Interview: Ontario’s Dizzy on touring outside Canada, landing Austin City Limits & more

One of our favourite new bands of the last 12 months is Ontario’s Dizzy. First becoming hooked on their single “Swim” and then seeing them live for the first time in Canada last year, we knew they had to be a must see of The Great Escape in 2018. We were able to grab some time with MackenzieKatieCharlie and Alex while in Brighton to find out how their first trip to the UK had been treating them.

We’re here at the Great Escape in Brighton, United Kingdom. You’re running around the country, been playing a few shows over the last week. I believe you’ve got some more lined up as well beyond the one at  Midnight Fifteen, that we were just discussing. Firstly, how have the shows been going over here? How’s everything turned out?

Mackenzie:  Really good. It’s our first time outside of North America, so everything’s been like stimulation overload, just seeing all the different sites…

This is your first time here, just for a start?

Charlie: Yeah, for any reason. This is like probably the coolest way to see any of the U.K. and Europe. We were in Paris last week, and it was beautiful.

Katie: Really respectful crowds, I’d say, yeah.

More so than at home?

Katie:  I mean, yeah so far.

Is that more, too, because you probably have different expectations, like your expectations would be, “We’re a new band,” on and on?

Charlie: Yeah, definitely. I think it’s just a different sort of dynamic. I think concert goers here are much quieter, whereas people in North America can be rowdy, which is great.

Katie: I mean, it could go both ways. We don’t know yet.

Any show can go any way.

Mackenzie: It’s true, it’s true.

After you leave here, what’s next for you in terms of shows? Do you have more at home? I know you’ve got the Field Trip Festival. Is it Field Trip?

Mackenzie: Yeah.

Incredible lineup for that one.

Alex:  Yeah, excited about that.

So you’ve got that pretty much until you get home?

Mackenzie:  That’s the only thing we’ve got lined up show wise in the next little bit.

Alex:  There’s the Brooklyn Show.

Mackenzie: Oh yeah, we are playing in Brooklyn in New York at the end of this month, for the opening of the Rooftop at Elsewhere. They’re opening a little rooftop patio thing, so we are going to play there.

Katie: A festival in Montreal, or Quebec City, actually. A couple festivals here and there.

Austin City Limits just got announced, congratulations on that too.

Mackenzie:  Forgot about that too. That’s in October.

Just casually playing with Paul McCartney.

Alex: Still pinching ourselves for sure.

Mackenzie: We are going to try and sort of have a little tour around that as well, play some shows across the States.

Have you done much in the States so far? You did SXSW not too long ago?

Katie:  We did SXSW, we were on tour with a band called Milk and Bone from Montreal.

Alex: Oh, they’re great.

Katie: They are so good. We kind of went everywhere with them across the US. We learned a lot about that place.

Charlie: It was our first time in a lot of places. We had been a little bit on the east coast of the United States, like New York and Philly. We had never ventured across Los Angeles and through the south of Texas and stuff. We got the chance to shoot a music video in LA which was …

Katie: Just actually released “Pretty Thing”.

Charlie:  Yeah, which was really cool because it gave us chance to see LA while shooting a video. We got to see all the sights. It was a great tour.

Alex: It’s a tourist video as much as anything else.

Charlie: It was more for us than anybody else.

What’s funny when you’re on tour you spend so much time sleeping in a van, not actually, or playing the show in the venue, sound checking, not actually seeing the city that you’re in.

Charlie: When we were driving through London yesterday and we were kind of like looking up at this giant building, we were like, Oh that’s Buckingham Palace.

That’s where the Queen lives.

Mackenzie: That’s Queenie’s house.

Charlie:  Okay, keep driving. Yeah kinda nuts.

But hopefully this is the start of a long relationship with this part of the world and you’ll be back many times to also drive past.

Charlie: I hope so.

Katie: I hope so, yeah. Paris was hard to leave so quickly. It was so beautiful.

I imagine you’ve always wanted to go there.

Katie: Yeah, London was one of those places that you kinda go, “I’ve always wanted to come here.”

So it’s been a big eight months or so for you, with dropping singles and videos, pretty … 

Charlie:  Yeah, over a couple of months.

…Regularly was the word I was looking for, over that period. You just released a new single as well, I wanna say it’s called “Joshua”. Can you tell me a little bit about that single?

Katie: It’s a song we wrote a couple of years ago about someone who broke my heart, obviously.

I think you sung it at the show I saw.

Katie: We sang it today. More importantly, I think it’s about after a relationship goes south and kind of finding out how to feel happy again, finding your friends, your family and music, and finding comfort in that, so yeah.

The songs you’re releasing, I mean are they generally kind of written a while ago? Are you sitting on a wealth of material …

Alex: A nest egg.

A nest egg, yeah.

Charlie: Yeah we recorded a record almost two years ago that we’ve been sorta sitting on, and passing around to people; we’ve just started dropping singles from that. Our second single “Swim”, we actually recorded last year and wrote it last year, the end of last year, so it’s a very new song to us. It’s nice to have the older songs that we’re really used to, and then a newer tune to be able to play that’s fresh and exciting for us.

When you release a song, then the music video comes out a little bit later.

Charlie: Yeah, it’s been a steady progression, that’s for sure.

Is there any frustration with that at all? Obviously in the space of recording this song you’ve put this amazing team around you, and you’re working with some incredible people who are obviously giving you advice about when to release things and when to do things, without getting into any specifics.

Would you like to be releasing more music faster than you are so you can kind of keep moving on there?

Katie: Maybe sooner would have been nicer, but I’m happy with it now.

Mackenzie: I think a lot of it’s been worth the wait. We’ve had the time to build the team.

Katie:  A good live set that is strong enough when people come to see you it’s worth it and not kind of the beginnings, because I think if we had’ve released a year ago, our live set… I don’t think was where it needed to be.

Alex: Yeah, not quite in a place where it was polished.

Katie: Meant to be.

Charlie: I don’t think I’d change it. I think it’s worked out well.

So what other plans over the next, kind of 12 months, will there be an album?

Charlie: There will be in summer, late summer. I don’t think I’m allowed to say much more than that, but yeah, album in late summer and a lot of touring to follow.

Katie: Hoping to start writing again as well. I’m definitely feeling the tingle to write again.

Mackenzie: To put pen to paper, yeah.

Well getting to this part of the world as well is going to be allowing you to come up with new ideas, and have new inspiration.

Charlie: Definitely inspiring, yeah.

Hopefully less about heartbreak and more about worldwide adventures.

Charlie:  Yeah, hopefully people like songs about adventures.

Australia, I imagine, is part of the desires for worldwide domination as the track continues?

Alex: It’s definitely in the plans, for sure, to get down there.

So looking ahead musically, what can we expect? What can you say about what we’ll hear in the future? Is what we’re hearing now a taste of what’s left to come?

Katie: I’d say so, yeah.

Charlie: The first record, yeah. We’re hoping to explore some different sonic landscapes in the next one, so we’re getting excited about that.

That’s naturally going to happen, as you were saying, so much of this is about getting better as a band, getting a great team together; you kinda go down that road. You’re playing the same songs but you’re developing as a band. At the end of that process, you’re gonna be like, oh shit we’re really good as a band now and we can do really cool things that we, at the beginning, wouldn’t have even dreamt of doing. So that’s gotta be exciting? I mean no pressure …

Katie: I don’t know what to say! (Laughs)

You’re been playing with some great bands too? I mean you have Boniface and you did U.S. Girls in Paris as well. That’s gotta be inspiring in itself too, just kinda being around artists who are that little further ahead and you can kinda see how they’re managing things.

Katie: Yeah, I think every time I go to a show, I was just saying to Charlie … we watched Partner earlier, I got off into the drive and I was like, “I kinda wanna be them.” Every show that we go to, I kinda wanna be that other band, I feel like I’m drawing inspiration from all these different people, yeah.

Charlie: Like you said, we’ve gotten the chance to play with some of our heroes too. It’s really interesting to see how their team works, how their tours work and you can take little pieces from every show you play, and I think it helps to make ours better.

And the sonic landscape that you’re talking about … it all adds to that sonic landscape. Well guys, thank you so much for your time. It’s great to sit down and chat with you here after stumbling across you in Toronto at the end of last year. Wish you guys the best with everything. It’s gonna be an exciting year ahead.

Charlie: We think so.

Paul McCartney.

Charlie: Paul McCartney.

Austin, Texas.

Charlie: Let’s do it.

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