Singer Katie Munshaw speaks to Gigwise!
Melissa Darragh
17:20 7th August 2020

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Canadian whizz kids Dizzy first hit our radar back in 2018 with their gorgeous coming of age debut Baby Teeth. Since then, the pop dream team have gone from strength to strength, going on to win the Juno award for Alternative Album of the Year, and touring with the likes of Oh Wonder, Death Cab for Cutie, and fellow Canadians Tokyo Police Club. 

Now, the band are back with their mystifying sophomore album The Sun and Her Scorch. We caught up with frontwoman Katie Munshaw to discuss the new album, self-production, and life in lockdown. 

Gigwise: How would you describe your sound?

Katie Munshaw: Um, I always say we’re pop for emos! So it’s pretty classic pop, we’re not doing anything too left of centre, but I think the lyrics are pretty emotional in a way that is very emo. 

GW: How has your sound evolved since the first album?

KM: So, the first album was largely electronic. I think that we were really inspired by bands like London Grammar and Lorde’s first album, and Chvrches. For this new record we decided to produce ourselves, and we were just drawing from new inspirations, and we were listening to different things. More so bands that incorporated that electronic sound that we did have on the first album, but also mix that with live instruments like drums and strings and acoustic guitars, so bands like Bombay Bicycle Club, The National, and Phoebe Bridgers.

GW: What would you say the main themes are across the new album?

KM: For the first record I was largely kind of talking about being a teenager and growing up and sort of these anxieties of what it’s gonna be like to be an adult. This new record, The Sun And Her Scorch, is sort of the standpoint of, I am an adult now and I’m still growing up, I’m learning and I’m still growing up and I’m sort of focusing on themes like death and ageing and the relationships around my life that aren’t necessarily romantic, you know, friendships and family relationships and the way that they intertwine with my life.

GW: What was it like to self-produce the album?

KM: We decided before we even started writing the record that we wanted to challenge ourselves to produce it ourselves. It was a lot of fun, it was a lot of work! I think that we realised that when you have a producer and you add that sort of fifth member to your band, you sort of hand over a lot of the workload, which is great, but you also handover a lot of the creative control and, I think that the creative control was something that we didn’t want to compromise on this record. And, yeah, it was pretty easy, we just went to the studio and threw things at the wall, and sort of threw drum sounds and synth sounds and yeah it was a lot of fun and a lot of work. 

GW: Do you think you’ll do it again in the future?

KM: If you had asked me right after we finished, I would have said no because I was exhausted! But, I likened it in another interview to like giving birth - some new mum is gonna kick my ass for saying this - but you forget how hard it was and like yeah there’s no other way to do it! I think there’s a lot of value in having a producer and inviting somebody outside of the songs to put a spin on it maybe that you didn’t hear because I think that you can also get trapped in the songs really easily. I think I’d do it again, but I’m not opposed to working with a producer in the future.

GW: How has lockdown been for you guys?

KM: I mean at first it was pretty weird, we were on tour through Europe when everything started to hit the fan, so when we got home it was pretty odd, but I think we’re all adjusting now, I mean, in Canada you’re now allowed to see a select few people, so it’s not as intense now, but we’re hanging in there.

When everything started to happen, we had just finished our record about two months earlier, so we weren’t really in the headspace to write anyway. It was kind of nice to just be home and spend time with our families and just spend the time that would have been spent touring just with our families. But now we’re starting to collaborate again, and luckily, we can see each other.

GW: I heard that you guys got stranded in the UK for a bit?

KM: Yeah, you’re right! We were on tour with Oh Wonder when everything started to happen and we were supposed to stick around and do a music video that week for ‘The Magician’ in London. And yeah, it was kind of like, no, the country’s locking down, you need to get home now. It was pretty intense! And then we had to quarantine for two weeks, so that was really odd, just like being in my room and my mum would have to bring me food and stuff like that. Very odd, washing my dishes in like my bathroom sink and things like that.

GW: What was it like making the video for ‘The Magician' in isolation?

KM: It was very odd! I mean, I was pretty heartbroken because the original treatment for the video was really personal to the song and the meaning of the song. But, I think it turned out really good, the sort of isolation video. It is really bizarre, we set up like a big fitted sheet in my room and we just set up all my lamps around me and just filmed me dancing, and then our friend Artie did all the animation. He did a really great job and really made that video what it is.

GW: Have you guys taken up any weird hobbies over lockdown?

KM: Not me, but our drummer Charlie has! He bought a lathe, and he wood turns now, he makes bowls out of wood. Yeah, so I think that is probably the weirdest hobby that any of us could even think of probably, and he did it! I’ve just been sitting watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race. 

GW: Amazing! You guys did a live stream for Rough Trade ahead of the album release, what was that like?

KM: Oh, it was good, yeah. I mean, it’s weird playing those songs stripped back when we haven’t even played them live at all, like as a full band, but it’s good. I mean, those things are fun and keep us busy.

I definitely think that it’s a valuable platform that none of us were tapping into before, I know that when I first started doing the live streams I was really anxious about them, but now it’s like why wouldn’t I do that? Why wouldn’t I bring the fans along for like hanging out in my basement, or like maybe when we’re back on tour why wouldn’t we bring them along for more of the ride? I think it’s definitely a good tool to use.

GW: What does the rest of the summer look like for you guys?

KM: I think we’re gonna start writing again, and just start jamming and having fun and see where that goes, even if it’s not a record, even if it’s just a couple of songs that we like. Yeah, just not putting too much pressure on ourselves. We just literally wrote this record, we finished writing it at the top of this year so, just sort of taking it easy and writing when it feels right.

We’re either touring a lot or we’re starting to write again so I think this has been a really strange break in that I don’t really know what to do with my body. It’s weird to not be moving all the time and it’s definitely like an adjustment that I’ve had to make. We’re actually playing a drive-in show in September that I’m really excited about, so yeah, that’s something to look forward to!

GW: What have you been listening to?

KM: I mean, obviously that Phoebe Bridgers record is just so good. I mean that’s all I’ve been listening to. I love Christian Lee Hudson as well, his new record Beginners came out last month, and the lyrics are insanely good. Who else am I listening to? Samia, I think she’s from New York or something like that, but she’s got a new record out, she’s been putting out singles which I love. 

GW: What are you most looking forward to now that things are beginning to return to normal?

KM: I think just maybe seeing more of my friends, and shows I think would be the most obvious answer! Halloween I think, that needs to happen or else my year will absolutely be garbage. Yeah, I’m looking forward to Halloween hopefully being normal this year.

The Sun And Her Scorch is out now. 

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Photo: Pooneh Ghana