
“An incredible band! We were lucky enough to share the stage with them at Hard Rock Hell. Such a well-oiled group; we didn’t speak to them as they were getting harassed in the dinner hall back stage, but they seemed like lovely dudes!”
How do you all get on when you are on tour?
“We get on really well. We’re very laid back and don’t take ourselves too seriously, except when it comes to our music. We are a band of brothers.”
How do you write your songs? Is it down to one person, or do you all chip in?
“Well I initially come up with a riff, melody or part, and take it to the guys and we work on it together. I guess you could say I plant the seed and we all help it grow…. Did I just actually say that? Haha!!”
How does the music get formed to go alongside the lyrics?
“It all starts with melody. Melody is key! Then, after a while of playing the new song, the music and melody will make you feel or think a certain way, and then after getting a vibe, I go from there.”
How did you get to become a weather man on Meridan FM?
“Guy Bellamy (that legend that is…) asked me if I would do it. It’s tongue in cheek, but what great fun it is. Guy’s incredible for the music scene. Much respect.”
Which do you like more touring or recording?
“They both have their pros and cons. I love playing live, I love plugging in my guitar, turning it up, and killing it night after night… there is something truly special about playing live, especially when I have Benji and Joe with me. Recording is a different beast, but its where you get to be fully creative, and also experiment and stretch your legs with ideas that maybe you wouldn’t usually do. We are all tone freaks in The Rocket Dolls, and so it’s great to play with new gear and see what sounds you can create and get inspired by.”
What can people expect from ‘DeaDHeaD’?
“It’s a very dark record tonally, and it’s a very “wear my heart on my sleeve” collection of music, but I’m proud of that. The subjects within the record are influenced from deep depression and anxiety, so there is a message of hope in there. I hope we can inspire people to get through the hard times, because all three of us have certainly done that, but this album is also full of energy, melody and passion.”
What should people expect when they see The Rocket Dolls live?
“Three people that sound like 10! We are raw live, and a lot heavier. I think that’s down to our tones and passion for sounds, and live music. It’s a big sound a wall of sound full of clarity and passion!”
Where are you most excited about playing in 2018?
“There are a few honestly. We are going back to a few places we haven’t been able to get back to in a while! We love playing Scotland, and one of our favourites, Weymouth, but everyone at each show brings something unique, and it’s always special to see people who’ve taken the time to come the gig and play such an important part in our existence as The Rocket Dolls. We couldn’t be doing this without them. The fans are everything.”
‘DeaDHeaD’ is available for pre-order here.
The Rocket Dolls are on tour in April and during the summer:
6th April – SOUTHAMPTON, The Firehouse
7th April – WORTHING, Bar42
10th April – SHEFFIELD, West Street Live
11th April – NEWCASTLE, Trillians Rock Bar
12th April – EDINBURGH, Bannermans
13th April – GLOSSOP, The Globe
14th April – BIRMINGHAM, The Hammer & The Anvil
15th April – NORTHAMPTON, The King Billy Rock Bar
19th April – SWANSEA, Creature Sound
20th April – WEYMOUTH, Finns
21st April – LONDON, Dublin Castle
26th May – BRIGHTON, Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar
4th Aug – HASTINGS, Black Market VIP
June – WISTON, Wildfire Festival
Date tbc – MAIDSTONE, Ramblin’ Man Fair
Interviewer: Samantha Lamb