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In the JQBX: Dizzy Spells

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During the pandemic, Merry-Go-Round Magazine has been hosting Dime in the JQBX, a fun event where artists from across the musical spectrum come and hang out! During these events, Editor-in-Chief CJ Simonson attempts to navigate a short and often spontaneous interview in the chat with the artists! We figured why not save those and publish some of them, along with the songs that the artist played that night. This edited transcript is from April 9th with indie pop outfit Dizzy Spells! You can find a playlist of all their picks from that night below! 

Your Facebook bio indicates you are hot dads in my area. Where in Los Angeles are y’all?

Dizzy Spells: Hahaha yes, yes, we’re hot pops!! We’re in Sherman Oaks right now!

How do you like being in the Valley? I feel like I know, or have talked to, quite a few bands that are LA-based that wind up there, but I never feel like it translates to that area specifically. Like, is there a scene? I don’t know what venues are in Sherman Oaks or the surrounding area.

DS: So the Valley is great like neighborhood-wise, lots of fun food/drinks on Ventura, pre-pandemic of course, but there’s not a ton of venues out here, at least as far as we’re aware of… But in terms of having a great space to practice, write, and play together, it’s seriously great. Hoping to get a little closer to “LA” LA sometime but, for now, Sherman Oaks totally does the trick for a band more focused on writing!

Yeah I feel like that’s the thing that’s been echoed by others too that like, it’s best strengths are space and adjacency to the city for shows. Makes me wonder why a hip, small-sized venue hasn’t tried to just spot up there.

DS: Absolutely… do we all just go in on a venue in like… Van Nuys? 

Even a small, 150-cap room I’d have to think would be valuable if you could get it to double for other events, but.

DS: Yeah, absolutely.

So you just released A FEARFUL LEAP INTO THE DARK last year, which is your debut, right? Walk me through the process of writing and recording that, was that in Sherman Oaks?

DS: So actually, we wrote most of FEARFUL LEAP in this really small, dilapidated shack in Calabasas—oxymoron we know—over the course of a few years, and eventually met with a producer trio/band called New Beat Fund, who took an interest in our music and wanted to produce it! So over the course of 2018-2019 we recorded at Sound City studios with them and they helped bring those eight songs to fruition, and it was a blast! It was nice bringing some of the more challenging songs to life with people who had a better ear than us regarding structure.

Damn, Sound City! That’s a pretty nifty place to end up working. A lot of history.

DS: Yeah, it was a really awesome spot. So unassuming, but such a vibe at the same time. And the producers we worked with were definitely helpful in showing us around.

Did you have larger plans to be taking A FEARFUL LEAP INTO THE DARK on the road at all before the pandemic hit?

DS: We did, yeah! it’s totally unfortunate—from the beginning of us coming to LA, our experience as a band has been marred every step of the way with some weird fuckshit. Between shitty managers, a name change, members coming and leaving, publishing deals, and lawyers, we’ve never really been able to put our best foot forward since like…  2015? And then we get this album done FINALLY, and a pandemic happens. We’re looking forward to the day that things can just… HAPPEN. Without any weird shit getting in the way! So the short answer is yes, we had larger plans for touring behind this album but things got a bit complicated. But we’re looking forward to seeing what life is life post-pandy! We’ve transferred those plans to the new music we’ve been writing actually, really stoked on it!

I for sure feel like a lot of artists’ ambitions to play live just ended up getting curbed to recording more, so that’s awesome you’re already back on that grind. Do you have a timeline already or not yet? I know the last album is so fresh, but given how long it took to happen, I’m sure it feels like a long time creatively ago.

DS: We sort of have a rough timeline, to release at least the first new single within summer or fall of this year, but nothing too set in stone. But absolutely, the last album feels so stale to us even though it released only a few months ago—we’d been sitting on it for literal years because of a lawyer situation, we’re really looking forward to putting out some new material that’s more reflective of what we’ve been into lately!

That’s great. The album is really playful indie pop, like, fun production, I feel like if there’s even a hint of that in the new stuff it’ll be coming at the perfect time.

DS: We’re definitely writing stuff in a similar vein! Appreciate you saying so—I think if anyone’s a fan of the last record, they’ll be even bigger fans of the new stuff! Which we’re stoked to actually believe.

And touring?

DS: As soon as possible ideally! Which… is looking closer to 2022. But we’re dying to get out in front of people soon, especially with this new material. And we’re really planning on going hard with this new stuff, so 2022 should be a super bright year for us, looking forward to being productive again for sure.

You can check out Dizzy Spells’ A FEARFUL LEAP INTO THE DARK over on Spotify, and see a selection of all of their picks below! 

CJ Simonson
CJ Simonson is Merry-Go-Round's Editor-in-Chief and representative for all things Arizona. The only thing he knows for certain is that "I Can Feel The Fire" by Ronnie Wood is the greatest closing credits song never used in a Wes Anderson movie. Get on that, Wes.

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