The Aquadolls – ‘Powerful Female Vocals & Full Circle Moments’

I sat down with The Aquadolls straight after their set that opened Day 4 of Lollapalooza on the Grubhub Stage.

This all female, punk band from the Greater LA area, is fronted by Melissa Brooks (who formed the band in 2012), with Jackie Proctor on drums and Keilah Nina on bass. These badass punk chicks also opened for Jimmy Eat World at Chicago’s Metro as part of Lollapalooza’s Aftershow series, and are set to play Beachlife Festival and Ohana Festival in September.

The Aquadolls exude a positively energetic, and powerfully confident vibe. A mix of influences and life experiences between this trio, makes for their inspiringly eclectic, powerful punk rock n roll music.

Disappearing Girl‘ has just been released, and their previous cover of Lash‘s ‘Take Me Away‘ has already amassed over 1M plays, and over 125K monthly Spotify listeners. It’s no wonder this badass trio have opened for the likes of Pennywise, Kate Nash and Vivian Girls, toured with White Reaper, and played festivals alongside Weezer, Rancid, Cat Power, and FIDLAR.

Thank you so much for sitting down with me today, and welcome to Lollapalooza! You’ve just come off stage, how was the experience?

Melissa: It was so fun, like super fun! We were on so much adrenaline, so it was just so exciting!

Tell me about The Aquadolls

Melissa: We started in 2012 and had a few line up changes over the years. Then we got these lovely babes in the band in 2018 and we’ve been going strong since, playing festivals and touring. Then Covid hit and we switched over to doing live streams, trying to engage with fans online more, doing Tik Toks and stuff like that. Chicago is our first time back playing since Covid. We played with Jimmy Eat World on Friday night for the Lollapalooza Afterparty and today was our first festival since 2019.

How amazing was it playing with Jimmy Eat World?

Keilah: So friggen sick!

Melissa: They were really kind and the sound was great and the crowd was great. It was a really great show

Keilah: The crowd was insane. It was really nerve racking having that as our first show back after so long off of the stage. But the crowd was really welcoming. The band was really welcoming. We got to meet Jim, he was super-duper sweet. I feel I blacked out a little. I woke up at the end of the last song on the floor and I was like “we did it!”. I think it was slightly more nerve racking than Lolla because it was the first first show back, but it was a good warm up because the crowd we had today was pretty insane. So it was nice to get some warmup shows in before we had such a big crowd of people.

Are you hoping to experience anyone else today?

Melissa: Foo Fighters. Jackie can tell you about that.

Jackie: It’s like my dream to even play with them. I am still in shock. This is my ultimate. This is it. I am good from here in out.

And Jackie, why is that? Anyone in Foo Fighters in particular you admire?

Jackie: Ah. Dave Grohl!

Melissa: He’s a favorite around here! We also want to see Rico Nasty, The Front Bottoms for sure.

Tell me about your backgrounds. What brought you to the point of where you are now, and who your biggest influences are?

Melissa: Me personally, I’ve been doing music my whole life. I started singing in church choir when I was seven, then did musical theater. I was in other bands when I was in high school, but nothing serious. Then I started The Aquadolls when I graduated high school, with the intentions of making an all-girl punk band, blowing up and taking over the world. Almost nearly ten years later, here we are at Lolla! My influences would be No Doubt, Gwen Stefani, I had a big ole poster of her in my room. She was my first concert when I was in 4th grade. Bikini Kill, Britney Spears Christina Aquilera, Avril Lavigne, all those iconic pop legends and iconic 90s rock. Powerful female vocals really drive me.

Keilah: For me, both of my parents are deaf, so I didn’t get any music passed down to me too much, just because it really wasn’t part of my parents’ life when they were younger. In middle school, I started to find my own thing, I was into a lot of Emo bands. I didn’t think I would be in music, I knew I wanted to entertain, I did musical theater, I did plays, I love to write so Patty Smith is my all time favorite musician, poet, writer, artist ever in terms of inspiration. Music ways, I love L7, Lunachicks, I love a lot of those 80s and 90s punk bands. I love the Ramones, Kiss, New York Dolls, that glammie, punkie type stuff, so that’s where I’m coming from with influences. It was a lot of trial and error. I did a lot of internet searching in middle school, because my parents were strict on what they would let me listen to when I was little. It was Radio Disney up until middle school. But once I broke out of the parental control, I got to spread out a little, so that’s kind of where I come from.

Jackie: I’ve been playing music since I was also six or seven. I played the piano. Then I quit that and mom said you should pick something else, and I was like “I wanna play the drums like my uncle”. It was cool to be a girl and a drummer, so it gave me confidence. I’ve been in mostly all girl bands, and this one stuck. I really like Queen, Bikini Kill. I listen to so much of everything.

Let’s talk Australia! Has anyone been to Australia?

Melissa: Not yet! That’s my dream! It’s a bucket list for sure!

Keilah: Oh gosh! I had this weird phase in middle school and high school when I was super into 5 Seconds of Summer. So I was all like, “I’m gonna go there, I’m gonna start calling flip flops, thongs, and I’m gonna just go for it!” I really thought I was going to marry one of them, so needed to know everything about everything Australia, it was so embarrassing.

Well it sounds like Australia is going to love you. We love our punk, our heavier stuff down there.

Keilah: That sounds like my kinda place

Melissa: Do you know Violent Soho? I like them a lot

What is your favorite festival you’ve played so far, other than Lolla today of course?

Jackie: We played the final Warped Tour, the 25th Anniversary.

Melissa: I went to the Warped Tour when I was a kid too. My mom would take me when I was 10, 11, 13 and 15. The first one I went to was 2008 when Katy Perry played on the side stage to no-one, and I got to meet her. She signed my arm and pretended I was so rad. I wrapped it and showered with wrap on my arm for a month because I was like “I wanna get it tattooed”. And my mom was like “no!” because I was literally 13, so I don’t have the tattoo but still have the memories.

Alison (WoS): That’s an iconic moment!

Melissa: Yes! So getting to play was full circle moment.

Any plans to tour Australia soon? What are your dreams and aspirations of getting down there?

Melissa: Well maybe next year, you never know. That’s our dream.

Keliah: Our manager was talking about possibly wanting us to go there, he really wants us to go out there. I definitely want to get out there as soon as we can.

Interview courtesy of Alison Northway. Instagram: @alisonnorthway

Find The Aquadolls online here

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