AthFest 2014: Party Dolls x Vinyl Mag

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After making their debut on Valentine’s Day 2013, the local collaborative supergroup, Party Dolls, knew they had created something awesome. Exactly one year later, they had an album under their belt, and they haven’t stopped playing since. Party Dolls, a conglomeration of members from multiple Athens/Atlanta area acts including The District Attorneys and Tedo Stone, will continue taking the local scene by storm this weekend at AthFest

Party Dolls have a huge Athens following, and they are all about putting on a good show. The group masters their attempt at a “mini-Arcade Fire” sound, and really fosters and rekindles the collab-rock genre. Their debut album, Love Wars Baby, is an album of anthems that front man Drew Beskin says “had to be written.”

We caught up with them before the fest to chat about what it’s like to be part of such a big collab project, who would play their dream music fest and what’s in store for Party Dolls in the future.

Vinyl Mag: So there are quite a few members in Party Dolls; you’re a kind musical collage featuring members of multiple Athens/Atlanta bands. Do you all have a ‘the more the merrier’ philosophy when it comes to the band?

Drew Beskin: We definitely have a more the merrier attitude for Party Dolls. The band was put together in a very spur-of-the-moment kind of way. We all have or have had bands that fit a very specific structure, so this is everyone’s side pop band where we can just let loose and see how weird we can make it.

VM: Your record has been out for a few good months now – what’s that like? How has the reaction been?

DB: It is great to have it out there. We worked on it casually over a year, and we are very proud of the record. We have had some great press and premieres from some very cool publications. People seem to like it; I am proud of it. That is all that matters. The live version is a trip, because we have accordion, violin and a bunch of random instruments that I have never had on stage before, and I get a huge kick out of that.

VM: A lot of the record, Love Wars Baby, alludes to a bad breakup. I’ve always been curious about what it’s like for the rest of the band to play a song about someone else’s breakup. Is it hard to get into that head space?

DB: By the time the songs were recorded, the meaning behind them kind of vanished. They just turn into songs that happened to be about the past. When we play them now, we just enjoy the music and hope the audience does as well. There is no message or hidden meaning.

VM: Is it easy for you all to collaborate, having come from such varying musical backgrounds and groups? Do your styles all align when you come together to create something new?

DB: Yeah, for sure. We all just want to do the song justice and have as much fun playing as possible. We want to show each other off; we have a lot of amazing musicians in the band right now.

VM: What kind of artists influence you as a group?

DB: A lot of Whiskeytown and Rilo Kiley. We made the album with just four people, but we wanted to try and get a kind of ‘mini-Arcade Fire’ sound. A lot going on in 10 very short pop songs.

VM: Who are you most excited to see at AthFest 2014?

DB: Probably Dead Confederate and Kishi Bashi.

VM: Alright, this is my signature question: if you could choose the headliners – dead or alive – for a new music festival, who would play?

DB: Prince, Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, Rilo Kiley, The Smiths and Oasis.

VM: What’s in store for you all in the future? 

DB: Not quite sure post-Athfest. We have some new songs and might record another album under the Party Dolls name or we might start a new project. Kind of playing it by ear right now.

VM: What’s the hardest thing about being in a group with so many members?

DB: Probably trying to write new songs off the fly, so we have stuck to listening to demos and learning from there. It’s never really that hard though; we all want the same thing, and if someone isn’t feeling it, they usually have a better idea. We are all friends with each other, so it’s pretty easy.

VM: What’s the craziest experience you’ve had at a show thus far? 

DB: Our band usually floats between having seven or eight members, so whenever we are able to pull that off and get the sound right and everyone is locked in and happy, that is a pretty crazy experience.


*Check out Party Dolls at Athfest  Saturday at Hull Street Stage at 4:00 p.m.  See you there!

You could say that Miranda Feneberger is a writer. More accurately, though, she is a hopeless romantic, an adventure seeker, a reality TV binge watcher, a cinematography appreciator, a lucid dreamer and a playlist-making addict. She aspires to someday get paid to do something she loves, though she is realistic and sticks with compensation via free concert tickets and occasional internet shout outs. If you follow her on Twitter, you'll know that she LOVES USING ALL CAPS AND OcCASIONAlLy SpELLS USING BoTH UPPER AND LoweRCaSE LETTERs FOR EMPHASIS. One day she will learn that this is relatively unprofessional behavior, but until then she will live life on the edge of the caps lock key. A list of her life idols would likely give you whiplash; including but not limited to geniuses such as William Shakespeare, Kanye West, Mindy Kaling, George Saunders and Hall & Oates. Her heart will always belong to Sherlock Holmes, but Anders Holm would be a close and well-received runner up. Oh yeah, she has been writing her own blog since 2011, which you can check out if you'd like. She'd love that.

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