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Dolly Dagger Settles into LA Life: If the internet made the world a much smaller place, the pandemic stretched it out a bit. The ability to speak to and see people all over the world and share art at the touch of a button is incredible, but when the option to travel is taken away and we’re stuck at home relying on Zoom or Facetime, it can all start to feel claustrophobic. Still, thank god for modern technology.

It’s because of these wonders that Australian, L.A.-based rocker Dolly Dagger is able to feel connected to both of her homes. She relocated to Southern California a few years ago and kept working with friends Down Under, but the onset of the pandemic convinced her to focus on a new project here.

It’s been a long journey; she started singing when she was six years old and really started to take her craft seriously in high school.

“I would play music all the time,” she says. “I’d get out of class to play music. I’d do anything I could to be in the band room. I guess when I left high school, I didn’t really focus on music and then I came back around to it as an adult. It was in my 20s, that’s when I wanted to really try and do this. Actively start treating it like a business and taking things seriously – moving to L.A.”

The stage name of Dolly Dagger was adopted in Australia. It is, of course, the name of a Jimi Hendrix song, and the budding artist grew up listening to Hendrix with her dad.

“He was very influential to me as a kid,” she says. “He’s passed on now and it’s something that I carry forever. The nickname Dolly came through my teens years when I was playing – a family friend dubbed me Dolly so that just became my name. I had a band name that I changed into Dolly Dagger, because more people remembered the Dolly element instead of the band name. I went with that, and the Dagger bit came naturally. It’s something that’s meaningful to me and sounds cool. I feel like I could live with it for a really long time. Obviously pointing back to Hendrix, it just goes full circle to me. My relationship with my dad, with Jimi, and where it all began.”

Alright then, Dolly Dagger it is. The name fits her, and her music. It’s a sweet/sour dichotomy, like Guns N’ Roses, My Chemical Romance or Bullet for my Valentine. Her music shifts gears between moods and vibes in a similar fashion. Dagger had a band in Australia but it didn’t work out.

“At that point in life, people wanted to start traveling with their boyfriends and girlfriends,” she says. “We’re out of high school and people wanted to do those things but I wanted to go for it so after that band didn’t work out, I left Australia and came to L.A., and started hanging out and being part of the scene.”

Dagger lived in the city of Melbourne, Australia. She says that both Melbourne and Los Angeles have great rock & roll scenes, though L.A. is bigger and breeds more opportunity.

“I’ve met so many Australian and just foreign people that have moved here to pursue music,” she says. “But it’s lovely how in this day and age we’re so connected even across all of our ponds. So that’s quite nice – I still feel connected to home and my career can live in either place. Both cities really harbor a lovely environment for artists to find their feet and build a community. It’s surprising to me how people in L.A. talk about Australian things, venues they’ve played or heard of. Or radio stations. It feels like a real sibling thing almost. They’re two very musical cities, and so I’ve been very lucky to live in both of them.”

Dagger describes her sound simply as “alternative rock.” Influences come from all over the place, but that’s a subgenre tag that seems to fit. Her latest single is the dark and caustic “Say What You Want,” which she says is about friendships falling apart.

“No sugar coating,” she says. “I think we as adults have a lot of relationships that people go through in terms of partners, but this is purely about a friendship that did not work out and burying that. Taking the time to let it go, that someone is trying to gaslight you and control you. Unfortunately, that can happen in friendships as well as relationships. So it’s just about that toxic environment and saying goodbye to it.”

The very DIY video has a horror movie theme, perfect for this time of year. 

“I took it to vote on Instagram Stories, funnily enough,” she says. “I didn’t really have a budget for this one, so I had to do something myself for free. ‘What can I shoot on my phone?’ My two thoughts were either a backyard party, or this kinda horror movie where I’m burying a body. People voted and they wanted horror. So I’m burying a body and getting into that metaphor of saying goodbye to a friend.”

Back in Australia, Halloween isn’t as big a deal as it is here in the States, so Dagger is determined to enjoy the holiday even if we can’t be full-on yet.

“I think we’ll have a low-key, vaxxed party in the backyard,” she says. “I did decorate the yard this year, feeling a little more relaxed now with everybody being vaxxed and taking the proper precautions. Hopefully, we can have a couple of friends over and watch Scream on the projector.”

To celebrate this BOLA Cannabis issue, we asked if and how she partakes.

“I use CBD vape but also I’m not a massive regular,” she says. “I only got into it this year but yeah I dabble!”

With the single out and Halloween done, Dagger is planning to release more music this year.

“We’re definitely going to keep doing singles,” she says. “There is another one – ‘Nightmare.’ That will be out hopefully for a nightmare before Christmas. We have a whole bunch of songs to put out next year as well, which we may put into an EP. We’re just feeling the waters out at the minute.”

Dolly Dagger Settles into LA Life: The “Say What You Want” single and video is out now.

LA Weekly