On a chilly spring day in March, Dasher’s drummer and vocalist Kylee Kimbrough met us, Mitchell Sidwell and Moon Appleby, outside Rainbow Bakery in downtown Bloomington, and after considering whether or not we should get coffee – we didn’t – she invited us to sit on her front porch and talk to her about her band leading up to Culture Shock 2016.
Mitch: How many people are in Dasher?
Kylee: Just the three of us.
Mitch: And the other two are?
Kylee: Gary Magilla plays bass, and Steve Garcia plays guitar.
Mitch: How long have you guys known each other?
Kylee: Around six months. I met Gary online, so we established a relationship and I invited him to play music with me, and when I moved here we auditioned a couple of guitar players. Steve was the second person. He came into practice already knowing five songs so I was like, ‘You’re perfect!’. He’s really good, they’re both really good. So we started, and then we got Steve to play Guitar.
Moon: Where did you come up with the name Dasher?
Kylee: Well, uh, I started this project in 2010 as kind of like a personal ‘I just want to see if I can write some songs’. It’s the name of a blade in a blender, it’s called a dasher, and I thought ‘Oh that’s really cool!’ Because what I started doing was a blend of a lot of different things. It’s just whatever I like, I like a lot of stuff. The more popular name of Dasher is the reindeer, so we get that too alot. I didn’t even think of that.
Mitch: I never knew the blade in a blender was called a dasher
Kylee: No one does! People have often asked if we were a Christmas band. Maybe someday.
Moon: You know, Jingle Bells, all the classics
Mitch: A Bing Crosby cover band!
Moon: Dasher Christmas Special.
Mitch: So where do you come up with ideas, what do you write about?
Kylee: Lyrics? I do the lyrics last, I don’t really care. I really care about what the song sounds like. I think of the vowel sounds. I’m a drummer, so I think I write music from that perspective, of like percussion and rhythm, so when I think of the vocal melodies I hear tonal rhythms and then decide what kind of structure I want. Then I just find words that fit to fill in the blank. Sometimes they mean stuff, a lot of times they don’t.
Mitch: Where does your sound come from? Do you have any inspirations, do you get any influences from other artists?
Kylee: Well I like a lot of punk. I like a lot of hardcore. We don’t sound like that, but a lot of bands we play with have been like that. As far as in Atlanta, I lived there for 13 years and I grew up listening to a lot of bands from the Scavenger of Death record label. That was pretty much most of the bands I liked at home, they were on that label, and eventually we got to be on that label. One of the first demos I put out was reissued by Scavenger, which made me feel like I had made it. That was like my dream, to be accepted among those kids because I looked up to them and they inspired me a lot to play stuff. But we don’t sound like anything, I don’t know. A lot of our songs are different.
Kylee performing with Dasher
Kylee: I play a lot of Ramones type sounding drums, just straight up basic stuff because I have to do the vocals at the same time. I like this band called Crisis, I like a lot of Japanese hardcore stuff and they use a lot of delay on their vocals so I added that in. It sounds cool, and gives me more confidence. I’m not a really great singer, so it helps. So there’s that. Then I like a lot of shoegazer stuff, so as far as my ideas for guitars it’s always been that I want a lot of noise and landscape type stuff. Then the bass lines – my first bassist came from a power violence band, so the tone he had was really cool and I wanted to keep that. It’s a blend of a lot of things. I’ve only been writing music since I was 27, I’m 32 now, so it’s all really simple 4/4 stuff, even with all of the weird stuff. So even though it’s all kind of weird, it comes out as pop music almost because of the structure.
Mitch: So you lived in Atlanta for a long time, so what’s the music scene like there?
Kylee: Amazing. Completely amazing. I thought about this yesterday, it’s no pun intended, but I feel like I’m experiencing a little bit of culture shock. It’s been about six months and I’ve met a handful of people, and I’m still sort of looking for the music scene. There’s this band called Mannequin that’s here that is really good. I met Laughing Gas, and there are cool touring bands who come through. Once a month or so I’ll get to go to a good show, so it’s not the same as at home, but it’s pretty cool. It’s a small town, so I knew that walking into it it would be different. I don’t really know if they like us or not, though. That’s one thing that’s different. At home, what I’m used to, is that when you’re breaking your stuff down to get off the stage you have five friends that are high fiving you telling you it was awesome, and I would do the same thing for them. Here I don’t really know if anyone likes it or not, because they don’t tell you! So, we’ll see.
Moon: Aren’t you playing the Bishop soon?
Kylee: I think we’re playing with the Screaming Females in May? I think that’s our next Bishop show.
Mitch: So with Culture Shock, pre going there, what do you expect? Are you looking forward to it?
Kylee: Yeah, totally! It’s our tour kickoff show, so I’m excited. I’ve played some college fests before, and it was always really fun. I’ve had a lot of young kids come up to me at them. 88.5 had a benefit show – that’s the college radio station in Atlanta – and I played that and it was a lot of fun. A lot of young kids came up to the merch table and said that they had moshed for the first time in their lives with us, so I felt honored that that happened. That was cool, getting a different type of audience that wouldn’t necessarily go out to a punk show. I’m looking forward to that, and of course it’s the beginning of a tour we’re starting.
Mitch: What are the details of the tour? Cross country or?
Kylee: Oh no, it’s just a short week and a half.
Mitch: Where are you guys headed?
Kylee: We’re going to Cincinnati, I don’t know if this is the order I’d have to look, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey, Cleveland somewhere on the way back, and I might be forgetting something. It’s mostly like a northeast sort of thing.
Mitch: College fests are one thing, but have you guys ever played any bigger festivals?
Kylee: With Dasher? I don’t know, I think my first record release show I booked like seven bands and that was kind of crazy just for one night, but I wouldn’t really consider that a fest or anything. Nothing too crazy.
Mitch: So how often do you get to play shows these days?
Kylee: Whenever I want I guess. I try to keep the local shows down to no more than twice a month, and then try to go on tour. I’ve been on hiatus for about a year, this is the first tour in a while. With the last lineup a lot of crazy stuff happened, so I had to kind of take a step back and take care of some things in my personal life.
Moon: Do you have any tips for younger musicians trying to get out there?
Kylee: Just be okay with sucking. For a really long time. I started playing drums when I was 25 and had never done anything music wise before, I just decided ‘fuck it’. I’ve always been interested in music and going to shows. I think the reason it worked out was because I had come to a point in my life where I just didn’t care what people think very generally, and that was a silver lining for me, because I was really bad at it for a couple years. I wasn’t a really good musician, I just kept doing it. If you practice, you will inevitably get better if you just keep showing up and keep doing it over and over and over. You get better. So be okay with sucking.
Mitch: I feel that’s good advice for anything.
Kylee: It is! And my experience with playing music that way has helped me out with other aspects of life. Getting new jobs or new relationships or new anything – it’s going to be awkward.
At this point we started talking about music we’d been listening to lately, and Kylee was nice of enough to invite us inside to listen to some records. Pulling from an impressive collection, she put on an album by DNA, a no wave band from the 80’s. We talked for a while about artists she’d been into: Lydia Lunch, Crime, and Patty Smith to name a few. A tune or two and a couple minutes later we were back outside.
Mitch: So a little out of left field, but what’s the coolest venue you’ve performed at? Not necessarily the coolest, but your favorite.
Kylee: Probably just house shows. That’s like my favorite thing to do, to play house shows. It doesn’t matter where, but I really like playing with other cool bands I guess. I like playing with a lot of punk bands.
Moon: So along with that question, what’s your favorite memory?
Kylee: Well actually, the one that makes me smile the most is the 88.5 fest we played in Atlanta. At the very end of a song sometimes I hit my snare and my floor tom and I stand up when I do it and yell something into the mic, I peed my pants when I did that. And then I said, ‘Oh my God, I just pissed my pants!’ and it was funny. And that’s happened three times, but that was the first time. There was also a house show I played once in Atlanta, and this girl came up to me and told me she’d heard me play before and because of that she bought a drum set. That was really cool.
Dasher is one of the many great acts at Culture Shock this year. You can check them out on Bandcamp. Do yourself a favor, come out and see the rest! For more information on Culture Shock you can head over here. We hope to see you there!