My first encounter with Doll was also the first show I had ever seen in college. Doll was opening for The Creepshow, and lead vocalist/guitarist Christina Kasper’s raw voice ripping through the chorus of “Sally Lost Her Shoelaces” was instantly etched into my memory. Her vocals were accomanied by the exceptional skills of her bandmates Pete Kasper, Nick Richer and Julie Anne Madore. It was there that I bought the only t-shirt whose destruction I was ever saddened by (oh the ravages of college life!) Sadly, I wouldn’t be able to buy their music for another two years.
In 2009, they released their debut album “Inside the Dollhouse”. The album was a testament to their punk/grunge roots, and Christina’s visceral vocals added the perfect edge to track list, from the searing opener “Daddy’s Little Girl“, to the dark album closer “Drown”. The aforementioned “Sally Lost Her Shoelaces” held up well in studio, and “Grunge Never Died (You Did)” is a gut-punch to banal contemporary music trends.
In 2011, Doll followed up their debut with “The Ragdoll Dairies”, having welcomed their new bassist, Alex Vance, into their ranks. If you peruse their YouTube channel, you will find that a majority of their music videos are for songs on this album. Doll retained their dark overtones and hard punk sound for this album, and closed with yet another infectiously oppressive score “Sleeping in the Clouds of NYC“. You can find a great live acoustic version of this song, but I have to recommend giving the studio version a solid listen.
Over the course of two albums, Doll explored themes of abuse, addiction, alienation and suicide, often using a fictional girl named “Sally” as a focal point. For those who favour a more casual listen, there are songs that offer levity to their catalogue, such as the second album’s opener “City That Fun Forgot” (an ode to the band’s hometown).
Though the band had two solid albums and international touring under their belts, it wouldn’t be until earlier this year that we would get a taste of a third album. In January, Doll released “The Man Outside“, a song from their upcoming album “Voodoo”. This gentler piano-driven song parts ways from the rest of their catalogue, and peaks my interest for what’s in store for their upcoming album.
I had the opportunity to ask Christina Kasper a few questions about the band’s work and their future plans.
Firstly, how is the new album coming along?
“Pete and I had 2 kids since 2014 so we’ve had our hands full! Despite that, we’ve managed to write over 20 songs which are in the bank for when life becomes a bit less chaotic and when we can focus on writing material for “Voodoo”.”
Doll came right out of the gate in 2016 with a raw demo of The Man Outside. This song was a stark departure from your usual style (though it did remind me somewhat of “World of Mine”). Is this departure indicative of what’s to come with Voodoo?
“When I was pregnant with my first child, I decided to take piano lessons. I took piano lessons when I was younger but I hadn’t touched it for a very, very long time. I fell in love with the instrument again and wrote several songs. That’s how “The Man Outside” came about. No I don’t think “Voodoo” will be that much of a departure of our older material but I wouldn’t be surprised if we had 1-2 mellower songs in the mix.”
Will Voodoo have an overarching theme?
“It’s hard to say at this point since the album is not complete. It’s definitely an idea we’d like to explore. All of our albums have the word “Doll” in them. Inside the Dollhouse, Ragdoll Diaries, and then this one Voodoo Doll. That’s how the idea for the album title came about.”
What was the inspiration for “The Man Outside”?
“It’s about how people in society have become desensitized to people in need. Someone could basically be dying or crying out for help on the street and people won’t take a second to take a double look and help. It’s a sad reality.”
Doll has already released a few kickass music videos for “Sally Lost her Shoelaces”, “Youth of Today, Hope for Tomorrow” and “Plastic Lies”. Are there any music video ideas in the works yet for the Voodoo tracks?
For those hoping to see Doll live, do you foresee any tours in the near future?
“I’d say in the next two years we’ll start playing gigs again. Like our Facebook page to stay up to date! http://www.facebook.com/dollband”