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A Q&A with Dasher's Kylee Kimbrough 

Singer/drummer talks noise, pop, and Patti Smith

BIG BEAT: Dasher vocalist/drummer Kylee Kimbrough

Mike Koenig

BIG BEAT: Dasher vocalist/drummer Kylee Kimbrough

After releasing a debut cassette in May titled Yeah I Know, bassist Ian Deaton (God's Balls), guitarist Jon Allinson (Abby GoGo), and singer/drummer Kylee Kimbrough have been on a secret tear. Over the last two years, the sound and vision of the group known as Dasher has grown with a dark and experimental approach to crafting raw, noise-pop dirges. With a three-song 7-inch coming together for a fall/winter release via Atlanta's long-standing Die Slaughterhaus Records, Dasher's principal songwriter and founding member Kimbrough tells about her recently realized musical influences, finding meaning in her songs, and where it's all going from here.

How long has Dasher been a band?

Maybe a year and a half. I might have started two years ago but didn't form a band till about six months later. The first two people that I played with were only around for a few months. Since then the lineup has been pretty consistent.

You sent me demos for an unnamed project about two years ago. Was that the beginning of Dasher?

Yeah, and I don't remember why I called it Dasher. Maybe it sounded cool, like a really fast person or something. Now everybody says, "Oh, like the reindeer!" I'm like, "Awe man, no! ... Yes, but no."

Did you write all of the songs on the Yeah I Know cassette?

I wrote the songs on bass, and then lyrics and drums. Then I show Ian the bass lines and sometimes he puts embellishments on them. I played all the bass on the original demos, but Ian plays much more fluidly than I do. Now he's playing the same bass lines and they sound so much better. Jon pretty much comes up with all of his guitar parts. There are a few things in each song that I'll specifically ask for — like hang on this note, or to make part of a song really noisy — but he'll just do his thing. I usually like whatever they come up with, so it's never been a fight.

What kind of music do you call it?

That has baffled me and everyone else from the beginning. I've been compared to dozens of bands that never even occurred to me. It's punk but there's a lot of noise. ... It's like pop music with a punk foundation. I don't really know what I'm doing, but everything comes out all right. I want to keep things simple, and I don't ever want to sit down with the intention of making a song like this or like that. I've never done that before, and it seems to be working. I'm trying not to force anything — keep it fun. Luckily I have Jon and Ian to tie it all together.

I definitely have some strong influences. I don't think I was doing it at first, but now I try to tap into some of what they've done. Patti Smith is a big one. One of our new songs is not a cover, but people have said, "Hey, good Patti Smith cover!" ... It's still a compliment to me. I use three chords and they did that a lot on the first record, but it's the way I sing it. I'm trying to find my voice, and this is the first band I've ever sung in. I didn't think I could sing at all, or that I'd ever want to sing when the band started, but since no one else wanted to I ended up having to do it. Now I'm trying to actually sing instead of scream everything. Patti Smith is a big influence on that stuff, and as far as my songwriting goes, Wire is a big one.

The first three albums?

Specifically Pink Flag and 154. Killing Joke and Sonic Youth are also pretty big for me; a lot of bands around town, too. All my friends that I look up to, I get to see and know their songs personally, which makes them even more important. GG King and Predator, and hardcore bands like Manic and Ralph and stuff that's happening now. Manic has a song in which they play the notes right next to each other — really dissonant — which creates this feeling of evil or something. It's really dark, and I know that my songs don't sound like theirs, and I certainly can't play as fast as they do, but I'm into exploring and writing stuff like that.

Dasher is releasing a 7-inch on Die Slaughterhaus Records this year?

We played at the Drunken Unicorn one night and Mark Naumann asked if he could do a 7-inch with us. We were like, "Hell yeah!" We're recording the second week of July. Mark wants us to book a tour for when that comes out eventually, so that'll probably be a winter/fall thing. He wants to get the label going strong again, and focus on stuff that he thinks is good now. We have two new songs, and we're re-recording an older one, "Time Flies." I wrote it at the lowest point of my life this year. It ended up being a message to myself to get my shit together, and I have since then. I've remembered what I was telling myself in the song: "Time flies/Watch out, you might wash out." Life is short, so do what you have to do. When I'm screaming that shit, I'm telling myself every time I play that song. It's therapeutic.

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