We having a lovers’ quarrel with Google. Why? Because for reasons unknown the interview with Sheffield`s mighty MOLLYANNA was directed into a spam folder where it stayed for few good weeks before we finally realised. This post should have been online in September! Sometimes, there is little we can do to avoid technology being annoying. So big apologies to the band.
Don’t you worry, Google will be punished accordingly (we now see our emails via Outlook) and you dear readers can finally enjoy the wonderful interview with Bernadette Dales – singer and front woman of the band.
We spoke about their upcoming album “Archaeology”, their inspirations, writing process and who they would like to record with. Read on.
Bernadette Dales (vox)
Mike Hukins (guitar)
Josh Roberts (bass)
Laura Moakes (drums)
Beauty can emerge from the most chaotic places – this is something singer Bernadette Dales and guitarist Mike Hukins know very well. During their decade long friendship they have stitched together their disparate and contradictory influences to form rock music that is at once wild, vulnerable and volatile. Their opposition is a clear influence in their latest collection of songs, which deal with nostalgia, destruction, and the hardest kinds of relationship.
MOLLYANNA have spent most of 2019 in the studio. Their new album “Archaeology” is about the year singer Bernadette spent in therapy dealing with the after-effects of abuse. “In my first session, my therapist warned me that it would feel worse before it started to feel better, and sure enough, for a while it felt like Pandora’s box had opened in my brain and all these demons had spilled out onto my brain. The songs on Archaeology are my attempt at dealing with each one.” In May 2019 the band launched their first ever crowdfunding campaign to help them cover the costs of making the record. Fans jumped at the chance to pre-order the record, as well as many other unique and limited edition items – smashing the band’s initial target in just three days. The campaign’s success was down to the raw and honest way MOLLYANNA told their story. MOLLYANNA are proof that beauty can emerge from the most chaotic of places, which is something singer Bernadette and guitarist Mike know very well. During their friendship, they have stitched together their contradictory influences to create alternative music that is deep, dark and wild. The pair began MOLLYANNA as a duo in 2016, but since then, with the help of bassist Joshua Roberts and drummer Laura Moakes, they have grown into an alt-rock band unlike any other. Their music is for the outsiders – those on the fringes with a story to tell.
MOLLYANNA is one of the leading alternative bands in Sheffield area. Their first EP “Ghosts” came out in 2016 and quickly caught attention of gig goers and local radio DJs. Their singles “Louder” and “Thief” established band`s position as a must see indie act. They have been consistently championed by BBC Introducing Sheffield and recently were even invited to the studio to play an acoustic session for the Beeb. No wonder the excitement for their new record is building. The band`s front woman Bernadette Dales is eloquent and speaks in details. Not always we have such a pleasure to interview artists who will patiently answer all the tricky questions we throw at them. It was such a pleasure to hear all the facts and stories from the studio. This is what we found out ahead of the record release:
Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria.
Bernadette Dales: Hey, I’m Bernadette and I’m the front-person of alt-rock band MOLLYANNA
Where are you based and who is in the band?
Bernadette Dales: We’re from Sheffield (UK), and we have Laura on drums, Josh on bass, Mike on guitar and I make mouth noise at the front.
Tell us something about the project – are there any goals that you managed to achieve to date?
Bernadette Dales: We’re about to release our 7-track record on November 1, which we’re pretty excited about. Earlier this year we launched a pre-order campaign to help us fund the recording, and we reached the target in just three days! That was surreal. We ended up reaching 208% overall over the month. 4 of the tracks have been produced by Mark Mynett of Kill II This, and then there are three live tracks too, produced by Nathan Bailey and Mike Hukins himself. It’s a really ambitious record, with orchestral strings, percussion, animated and live action music videos. This year has been so busy but so much fun. I can’t wait to show everyone what we’ve been up to behind the scenes.
What inspires you? What artists or genres had the biggest influence on you?
Bernadette Dales: The obvious influence would be Incubus, I guess! A lot of people ask where our name came from and it’s from their track “Anna Molly”. They were definitely the biggest influence on me growing up and deciding what musical direction we should go in. I think that’s really clear in songs like “Playing Dead”, which came out on October 4. I also love artists like Alanis Morrissette, and the lyrical genius of hip-hop artists like Lauryn Hill. Mike has some very different influences to me, he’s very much into his proggy, math rock stuff. During this album, he was listening to a lot of Porcupine Tree and Plini.
It’ all about the music – and we want to hear your tunes and how they have been written.
Bernadette Dales: We have a few tracks out already on streaming platforms, and there’s more coming out very soon! I think the best way to describe how Mike and I make music would be “fragmented”. It’s like we each come up with different jigsaw pieces and then meet up and try to fit them together to make a complete picture. Except there’s no box to work from. And some of the pieces are from a different puzzle. Does that make sense? I think this analogy might have fallen apart. Sometimes Mike starts with a riff or chord progression and I’ll fit something over it and send it back, other times I’ll have a tune or some lyrics stuck in my head and I’ll send it to him to see if he can make sense of it. Once all the parts are there we go over it with the whole band to polish it and make it cohesive.
Name your best song. Is there a story behind it?
Bernadette Dales: This is hard, because I know everyone in the band has a different idea of what the best song is! I think mine would be Archaeology, which is also the name of the album. It’s about the year I spent in therapy dealing with the after-effects of abuse. In my first session, my therapist warned me that it would feel worse before it started to feel better, and sure enough, for a while it felt like Pandora’s box had opened in my brain and all these demons had spilled out onto my brain. The track “Archaeology” is about that process of therapy and digging up the past.
How do you create your unique sound? What gear are you using?
Bernadette Dales: I think the uniqueness of our sound ultimately comes from the melting pot of ideas we have. Mike and I are the main songwriters and our influences are quite drastically different a lot of the time. When they merge together we manage to make some really cool stuff – it’s almost prog rock. As a vocalist, I like to bring out the different colours in my voice – I’m not afraid to sound ugly or creepy. There’s some weird whispered backing vocals in our next single to look out for.
In terms of gear, we’re not really a tech band to be honest. Mike has the usual guitar distortion/delay pedals, Josh has a 5-string bass to get the extra beefy riffs in and Laura is sponsored by Meinl for her kit. I just show up and sing.
Are you touring? Where can we see you play live?
Bernadette Dales: We have a few dates in the diary for Autumn, and we’re hoping to get a proper tour together for early 2020 (follow us on the socials for updates on that!). Our next gig is November 1 at Record Junkee in Sheffield, which is also our album launch show. We have tickets available on our website, so please come! After that we have Leeds on December 4, Chesterfield on December 7, and Whitchurch on December 14. All the details are on our website.
If any bookers or promoters want to get in touch – what is the best way to contact you?
Bernadette Dales: They can get in touch over at www.facebook.com/mollyannaband or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Imagine you can record an album with any producer, dead or alive in a studio of your choice. Who would be on your record?
Bernadette Dales: (laughing) Tupac!
The sleeve to “Playing Dead” single.
“Archaeology” will come out on November 1st 2019 and is promoted by two singles: “Bleach” and “Playing Dead”. The band is often described as “alternative rock” but you will find MOLLYANNA to be so much more than your average “female – fronted” rock act. For starters Bernadette`s voice range is absolutely incredible – from a whisper and delicate, nearly ethereal vocals to proper screams. The band is not far behind her with powerful riffs ranging from psychedelia to grunge and match rock. There is something in MOLLYANNA that reminds us of Soeur, or to aim much higher – of Veruca Salt and ExHex. There are melodic lines that could make Sleater Kinney jealous and lyrics that would make Mary Timony or Kristin Hersh proud.
If not this record, then the next will take MOLLYANNA from your local venues to Maida Vale for a session. If we don’t hear them on BBC 1 Rock Show in the new year we will eat a bowl of hot chilli sauce. It’s a promise.
Actually, we will do what Daniel P. Carter once said on air: hey labels– sign this band. You can thank us later.
You can follow Mollyanna on their socials at:
That`s all from us read readers. As usual – if you dig the music, go and see the band or support them in any way you can.
We will be back with more bangers.