1. What have you been listening to lately?
Melissa: Coleman.x, Strgurrl, CHYL, Aespa, Chase Icon, and Padam Padam by Kylie Minogue have been on repeat for me! In fact, here’s a playlist for you! https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7E42IPaStQm4R8MnW8u5nN?si=f5bf558ed47f4202
Jackie: A lot of Annie Lennox, her Diva album in particular. Melissa got me into Fred Again so I’ve been getting into some house music lately which is fun! I love 070 Shake right now too!
2. Who would win in a fight? A Garfield (the cat) sized Bill Murray, or a Bill Murray sized Garfield (the cat)?
Melissa: Easy! Definitely a Bill Murray sized Garfield.
Jackie: Neither. I don’t think they would want to fight honestly. I think they’d want to watch a docuseries while eating tv dinners together or just nap.
3. How do I get signed to Aqua Babe Records? (I don’t have a band)
Melissa: I throw all of my collabs on here, so let’s make something sick and get it going haha!
4. If we were to start a side project together, what would our band be called?
Melissa: The Bimbo Brainz
Jackie: Aqua X
5. What is something you’re currently looking forward to?
Melissa: I’m looking forward to all of our shows we have planned this year! We’ll be supporting Save Ferris for two dates at the end of July, then we have a mini autumn festival season performing at Riot Fest and Ohana Fest!
Jackie: Definitely looking forward to Ohana Fest because the reason I’m here playing drums today is Dave Grohl. Hi my name is Jacqueline and I’m a Foo Head.
6. If you could play a show at any fictional location, where would you play?
Melissa: Spooky Island with the Scooby Doo squad and Sugar Ray.
Jackie: Honestly yeah, Spooky Island would be insane! Might have to go with that one too.
7. What are the chances of me joining the band? I can’t sing or play any instruments, but I’ll drive the van everywhere and load and unload all the heavy stuff.
Melissa: Come be a roadie! We’ll squeeze ya in the van between the merch LOL!
8. What conspiracy theory are you convinced is true?
Melissa: Aliens are very much here with us, but that’s not a conspiracy, that’s factual!
9. When I was in kindergarten I punched a kid because he said his dad could beat up my dad. What is something dumb you got in trouble for as a kid?
Melissa: I punched my middle school bully for making fun of my hot pink Tripp pants from Hot Topic. For context, she had been bullying me for two years, and she would always make fun of my colorful scene kid attire. One day, she took it too far and was doing her usual calling-me-names, but I noticed she was wearing the same pink pants that she had made fun of me for a month prior! The audacity she had. I saw red, punched her in the nose, felt hands grabbing my back (it was the lunch aides) who dragged me to the principal’s office. I was suspended for the day. My parents picked me up from school, took me to get ice cream, and I watched Spongebob the rest of the day because they were proud I stood up for myself. PS, violence is NEVER the answer! This was the only time in my life I got physical lol. I think I was 13!
10. Any local bands or bands that you’d like to highlight or that you feel deserve more attention?
Melissa: Pinksqueeze, an incredible band based in Chicago, has a new record called “Be Gay Have Fun” and I highly recommend it! My favorite tracks are “WTF Is Bubblegrunge”, “Summer In Chicago” and “Holy Critter”.
The last time we talked was back in late 2019 / early 2020! I know you've been working hard since then, releasing singles, EPs, and going on tour. Normally I would ask about what you’ve been up to since then, BUT it’s been so long. SO my question for you is have you picked up any new interests or hobbies since then?
Melissa:Between touring, I’ve been DJing, which is so fun!
Your debut album “Stoked On You” turns 10 years old this year! Looking back, what have these past 10 years been like?
Melissa: It feels like a blur and it’s scary but awesome that it’s been a decade since the first record came out. I really feel like The Aquadolls were rebirthed when Jackie and Keilah joined in 2018, but I am very grateful that I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of performing songs like “Wander” and “Our Love Will Always Remain” for so many years and that so many people have grown up with and resonated with these songs, including myself! “Stoked On You” is my teenage self, and “Charmed” feels like the older sister that is wiser and has been through so much, but gives the best advice (yet doesn’t always follow it).
Is there anything you wish you would’ve known 10 years ago?
Melissa: Don’t doubt yourself! Push boundaries, don’t be afraid to say “no” to things that make you uncomfortable EVER, and say “yes” to challenges that seem intimidating but rewarding down the line! Take educated risks, and love yourself.
Congratulations on your new album, Charmed! How does it feel to be able to share it with the world?
Melissa: Thank you! It feels like a breath of fresh air that I can sigh and go, “finally it’s here,” and it’s ours to share with the universe!
What were some of the inspirations behind the album?
Melissa: The magic of romance, friendship, and self-discovery are themes paired with the pandering of dreamy guitar riffs to distorted grit and bass.
I think my personal favorite song off the album is Spotlight. Can you give us some background on that song?
Melissa: “Spotlight” is about falling for a stranger in a nightclub, trying to garner the courage to say hi and ask them to dance, but instead daydreaming about an entire fictional weekend getaway with them. Instead of making this a EDM club banger, similar to what was playing that night at the club, I thought it would be something different to sing about a nightclub in the style of a old school doo-wop meets riot-grrrl way. PS, the nightclub was the queer-centric event Subculture Party, just a fun fact hehe!
Is there a memory that you think you’ll always associate with the making of this album?
Melissa: I’ll always remember petting the dogs in between takes! Shout out to Chris Szczech for having such sweet pups and providing a comfortable environment for us to record our album in.
This isn’t really a question, but sick basslines all throughout the album.
Melissa: Keilah killed it!
Was there anything in particular you were listening to while recording the album?
Melissa: The 90s icons like Hole, The Breeders, Jesus and Mary Chain, and Sonic Youth, with the pop-rock girlies like Avril Lavigne, Hilary Duff, Michelle Branch and The Dollyrots.
Any memorable moments from this last tour?
Melissa: Shaky Knees Fest was our biggest mosh pit possibly in our entire career. Fans even made a human boat pit and rowed! That was some dedication. I will never forget it.
What is the most difficult part of being on tour?
Melissa: It can be quite hard to find down-time to relax and center yourself! It can also be hard to find food after the shows, especially when you have long load-outs. I would end up spending way too much money on Postmates at 1am because it would be the only thing open by the time we get back to the hotel from the venue, and then by the time the food arrives I’m almost too tired to eat it all. The struggle!
I saw that you’re a part of Riot Fest this year! Are there any bands that you’re excited to share the stage with?
Melissa: Foo Fighters, Turnstile, Kim Gordon, 100 gecs and The Breeders!
What can we expect from The Aquadolls in the near future?
Melissa: Expect new visuals for the rest of Charmed, fun live performances and good times!
To wrap things up, do you have any questions for me?
Melissa: How did you get into music journalism?
I feel like I've just always been curious about very specific things when it comes to my favorite music and bands. Anytime I'd look up a band's interviews it was alway the cliche "How did you get your band name?" type of questions. I also watched a Ted Talk with Nardwuar and he talked about how he started out and I just thought "I COULD DO THIS" and 6 years have passed since then haha. I'm thankful for the opportunities that I've had and all the cool people that I've met along the way.