Dulcie release debut EP ‘Sake Of Sound’: “Who doesn’t want to learn more about what you love doing?”

The Perth four-piece on working with producer Joel Quartermain, how they hone their vocal melodies – and a possible punk pivot

Today, Perth four-piece Dulcie release their debut EP ‘Sake Of Sound’. It’s a long time coming – the band formed in 2019, and that year went about releasing a trio of angelic singles in ‘Fall’, ‘Own Ground’ and ‘Strangest Places’, setting the stage for their debut EP.

Before the pandemic hit, Dulcie were aiming to release ‘Sake Of Sound’ this time last year. Thankfully, the delay hasn’t stopped their momentum – if anything, it’s only given them extra time to refine ‘Sake Of Sound’ and create a project that showcases exceptional songwriting ability for a band in their very early twenties.

The band, made up of keyboardist/vocalist Ashleigh Carr-White, guitarist/vocalist Saskia Brittain, bassist/vocalist Timieka Denton and drummer Madison Hanley, exude positivity, which is palpable even over Zoom: they bounce off each other, often puncturing their insightful answers with raucous laughter.

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‘Sake Of Sound’ captures the band’s pop nous, each of the four tracks on the EP possessing an almost-hymnal quality, such is the quality of the vocal harmonies and instrumentation. The Dulcie sound mixes together elements of pop, rock, psych and more, and from the band’s jokes about a punk pivot, there may be more genre crossovers in their future yet. The band’s three vocalists, Ashleigh, Saskia and Timieka, all push each other to explore more of their respective vocal ranges. Expect Madison to join the trio on a song in the near future – they’re working on bringing her out of her shell, vocally.

Gathered in a hotel room while on tour with Tyne-James Organ, Dulcie spoke to NME about ‘Sake Of Sound’, living in WA, and what’s on the horizon for them.

‘Sake Of Sound’’s coming out in a few days – how are you all feeling about the release?

Madison Hanley: “We’re so excited.”

Saskia Brittain: “It’s been a long time coming so it’s like, let’s get it out.”

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Madison: “We started recording songs that are on ‘Sake Of Sound’ in late 2019, early 2020, and this EP was supposed to come out around this time last year, when the Ocean Alley tour was initially meant to be. But since then, with COVID and everything, we really struggled to get into the studio with [producer] Joel Quartermain, who we work with, because he’s based in Melbourne and we’re in Perth.

“It’s been a longer process getting the songs recorded and really… It was good for us to have that extra time to mull over some songs and get it really where we want it. And we’re kind of ahead of schedule now. So it’s quite exciting!”

Given the extra time spent working on the EP, how did you deal with the urge to stop tweaking things?

Ashleigh Carr-White: “I feel like a song is never ready. You can always change it and do more to it if you want to. You’ve got to get to a point of being happy where it is now and just sticking with it.”

Timieka Denton: “You’ve just got to let them get to the point where you’re happy and leave it there before you overdo it. You can always write new songs.”

Madison: “Let’s get experimental.”

Ashleigh: “Let’s go punk. [laughs] I’ve already painted my nails black!”

Is that the next step – a punk rock album?

Saskia: “We’ve all got leather jackets!”

“We’re just little babies with so much to learn”

I know that you’ve got a lot more music written – how does that differ from what’s on ‘Sake Of Sound’?

Timieka: “We’ve got so many songs and only five of them are recorded. We’ve got the next EP ready, but it’s like an itch. We just got so many good songs. We want to get them out because we’re going to be writing so many more! We’re still developing as artists, so we’re also adding things into songs that we wrote when we first got together.”

Saskia: “We’re just little babies with so much to learn.”

Do you really feel like ‘baby artists’, or is that just a label people like to apply to you? I think fans can have unfair expectations of artists to be fully formed from the get-go.

Madison: “Sometimes I feel like a baby.”

Saskia: “Even if we become huge, there will still be so much that we need to learn. And it’s a good thing. Who doesn’t want to learn more about what you love doing?”

Madison: “Touring is so good for that as well.”

Saskia: “I feel like you’re constantly learning on tour.”

Madison: “This tour with Tyne, his band is just incredible. Everyone really has a lot to offer. We’re really open to that because we’re pretty fresh.”

What was the experience of working with Joel Quartermain of Eskimo Joe on ‘Sake Of Sound’ like?

Madison: “I think we have a really good experience with Joel because he doesn’t really press his views and ideas onto us too much. It’s an open discussion. We go in there with fully formed songs. He smooths out some edges and helps us wind back sections that we might’ve gotten a bit carried away with instrumentally.”

Timieka: “In every song.”

Madison: “He just makes us think about the beauty of simplicity. That’s the main thing.”

Ashleigh: “He’s great at finding hooks.”

Madison: “Whether it’s something that we come up with in the studio, or whether it’s something that’s already in the song, he notices what’ll work as a hook. He’s like, ‘that’s so catchy, sing it every round, sing it every chorus’.”

Saskia: “Go hard or go home.”

Listening to your music, I feel like the harmonies always stand out. Have they come naturally, or was that something the band focused on early?

Saskia: “Growing up, Timieka and I used to sing together and always harmonise. In terms of this EP and the coming releases for the rest of the year, I think…”

Madison: “We’re really going to lean into the harmonisation. We started with them, and then got really caught up in learning how to play our instruments better, writing good songs and playing well. I think now, this record, and particularly the next few singles and the record that will come afterwards, we’re taking it really back to just having those harmonies really pop.”

WA’s music scene has gone from strength to strength recently, even with the events of the last 12 months. As a band, how have you navigated 2020 and 2021 so far, and how have recent events influenced your writing?

Saskia: “We’ve been super lucky over in WA. I feel like we never really had COVID.”

Timieka: “It’s been pretty easy breezy for us, so we haven’t been too impacted. When it comes to writing, we all have completely different music tastes when we listen to music, and the bands that we are influenced by are completely different. I think that’s what makes our music.”

Madison: “We all have a little bit of psych rock and pop and then old school rock and jazz and everything. We just mash it all together. We never really know what a song’s going to sound like at the end of it, but it always somehow sounds like Dulcie.”

Dulcie’s ‘Sake Of Sound’ is out now

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