Chatting with Lead Vocalist and Keyboardist Ashleigh Carr-White from DULCIE
How did you gals meet?
Ash: “So me, Sas and Meeks met through a WAAPA course which is the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, we did a music artists course together. So Sas and Meeks grew up together and they both came to Perth for that course, and I was doing it at the same time, we all met there and decided to start a band. It wasn’t like a full on uni degree, but still a full on, very hands on arts course which only lasted a year. But I think for all of us, we all really love music and we’re like, oh, let’s just give it a go and meet some people that are interested in the same thing. And yeah, hopefully saw the band or like just do some, we’ll create a project. So it was just the perfect place to meet people for that kind of thing.”
Did you always have this really deep interest in music and know what you wanted to sound like before you went to WAAPA?
Ash: “I’ve always loved music. Like I’ve always been a kid in the musical who’s at school, in the school choir, or doing things like that outside of school, always been writing songs, but never really taking it seriously as something I could do for a career. Like I’ve always loved it as a hobby and it still is a hobby at the moment. And also it’s amazing that we get to pursue this as a band, it’s such a privilege. But going to WAAPA I was super unsure, I was actually enrolled to do occupational therapy. And then at the last minute I was like, oh, I just want to try music for a little bit longer!
I mean, I always do music. So I’m, I’m really glad I made that decision because otherwise we never had been able to meet each other and be able to do all these amazing things. Um, and I think that course was so great for helping us find our sound. And I think we’re still kind of finding our sound and experimenting with different things.
Like it’s changed a lot since we even first started. So yeah.”
How do you feel your sound has evolved since you first got together and now playing gigs? Is it something that you’re getting into the rhythm of, um, and like being a bit more comfortable on stage and within your music?
Ash: “I feel like being in a band has taught me a lot. Like I still get very nervous and more like anxiety coming up on stage sometimes. But I think the more you play gigs, like the more you have fun with it and just feel like just letting go and not kind of being too critical of your style, which has been really helpful for all of us.
I think our sound when we first started was very much more band sounding like we didn’t record anything that we couldn’t play live without instruments. But the latest music we’ve just recorded has been a lot more produced. Still a band sound but we’ve been a lot more open minded to adding in midi sounds and just different synth parts and stuff like that.
So I think that’s opened up a whole new world in terms of what our sound could be. So yeah, that’s very exciting. And on the Ocean Alley tour, it was like the best time where we tried to use backing tracks, with all the extra sounds that we couldn’t play live and that kind of thing. And I just love that because it sounded so much fuller than it used to while still sounding live.
So I just feel like that opened up a whole new realm of possibility for us. So I’m really excited to explore that. “
Yeah. I saw your gig at the Brisbane river stage. And I’ve got to say, it looks super comfortable on stage by that point.
Ash: “That’s so funny because I never sing outside of my keyboard. This is like the first tour that I’ve been like: ‘oh I’m going to do a few songs without my piano.’ And I find that I feel just naked on the stage. And that was the second show of the tour, so I was like errrrr” Ash pulls an awkward expression and laughs “And I find that I feel just naked on the stage but I’m glad that it didn’t look too awkward.”
How would you describe the sounds of Dulcie to someone who has never heard your music? Ash: “Along the lines of indie pop kind of music with lots of harmonies and like a mixture of live sound.”
At the Riverstage gig, listening I felt all of your songs have similarities, but it sounded like there was a different layer in each song. As they have really unique parts to them that make them a little bit special.
Ash: “That was kind of like the old EP, which was a lot more band sounding and then the kind of newest songs, which had a bit more production. So that was cool to do because it was like a whole different blend of different vibes of songs.”
You dropped your debut EP, Sake Of Sound last year. How did it feel to get that EP out and start playing it live for crowds with Ocean Alley?
Ash: “Yeah, it was so nice. I think we were just so, so happy to be able to play live music, even putting out our latest single and being able to play that straight off that was so nice. Just felt like, I don’t know, nice flow, you know, having music out and then being able to play it live. Um, I think that a lot of musicians have probably found it pretty tough the last few years..putting things out and not being sure if you can play or things getting postponed and canceled.
So it’s just like, ah,” Ash lets out an excited sigh. “So, so nice to play to people and to see people enjoying themselves. It was just really special.”
What’s been the highlight of the national tour so far?
Ash: “I loved playing at Melbourne’s John Cain Arena, that was crazy!”
It’s just something I never would have imagined to be able to do, like when I started music. And it’s crazy to think about, it’s just so crazy that we got to play on an arena stage and that people came down early, um, because we were the first band on, like, even though they were really big stages sometimes we weren’t playing to heaps of people. But for that show, there were just so many people down early.
Josh told me he was like: “Ash, there’s so many people!” I thought he was just joking. And then when we walked on the stage, I was like: oh my gosh! There are a lot of people! But it was just so nice to play to such a welcoming crowd and to be on a stage like that.
Definitely just made us feel very privileged and lucky to do what we do.”
I love the new band merch that you released at the start of this month, did you design it yourselves?
Ash: “That was designed by a guy called Conner Dewhurst whose Instagram handle is @Imnotverychill. He’s amazing. We just reached out to him and I’ve been like a big fan of all that he does. He does lots of tour posters and merchandise for other artists. And he’s someone that I’ve been holding out to do something with. I was so happy when he said that he was keen. He sent us through a whole bunch of designs and every one, I was like, these are amazing. I loved every design. It was so hard which we were going to choose, but yeah. I love the butterfly one.”
Bit of a wildcard question here but what’s a song from your spotify most played right now?
Ash: “You know what I’ve been slamming all morning is Charlie XCX – Yuck, I’ve also been slamming Ode to a Conversation Stuck in Your Throat by a Dell Water Gap, it’s so, so good I’d highly recommend anyone give that one a listen.”
I just saw on your instagram you’ll be coming back to Melbourne to play some more shows is that right?
Ash: “Yes! Just Melbourne and Sydney and then coming back to do a show in Perth. So that’ll be really fun. Yeah, it’s crazy. It feels like we were just there and now we’re just about to go back, which is really fun.”
What’s next for the group after those last few shows? Will you continue touring or do you see a new EP of new music in the future?
Ash: “Yes, we are planning on releasing a single, quite soon, actually in the next few weeks or like next month. So yes, we’ll be sharing that soon. And then, yeah, I think we will do a few more singles and hopefully some more touring, maybe more WA shows, but nothing is set in stone right now. There’s just a few things that we’ve been thinking about, but definitely keen to play more shows and put out more music.”
What song of the EP are you most proud of and why?
Ash: “Oh, that’s a tricky one. Um, I think out of the latest EP that we put out, I really like Level Head. It’s not really like our typical, cool band song. It’s very stripped back, but I feel like that song is especially the song for me, as it has like a nice message to it.
And I love the string arrangement on that song. I think that’s really nice. But out of our new songs, I don’t know what one I would say, I think the next song we’re about to put out is a song that I’m really excited about, I feel like it has a whole new vibe to it which is exciting.
It’s easy to look back and be like err,” Ash cringes and laughs. “I don’t know if I like these songs anymore. You listen to them too many times, but it is important to be proud of what you’ve accomplished and let it go and then keep putting out new things.”
Do you all have the hand in writing the music?
Ash: “I feel like at the moment I’ve been doing lots of co-writes and people like on zoom calls or just meeting up with people. Once that song kind of comes to life. I’ll bring that to the band and then we work on it together. And then it kind of goes through a whole other process of refinement when we come to producing and when we come to record it. So I feel like it usually starts with either me or sometimes Sas.”
What inspires you when you write?
Ash: “I feel like usually I either write from an experience or like an emotion. Even a secondhand experience if I’ve been speaking to somebody and can feel what they are going through and I can channel that into a song. Or sometimes I’ll just play the piano and sing absolutely random lyrics and then have my voice memos on and kind of just take something from that, or like a lyric or a melody, and then work on that.
But it also kind of changes every time. Sometimes you’re writing and you’re like: “I don’t even know what this is about!” But it’s great writing with other people too, because you can bounce off their experiences or things that they’re going through and their ideas and kind of channel that into a song.”
Catch them at their upcoming shows in Melbourne on April 14th at the Workers Club, April 16th at Sydney’s Bank Hotel and on April 22nd at Rosemount Hotel in Perth. Can’t wait that long? Listen to their full set on Moshcam today.