Chatting with The Aquadolls at Riot Fest ’23

Melissa, Kayla, & Jackie with some really cool merch!
Audrey and Aly from WLUW chatted with The Aquadolls at Riot Fest 2023. Check out the interview below!

Audrey: So I’m Audrey

Aly: and I am Aly

Audrey: and we are from 88.7 WLUW. Would y’all mind introducing yourselves?

Kayla: yeah, my name is Kayla and I play Bass

Melissa: Hi, I’m Melissa and I play guitar and sing

Jackie: I’m Dave Grohl [she’s holding a Dave Grohl mask…watch the video here] Just kidding, my name is Jackie and I play drums.

Audrey: Awesome. Alright, so we’ve got a few questions for you. The first one is how did you guys meet? We know that Melissa, you started The Aquadolls band a little bit earlier. And then you guys [Kayla and Jackie] joined in. So was it always a solo project for you? Or did you always want it to be a band?

Melissa: I always wanted it to be an all gal band. That was my original goal. It took a few years to get there. So I’m very grateful that I have Jackie and Kayla. It’s the best. I don’t want it any other way. And I’m very grateful. Yeah, we met just going to shows.

Kayla: Yeah, there’s this like hack on Instagram. You can see every single thing you’ve ever commented from the beginning of your Instagram account and I scrolled really deep, and I was commenting on Mel’s posts, like a psycho. I was like, “that’s a really good song, Melissa,” “That’s really cool,” and “I’m a really big fan Mel, I would love to win your album on vinyl.” One time, I also commented that my favorite song is “fool’s gold” by Ed Sheeran.

Melissa: I was just about to call you out. I posted in 2013 and I was like, What’s your favorite song…meaning like Aquadoll song? Kayla goes and comments some Ed Sheeran song.

Kayla: It’s true, I looked it up and I was like, I do not know why I did that. I guess I thought I was edgy. Because I listen to Ed Sheeran and that’s edgy.

Audrey: That’s where it started…Ed Sheeran

Kayla: Look at us now.

Audrey: alright, next up, where does the band name aquadolls come from?

Melissa: My old friend made it up. That’s the truth. And I thought it was cute. And I was like, Yeah, it kind of sounds like mermaids.

Audrey: adorable story.

Melissa: Actually, I went and I was digging through the sand. And I was using one of those metal detectors and It went *beep beep beep* and I started digging and digging and there was this message in a bottle. It was a little scroll and I unrolled it and it said “name your band The Aquadolls.” so that’s a lie. But that would have been cool.

Audrey: Just start saying that. We’ll help you cover everything. That’s what happened.

Jackie: scratch that first part

Audrey: yeah, don’t worry, we’ll cut that out [jokingly hehe]

next question, what is your favorite or craziest tour story? If you have one.

Kayla: favorite would probably be like the entire Incubus tour. Just because yeah, that whole tour was really cool. I don’t think anything like crazy happened. I mean, I would say shaky knees, that day in general, We did a festival, That was crazy. But we’re, I’m taking I feel like they might have more crazy stories. I sit in green rooms and I sleep.

Melissa: That one time Jackie ran around the Holiday Inn naked. Yeah, that was great. That was like 2019.

Kayla: And I was sleeping during that.

Jackie: Yeah that was awesome.

Audrey: Hey, that’s a good crazy story and you definitely have one. Alright, the last question I will ask you before handing it off to Aly here, is what was your kind of awakening in the music world where you were like, okay, yeah, this is what I want to do. Like this is the path I’m taking.

Jackie: Dave Grohl.

Kayla: Which is actually so real for her. But I did like an all girls like queer rock’n’roll camp when I was like 15 and we formed a band. You chose instruments. You wrote a song and then you played the song at the camp thing. And I think like midway during the week, we had some person come and talk. It was like about positivity and pride and she was talking about fat musicians. And I think that’s when it clicked for me like Oh, I can be on the stage like, I don’t know, like she was showing like Gossip and like, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and like really, really cool plus size musicians that I had never really seen. And I think that was when I was like, oh my god, like I can do this and like be successful.

Melissa: That’s awesome. Mine was Britney Spears in first grade. That was like the first poster I had on my on my door was her and then my first cassette was oops, I didn’t again album. And I my parents would buy me all the VHS tapes of her performances. And I would just like stand up on my TV, like doing the dances and like singing along. And then shortly after, they put me in musical theater and acting and stuff. So it’s kind of just always been in me, but I’ve always I’ve been writing since I was seven. Just kind of always been with me if I was wanting to rock.

Audrey: Yeah, I think I saw on your website that you also mentioned something about Lady Gaga and that

Melissa: Oh, yeah. Big thing. Yes. We are a little monsters in this band.

Aly: Alright, So I know you’re just talking about your inspiration and awakenings into the music world. Have those shifted throughout your career at all? Like have you noticed once you got a little bit more professional with it that inspirations kind of shifted?

Melissa: I feel like that old inspo never leaves, but now we have more to add to the list. Yeah, for sure

Kayla: yeah for sure, more to pick from now. Honestly, like you put a plus size musician in front of me, you know someone who’s like, kind of has that strength and that power to like, get up on stage in front of people, I will be obsessed. Shout out to all my fat baddies that are in the music industry. My favorite person is Shannon Shaw from Shannon and the clams. if you guys are feeling like, ‘I feel like I’ve seen this’ [talking about herself]. I stole it from her. I ripped her off because I love her. And I want to be her. She has a powerful voice and a powerful body and she doesn’t let anything limit her. And she’s gone through a lot. So yeah, any plus size musicians. I really, really, really, really admire because it’s hard. It’s hard because, as a musician, you get the comments and then imagine being fat on top of it. Oh, oh.

Aly: So with your latest album, what’s your writing process? Like? And I know, Melissa, like you started out kind of solo. How has your writing process shifted since being a band.

Melissa: We kind of just make demos. To be real, like our Charmed album that we did last year was kind of a collection of songs that we had written over like a three year period, I want to say, starting way back in like 2019. It all kind of depends on each song. Some of it could start with the guitar loop. And then we add lyrics to it. So “Cut Throat” was one of your old tunes [talking to Jackie]. And then we just jam and kind of see what sounds good or in the studio we literally are just doing stuff on the spot and writing like literally in the studio, like on the spot being like, Okay, what should we do?

Kayla: We’re like, what rhymes with this? Mel goes ‘give me…I want to taste…give me flavor. Give me a color. She goes, I want to feel it like.’ She like does this a lot with her hand [again, you can watch the video here] And I love that because it actually does help because then I’m like, Okay, where am I? Where are we? So Mel’s really good at getting the juice out of people.

Melissa: I’m creating the fantasy.

Aly: Do you guys have like a certain kind of feeling you’re ever trying to convey in your music where you’re like, Yes, this is Aqua dolls. This is what we want to sound like.

Kayla: dream

Melissa: A sense of comfort and community. Feeling like, you’re not alone in the situation, whether it’s a silly song or something a little more serious. Knowing that there are so many people that are probably going through a similar situation. Yeah, and that you’re not alone.

Kayla: Something familiar, but something still fresh where you don’t feel like you’re like, Oh, I’ve heard this before. Familiar in a way that you would want to go back and not an “ugh this again” type of way.

Aly: Do you do anything in your live performances to kind of bring that feeling alive, like anything extra?

Kayla: I feel like fashion is a big thing, like the way that we dress like, it kind of gives us story. So, fashion. Also, the way we interact with each other.

Jackie: Attitude. Gratitude.

Kayla: I feel like fashion is a really big thing and like the attitude that we have. Sometimes, if you’re in a bad mood, and you just literally bang it out on the drums as you like. It really helps and I feel like people can feed off of that and it creates a really cool dynamic between the crowd and the fans. Where like, we feed off of them going crazy. So then we start going crazy. So it ends up being a better show. Because it’s able to like bounce the heat back and forth.

Aly: To finish off the interview. We have a few rapid fire questions for you just like some fun things.

What’s a song you have on repeat right now?

Kayla: Jake, what’s the song the song that I’ve been listening to by Olivia Rodrigo? The one that’s like, ‘I want to get him back.’ “Get Him Back!” by Olivia Rodrigo. That songs everything to me it’s stuck in my head all the time.

Melissa: The first thing that came to my head was “Bunny is a Rider” by Caroline Polachek. It was playing as the airplane landed yesterday. It’s such a good song and I love her. she’s an incredible vocalist and great live.

Jackie: I think mine right now is “My Little White Pony” by Horsegirl. I’ve been really obsessed.

Aly: If you could collab with any artists, Would it be?

Everyone: Sexyy Red

Melissa: Please drop a bar on any of our songs. We’ll do a charmed remix album just for you.

Kalya: Because she did “skeeyee” with that guy on the ukulele so we could do like a RICO nasty style punk-rock ass-shaking anthem.

Melissa: I would love to be a backing band for like a rap artist.

Jackie: Like we could just go around to different artists…like a hopper.

Kayla: Homie Hoppers in the Music Industry.

Aly: What’s one venue, if you have one, that’s on your bucket list to perform at?

Jackie & Kayla: Red Rocks.

Melissa: Madison Square Garden.

Aly: If your music was the soundtrack to one movie, what would that be?

Kayla: Well, now, it would be bottoms. Anything in that cinematic universe, Rachel, I love you. booksmart Yeah. Those movies. I just think they’re really funny. And I feel like we could conjure something up.

Aly: Okay, to finish it off. If you guys are into astrology, Can we know your big three? Do you know your big three?

Kayla: okay so mine, I’m a Scorpio sun, Sagittarius moon, and Libra rising. Mel is an Aries sun, Sagittarius rising, and Taurus moon.

Jackie: I am a Sagittarius sun, a Virgo rising, and a Pisces moon.

Aly: Well thank you guys so much for talking with us!

Check out The Aquadolls on Instagram and on Spotify below!!

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