Kelly Ogden has always wanted to be a mermaid.
The bassist/vocalist for the Dollyrots clarifies: “Growing up in Florida, we were always at the beach, or swimming in a pool or a lake or a spring. I’ve just always felt at home in the water.”
Being suited to both land and sea has been a theme in Kelly’s life, and has been woven into the imagery and songwriting on the Dollyrots’ new album, Whiplash Splash. Being half human and half fish seems a fitting metaphor for the way the band now splits their time between downtown Los Angeles and coastal Florida, or how they manage to balance touring life on the road with parenthood at home.
Whiplash Splash is the Dollyrots' sixth studio LP, and their first since 2014’s Barefoot and Pregnant. And after touring with their rat Sniffy, their dog Quito, and their son River, it also marks the addition of their new daughter Daisy to their entourage.
“We only had three months to write, record, and finish the album between the launch of our PledgeMusic campaign and the birth of our daughter,” says guitarist Luis Cabezas. “Parenthood doesn’t afford us the time to overthink things anymore. We tracked the bulk of the record at our home studio and went with our first instincts when it came to the music and lyrics.”
The result is an album that’s focused, sharp, and completely fan-funded. During their 16-year career, the Dollyrots have released albums on labels like Blackheart and Lookout!, but have successfully crowdfunded their last few releases thanks to their loyal (and generous) fans. Whiplash Splash marks the band's follow-up to unlikely diy debuts in the Top 15 of Billboard’s Heatseeker’s Chart and the band’s fifth collaboration with longtime producer & friend John Fields, known for his work with All Time Low, Jimmy Eat World, Busted, and so many others.
The Dollyrots plan to tour in support of the album while River and Daisy are still portable in kid car seats, but their days of traveling in a crusty van and waking up hungover on random people’s floors are behind them.
“The album art shows a mermaid alone, isolated, and watching her city glow beneath bomb fire. The conflict between musician life & motherhood can be difficult to blend sometimes; there aren’t a lot of women I know who are living this same split lifestyle,” Kelly explains.
“But mermaids are also a symbol of transformation and growth. And that’s always something to be excited and a little scared of. But we don’t have time to be afraid anymore."