Analogue Music | Dizzy


By Scott Elingburg

Dizzy hooked me after only four bars of music.

Album opener "Stars and Moons" is the kind of track that floats on air and swims around in your brain for days and days on end. The Canadian band's debut LP Baby Teeth is an confident, lush dive through eleven tracks of perfect dream pop. Surrounded by electronic drums, bass, guitar, and synth Katie Munshaw's delicately sharp vocals are buoyed by the sound that the Spencer brothers--Alex (guitar), Mackenzie (bass), & Charlie (drums)--help create.

Dizzy, however, sound like a fully-formed band with a direct sound that can be emotionally bare while also being quietly uplifting. We spoke to Katie Munshaw on album release day. The band didn't have much planned that evening but Munshaw seemed both relieved and happy to have Baby Teeth finally out in the world.

Analogue: How does it feel to turn this album loose on the world?

Katie: We’ve been waiting for a very long time. Most of the songs are almost three years old now. So, it feels really good.

Analogue: Any big plans tonight?

Katie: Tonight we’re playing an acoustic session at a Toronto record store. And then…I don’t know. Probably just head back home and have a couple drinks. (Laughs) Maybe play some cards. We’re pretty mellow people. (Laughs)

Analogue: Have you been working on the record solidly for three years or working on your music as a band for three years?

Katie: We started as a band about three or four years ago. Some of the songs on the record started being written about then. About two years ago we started recording and we recorded in Montreal with a producer named Damian Taylor. We finished recording around two years ago, so we’ve been sitting on it for the right time. Waiting for the right moment with the right team around us.

Analogue: Have you been moving forward working on other songs? That’s a long gestation time for an album.

Katie: Yeah, for sure. We’ve been touring a lot, writing a lot of new stuff as of recently. For a while after we had written Baby Teeth we took some time off for writing, to kind of live again—get the content that you need to write again. But it’s just starting to feel like we could do it again and we’ve got some new ideas burbling.

Analogue: Sounds like you all have known each other for a really long time but how did you come together as a band? Whose idea was it?

Katie: Charlie (drums) and I had a small duo, an acoustic band. But we wanted to explore a different route. I remember walking upstairs one day after Charlie and I had been jamming in the basement. Mack and Alex were upstairs and I said, “You guys want to try being a band?” And they were like, “Sure, we’re not doing anything.” (Laughs) So we went and jammed in the basement with them for a little while. I think we all knew pretty quick that we gelled really well together.

Analogue: Instant musical chemistry?

Yeah, the guys have always been playing together. Sometimes when we’re playing together they’ll go off on their own tangent; they can improvise together. They’re really good at gelling together. But at the beginning it was a lot of everyone throwing ideas at the wall and figuring out what stuck and what our sound was.

Analogue: Tell me if this is off the mark, but whenever bands get together, trying to figure out a sound can be one of the hardest parts of playing together. And it sounds like you all have a lot of different influences.

Katie: When we started, we had a lot more live drums and it was more of a folky vibe even when we were a band. When we started playing gigs we had to incorporate electronic drums into our set because our car was too small to carry around real drums to shows. We have a Chevy Sonic—it’s a really tiny car. But from there it kind of worked out because we were inspired by a lot of bands that were using electronic drums, synths, and sounds. Like Oh Wonder. So that worked out and it worked with the theme of the songs and the vocals.

Analogue: You felt a natural evolution from there?

Katie: Yeah, once we hit on it we just knew. We knew it felt good.

Dizzy - Baby Teeth
Dizzy - Baby Teeth

Analogue: You mentioned having to take time off to write. What does the writing process look like for you? Do you write as a band or do you go off on your own?

Katie: It’s different every time. A lot of the time Charlie will come to me with an idea—a beat, chords on a synth. If I’m inspired by it, I’ll write something to it on my own time. Other times, I’ll come with a lyric. It’s different every time we do it.

Analogue: Was there one song, a ‘lightning bolt moment' when you knew you were on to something?

Katie: I think we had that moment with a lot of the songs. One of my favorite moments making the record, was on the last day of tracking. We had pretty much recorded everything and were listening back to every song that we had done with Damien. When he played “Backstroke” my manager and I just started crying. It was a really surreal moment, it was really special to us. We were laughing-crying and it was very dramatic. (Laughs) It was a long time coming, as well. We had that song in demos for a while and hearing it in full was very special.

Analogue: Hearing the realization of what you’ve been working towards.

Katie: Exactly.

Analogue: Plenty of texture to this record though it doesn’t sound influenced in a direct way. You can put labels on the style of music but it doesn’t sound like you all picked up a specific influence. It sounds unique. But did you have musical influences—lyrical or otherwise?

Katie: For sure, yeah. We were listening to a lot of Frank Ocean, he had just come out with Blonde. James Blake had just released The Colour In Anything. Production-wise we were inspired by Oh Wonder, Glass Animals. Those are probably the biggest.

Analogue: Any influences that might be a little surprising?

Katie: I know that Alex and Charlie are big fans of Flying Lotus, Thundercat. The guys are into jazzy, hip-hop. Taylor McFerrin, he’s a great producer and DJ. We actually just met him at a festival we were playing and the guys freaked out. It was a special moment.

Analogue: That must have been a nice realization that the hard work you’ve put in has taken you somewhere.

Katie: Yeah, it’s pretty surreal sometimes.

Analogue: I don’t know much about Canada and I know even less about Oshawa, where you all are from. Can you tell me a bit about it and how, if at all, it affected your writing or your approach to music?

Katie: The guys always say that Oshawa kept them pretty bored, so there wasn’t much else to do besides pick up an instrument and play around with it. Keeping them bored inspired them a lot. My parents kept me pretty busy, they always had me in sport and theatre so I don’t know that I was super bored. So I’m not sure if I was inspired by boredom as much as they were.

Analogue: I grew up in small town, too, where no bands ever came to play so the only music you had was what you would hear about from someone else. And you would look for a sliver of culture that you heard about from someone else in a bigger city.

Katie: I can relate with bands not coming to your town, because Oshawa is about 45 minutes outside of Toronto. If you want to go see your favorite band you have to take the train. So you’re always wanting to go somewhere else. Maybe that has a lot to do with how I write.

Analogue: What do you all have coming up next? What’s your touring schedule like?

Katie: We’re playing a couple Canadian dates and then we’re heading off to the UK, Germany, as well. In October we’re headed through the States and then more Canada. Hopefully, lots more touring in the new year.

Analogue: How is touring life been so far? Hopefully you’re in a bigger car than the Chevy Sonic.

Katie: Yeah, we have a huge van now. We tour all by ourselves, the four of us. It can get a bit stressful but, like I said at the beginning, we all still gel really well. And we’re super mellow people so we know when each of us need space.

Analogue: That’s one of the most important parts of being in a band, I think; knowing when to have and give space.

Katie: Absolutely, because you can totally forget who you are when you’re constantly surrounded by three other people. You have to cater what you like—like to do, like to eat. When you get home, you remember, “Oh yeah! I can be in charge of myself.” (Laughs)