By Yising Kao 10.30.18.
Photos by Yising Kao: https://www.galaxy-mag.com/the-aquadolls
The Aquadolls are an amazing band now signed to their own record label, Aqua Babe Records, based in Southern California (woo girl power!!). I chatted with Melissa, Aquadolls’ founder, at Hallowpreme held at 1720™ in Los Angeles on October 25. Melissa (lead singer and writer) sits next to her bandmates, Keilah (keys), Jackie (drums), and Kate (guitar), and they’re all dressed in their Halloween costumes, dead prom queens, in white dresses with blood oozing everywhere. Their costumes are perfect for this fun Halloween concert with artists and bands such as Elijah Daniels, and they’re ready to perform. The Aquadolls just released their second album on October 28, called the dream and the deception, available on streaming platforms! Their preceding projects include their We Are Free EP in 2013, and their debut album Stoked On You in 2014. The Aquadolls have a unique “surf rock” and 80s vibe. In my interview with Melissa Brooks, she describes the production process behind the dream and the deception! *Interview has been edited for clarity.
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Yising: What inspired you to start writing music and how would you describe your songwriting style?
Melissa: I was kinda just born an just started singing ever since I was a child.
Y: Ever since the womb?
M: Honestly yeah! I started writing since I was 7. I wrote poems so I incorporate my poetry into my writing, and started the Aquadolls in 2012.
Y: What’s your songwriting process like? Do you tend to come up with the lyrics or
M: It’s kind of random, like I’ll have some lyrics in my phone notes and I also think of really great melodies in the shower, so I literally run out of the shower to record them (Melissa whips out her phone and shows me a recording with the shower water running in the background haha). It’s very sporadic!
How do you differentiate your music from other artists’ music?
M: I feel like with this new album coming out, it’s a mix of genres. There’s some grungy, pop, and electronic elements.
Y: You guys have a cool 80’s vibes.
M: Yes I love the 80’s, 60’s and all that. I pull from a lot of inspirations and kind of just do my own thing. My music is my therapy and I use it as an outlet for my depression and anxiety. With my lyrics, I create a diary entry and singing it on stage is a very vulnerable feeling, but at the same time it’s very freeing and empowering.
Y: You just dropped your new single in my pocket, which is a BOP! What was the inspiration behind that?
M: I’m not going to spill tea on who exactly it’s about, but it’s about a rocker I met at a show and we dated for two weeks. I knew he was going to be a fuckboy and it was going to end badly, but the night we met, I wrote this song because I knew I was going to develop these feelings so I just went with it and had to get my feelings out.
Y: Would you say you’re still experimenting with your style or was there a point where you knew what musical direction you wanted to take?
M: The new stuff is a lot more different than the older stuff, but I pull from all the genres I listen to like surf rock, mellow music, and trap. I love listening to Nightcore, especially right before I go to sleep, so the mix of genres is what this new album is versus Stoked on You is more surf rock album, Its very garage-y but I wanted to experience more with synths and I programmed all the drums.
Y: What do you hope listeners take from your music?
M: I hope they like it and stream it! I hope it makes them feel something and it insights some sort of feeling. I want to make someone think and react to it and if I get a reaction that’s dope; that means someone found the song and thought something. Hopefully, they take the lyrics and it makes them feel good and empowered.
Y: What would you like to say to your fans and what projects can we look forward to?
M: You’re not alone and don’t be afraid to reach out when you need help. We dropped a song every day leading up to our new album the dream and the deception with 19 songs, all self-produced. It’s a collection of songs I wrote over the past 5 years so its chronological order, so you can see the shift of me as a person. The dream and the deception starts out very happy. I was working with a bunch of people but it didn’t work out, and I had all these dreams of being a big Hollywood star and that’s what inspired the first half of the album. There’s this song called Perfect which references the Hollywood glamour but within all the glamour, it’s really dark and fucked up, and evil. The second half of the album is the deception, which is more about relationships and love, and heartbreak. And the other part of the album is just really sad.
Top song on your playlist right now:
M: Guap by Yaeji
Artist or band you'd be starstruck to meet or have already met:
M: I’ve met Triathalon but I’m so obsessed with them so I want to meet them again! I also love Pale Waves and if I met them I’d die.