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Sister Telepathy: An Interview w/ Dog Party

by Kyla Rain

Gwendolyn and Lucy Giles, also known as the female punk duo, Dog Party, have been stealing the hearts of local music attendees left and right. Originally from Sacramento, California, these two possess a flawless and lively energy that envelopes every performance from the inside out. Call it what you will, but we’re pegging that special little spark as something more. Sister telepathy, anyone? 

We had the chance to talk with these ladies about their psychic connection, dog obsessions, politics, and (of course) new music.

dog party promo pic

Photo by Robin C. Eagan

Growing up, were you both interested in pursuing music as a career? 

Lucy: We were 9 and 11 years old when we started the band. At a young age, we were introduced to Rock ‘n’ Roll music and fell in love. I remember hearing the White Stripes “Doorbell” when I was 3 or 4 and I was hooked from there. Since I was so young, I never really thought of it as a career, I just wanted to do it. But as I’ve grown older, it’s definitely become something that I’m going to continue to pursue.

Gwendolyn: As a kid I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. For elementary school assignments I would write in “I want to be a rockstar,” but I didn’t think that was realistic. As the years went by, music has taken me all over the world and in front of audiences as large as 5,000 people. It’s crazy to think about how far music has taken me and how it all started from this early love. Before starting Dog Party as a 6th grader, I was already writing my own songs and performing in front of people. Since joining forces with my sister, playing and writing music has become all the more fun. I can’t wait to see where music takes me next.

Do you think that being sisters gives you guys a little advantage to other groups out there? A sibling connection?

L: Most definitely. I feel like we connect on a higher level. Playing together is effortless. There is no wondering what the other is thinking. We both know.

G: Yes! I am able to sing harmonies with Lucy on songs I don’t even know the words to. The whole sister telepathy is kinda creepy, but I love it!

Why the name Dog Party?

L: When I was young, I was really obsessed with dogs. I would study the dog encyclopedia cover to cover. So when we started the band, my 9 year old brain needed the word “dog” in the name.

G: With the strict criteria of having “dog” in the name (laughs) … I started listing off random pairings with “dog.” Dog Party stuck.

What are some things you two do together, other than music, that bring you closer?

L: We grew up playing various sports like soccer, ski racing, and cross country. When we have free time, we normally go out and do a fun activity. In the winter we always ski together which is great fun. Music is definitely my favorite thing to do with Gwennie. It’s pretty magical when it’s just us and an acoustic guitar. Harmonizing with her is the best!

G: Because we are going to school in different cities, it is harder to do stuff together,
unfortunately. We do keep connected through Snapchat and our family group text. I love school breaks because that’s when we are reunited. We are also reunited with our pug, Terrance. The three of us like to explore around Sacramento.

dog party record cover

Photo by Cecilia Rogue

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release, ‘Hit & Run?’ What’s your favorite track from the album? Can you tell us some stories that went into the making of this project?

L: We are both so so so excited about Hit & Run. I definitely feel like it is our best work so far. It’s so hard to pick just one song because I am literally just so excited about all of them! But I would say, from a writing perspective, “Operator” basically fell out of my mouth fully formed. I didn’t really have to think about what I was doing– It just happened. To me, those songs are always my favorite because they are so pure, natural, and meant to be. Recording the record was an absolute blast. We did it with Chris Woodhouse, who recorded our previous 3 records. Everyone was just so comfortable and in their element– we knew what we wanted. I feel like the tones are spot on to how we sound live and it just has a magical energy to it.

G: I love how much emotion is captured throughout Hit & Run. From the anger in “The Walk” to the sorrow in “Queen of Hearts”. During the process of writing the album, a lot of Lucy’s songs were written before I wrote mine. A funny “coincidence” occured after Lucy showed me a demo for a song that had the words “hit and run” in it (we ended up going with the name “I’d Like To Know”). Two days later I wrote a song called “Hit & Run” and enthusiastically showed it to her. Although she was kinda mad about the similarity, (she thought she was going to have to change the words to her song) we ended up seeing the brighter side of the similarity and named the whole album after the two songs.

What are you most excited about once it’s released? What do you hope people will take from it?

L: I am excited to see people’s reactions to Hit & Run. I feel like it will be very special for long-time fans who have watched us progress and get to where we are now. I think that people will easily relate to these songs– more than our past songs. To me, it is always so special when I hear a song and I can relate it to my life. I hope listeners will feel the same way about Hit & Run!

What is it like to watch yourselves and each other progress and grow as musicians?

L: It is pretty cool to see the progression of the band and us individually as musicians and songwriters. We have grown so much over the past 10 years. I feel like Hit & Run showcases years of hard work.

G: It is interesting to reflect how my high school self is different then my college self. Jumping all the way back to elementary school is an even bigger leap. I have done so much growing both physically and mentally from that point. Being able to take these changes to the stage has been quite the journey.

I know that you two are both huge inspirations for young girls looking to get into the music scene, what advice would you have for them? How can we amp up the badass female representation!

L: My biggest tip is to just do it. It doesn’t matter what other people say or think. It’s not about them– it’s about you and your dreams and ambitions. Don’t let other people hold you back or push you down.

G: Having a consistent routine to practice early on is essential. Lucy and I were lucky enough to be under the same roof which made practicing super convenient. Perspective is also important. You can look at practicing as a chore or an opportunity to have fun!

What do you think you would be doing now, if it weren’t music?

L: Haha! That’s really tough to say! We became involved with music at such a young age it’s really hard to imagine life without it! Maybe we would have gone further with our sports.

G: We are both in college right now, so without music we would still be students.

Lastly, let’s talk some politics. What do you guys think about everything that’s going on in office currently? If it were up to you, how would the world be run?

L: The White House is currently a mess. So many issues are occurring it is crazy. The wage gap between the rich and the poor is extremely high and is continuing to grow. I really think that needs to be addressed.

G: I am disappointed by the backward leaps this country has taken against sustainability and environmental preservation. Ideally, decisions made to run the world should based on the long-term rather than short-term, fiscally focused gains.

Hit & Run Tour

Dog Party’s latest album will be released on June 24th, so make sure to keep an eye out for that bad boy. I know everyone here at Pure Nowhere is anticipating that drop, and cannot wait to see what kind of magic Gwendolyn and Lucy have made for us this time. Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, best of luck on this release, and many more.

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