Badass Babes: Dreadlight on Music, Mental Health, and Moving Up

dreadlight

An interview with hard-rock duo Dreadlight

If there’s one word to describe Dreadlight it would have to be badass. Since competing in Sound Off! last year the girl band has been making big moves; they released a kickass music video for their song Grenadine, have been playing regularly around Portland, and have a series of new releases lined up. I sat down with Kandra and Toria of Dreadlight to talk about the newest release: their EP DUSK which came out July 27th.

dreadlight

How do you think your sound has evolved from the last EP to this one?

Kandra: I think we kind of intentionally made them have their own vibe and feeling. The first one, we described it as “chaotic and dark and twisted” and this one is a lot more light, I think lighthearted and almost a little more pop-y, although I hesitate the say the word pop-y.

Toria: But it’s definitely still our sound.

Kandra: Yeah a little faster, a little, it almost has a naïve. teenage vibe to it I feel.

Toria: Yeah, hard to put it into words.

“This one is a lot more light, I think lighthearted and almost a little more pop-y, although I hesitate the say the word pop-y.”

 

Who would you say were the musical influences behind this? Because when I was listening to Grenadine, I definitely got the vibe of 90s grunge bands, I don’t know if you guys listen to those at all…

Kandra: Yeah, totally, we’ve heard that before. I mean, the first thing that pops to my mind is Paramore. I think especially with two of the songs on there, they’re very Paramore-influenced.

Toria: There’s some kind of more classic rock vibes, but not. Third Eye Blind, one song really reminds me of them. Yeah, just more pop-punk I guess and 90s alternative, the other side of 90s alternative that isn’t grunge.

I read this record was more about mental health, can you talk a bit about that?

Kandra: Yeah, I think all of them, we’re trying to tell a story between all three of these EPs and I think this one is kind of focusing on thinking things are great but you’re not really facing the problem, you’re just putting on a mask or trying not to think about it. So, everything is great, but it’s not, it’s a façade. That’s kind of the theme of this one when it comes to mental health I’d say.

“I think this one is kind of focusing on thinking things are great but you’re not really facing the problem, you’re just putting on a mask or trying not to think about it.”

Do you use music as an emotional outlet? Like when you’re feeling sad?

Kandra: Totally, that’s when I do my best writing I’d say. You get to a point where—sometimes with me, I mean, I’m such a perfectionist, so if I say, “I want to create a song today,” I’ll sit there and be like, “what should I write? Is this good? Is this not good?” but if I’m like, “man this thing is hurting me so much” or “I can’t get this out of my head” I can just sit there with a guitar and it all pours out of me. But if I’m really just trying to write a song, it’s not going to happen.

dreadlight

Do you think music is good for your mental health or do you think it’s bad since I feel like there’s a lot of frustrating things you encounter as a musician too?

Kandra: I mean, there are a lot of frustrating things. I think what I struggle with is I get stuck because there’s a lot that I don’t know and when a lot of your work depends on other people or you have to wait this amount of time to get an order in, and everything that happens online, it can get a little frustrating and you can feel like you’re not making a lot of progress and that can be frustrating. But, you know, it’s definitely not detrimental and it’s all so worth it.

Toria: And I’d say from a less business-y side, sense is such an emotional thing. Like, I’m constantly relying on myself to be able to feel my art and that can be draining, that can be frustrating if I feel like I’m in a writer’s block. I’m like, “this is what my ideal future relies on! Why can’t I write something good right now?” or “why can’t I write something unexpected? These same 4 chords keep coming into my head!” and that can be really frustrating too since it’s something so intangible, it’s not like I have to do some specific task, its progress is hard to track so it can be frustrating in that way and that can be discouraging at times.

“I’m constantly relying on myself to be able to feel my art and that can be draining, that can be frustrating if I feel like I’m in a writer’s block.”

Anything you’ve learned from the last release you’re taking into account this time around?

Kandra: I guess, expect very few press people to get back to you and don’t be surprised when they don’t open your emails.

Toria: Yeah, contacting press has been the thing a lot of us are trying to figure out.

Kandra: Yeah, press is hard.

dreadlight

Do you guys have any favorite venues around Portland?

Kandra: The first thing that comes into my mind is the Twilight Café, it’s a bar and I feel like we’ve played a lot of bar shows but it’s the best bar we’ve played at. The sound guy really knows what he’s doing, the stage is cool, just good people and it’s always a fun show there.

Toria: I like the Hawthorne Theatre too since I feel like most of our successful shows have been there. But I think my all-time favorite show has always been the Pride Fest. Such a great, great crowd.

Kandra: Yeah, I guess I don’t even really think of it as a show, just this party we did. Yeah, Pride is probably my favorite too; everyone is just there to have a great time and celebrate love and there’s just so much positivity all around.

Lastly, have you guys added a drummer yet?

We hired a studio drummer to do the drum work on all the music releasing this year and he really dug our sound and we’re used his tracks when we performed at Sound Off! But he’s been performing with us at all our shows this year so he’s pretty much a member of the band I’d say, but, you know, we’re still the core and the face of it but he’s our guy.

DUSK is out now! You can stream it now on iTunes and Apple Music


Also published on Medium.