Courtesy of Dot Allison
FIRESIDE CHAT WITH DOT ALLISON
: What lead you to become a musician?
ALLISON: Well, I've always been a musician, because the music just came
about from family. In 1991, I joined this band called One Dove. There,
we had this critical acclaim and some success. We had quite a lot of success
in the UK with that. That was a good experience. I stayed around until
1996 and then I left, because it kind of ran aground. We had some problems
with our label and things like that. Everything kind of lost it's magic
which was a shame. Then, I set up my own studio in London, and this was
to go solo. It was here where I started constructing Afterglow, by the
end of 96, or 97, after I moved and got settled in. Since then, I enjoyed
some success of Afterglow. I just seem to be growing very much at the
right time, and I'm very glad that I can continue you know?
So you knew you were going to be a musician?
ALLISON: Well, I think it was more of a fantasy-based aspiration. I actually
went to study applied bio-chemistry.
CALLER (BRITISH TELEPHONE LINES): Hello Justin? Justin? Is that you?
I'm not Justin.
ALLISON: Who's that (laughing)?
FJ: I have
no idea. Fucking AT&T.
ALLISON: Oh yeah, don't worry, that must have been one of those phantoms
in the light (laughing). But anyway, I started a degree in applied bio-chemistry
in Grad School, which I left in the second year to go full time with music.
But, that was my reality based aspiration. I came from sort of an exam
oriented, instead of a skill oriented environment. That's why I didn't
think that music was a practical type of choice, although I always loved
music, and played piano. So, instead of keeping that one going, I had
a safety net in a starting degree. But musically, I managed to turn it
into a profession, even though I know that it isn't the easiest thing
to do sometimes. But that's what it was, and it was very fun.
Speaking for myself, I am glad things turned out the way they did.
ALLISON: Oh, that's so great. Thank you, that's so encouraging.
ALLISON: You know what, I had a few favorites. I always liked Blondie,
I had a quite eclectic taste even from when I was quite young. I liked
a lot of the girl group stuff when I was about 14 or 15. When I was 14,
my aunt gave me a huge collection of sixties pop music, and I got really
into that. I have quite an eclectic taste, it's not just one person that
I explicitly like. I have quite a taste. There are also things that my
brother actually got me into. I learned several different bands from my
twin brother, things like Iggy Pop. Yeah, so that was great, I discovered
lots of different things from him.
Was your family supportive?
ALLISON: Well, I think that when I left my degree that second year, my
dad was kind of like, "What are you doing?" I mean they always have been
supportive though. I've been really fortunate that my family has always
been like, "If it makes you happy, then do it." (Coughing) Excuse me,
you're going to have to forgive me, but I have this really bad cold.
I hope you're not too sick, that's never a pleasant thing. What particular
person or group influenced your music the most?
ALLISON: I think Brian Wilson influenced a bit of my song writing. I like
how there is this type of sweet nature to him, and his work. Also, if
this isn't so cold, I think that I inspired myself.
Would you say you have been more successful as a solo artist?
ALLISON: Well, I think that the answer is to be yes and no. I think that
One Dove was pretty successful in the UK, but it didn't really pass that.
But in France, things exploded, in a way that they never did for One Dove.
And also, being in the top five of the college charts in America ,with
the album (Afterglow), that was amazing. We never got anywhere
near that with One Dove. So I guess in America, we sound much better.
So, kind of yes and no I suppose. Yeah, sometimes it's yes, and sometimes
What is your musical goal?
ALLISON: Hmm. That's an interesting question. I think that I just want
to grow in the right turn. I mean, I like the success, but obviously,
that's not what I want. I just like to write what means something to me,
and of course there is honesty in that. My goal is to never compromise
that, to be able to communicate with lots of people, but of course that
means that I won't be able to communicate with all of them. It's quite
dementing at that point. I just want to be successful, and lead a normal
life I suppose.
When you first experienced stardom, did you find it difficult to adapt
to the new lifestyle?
ALLISON: No, because I'm quite oblivious to that. Yeah, I don't really
get like that I suppose. Even when you were saying that, I was thinking
that I'm not really a star. No, I don't really get like that. I think
that I'm slightly more of an adult, a bit more mature than that. I have
somewhat of an intellectual foundation. You know, people might recognize
you, so that's not too bad.
FJ: Do you
ever feel that your musical career takes time away from your personal
ALLISON: No, I don't feel like that at all actually, because that's the
way I want to live my life. I like to be busy doing music. It's more like
if I have time off, that's exactly what's holding me back from my music.
I get enough time for my family, and friends, and that's where I have
time to sit down and recharge my batteries. I still do communicate with
a lot of them, and that's the only other real commitment that I have.
So, it's not really like that. I have a good balance. I could imagine
though if you have that kind of success, that type of global domination
success, that's when your life becomes not your own.
What do you like to do when you're not working on your music?
ALLISON: Actually, I wish that I had more time to go to the cinemas. That's
one thing. I enjoy watching films. And I've done a bit of acting actually.
I had these small parts in film, you know, nothing much, just a start
up. But it was all really fun. It came out okay. Well, it's more of a
hobby I guess, but I would like to do more of that.
Yeah, I tried that once. It didn't go too well.
ALLISON: Well, it is quite difficult. It's just another way of expressing
yourself. It's a completely different arena.
In your second song, "Tomorrow Never Comes," you say, "With a little courage,
and time, you might forgive me." Are those lyrics written from a personal
ALLISON: Yeah, it is a personal experience. Well, it's about me kind of
not living up to somebody's expectations. In that, I didn't reciprocate
a situation in a way that they wanted me to. And, it's also about forgiveness
taking strength, more strength than it takes to be angry. And courage,
it takes courage to forgive someone I think. I think that it's easier
to just dis someone, and to dismiss something. It can be painful to forgive
someone. It's an emotional kind of thing. But I think that it's only forgiveness
that can help you move on from a situation. So, it's kind of that. It's
about somebody, and he's holding himself, over something, that didn't
be. Cause it wasn't ever like I didn't think entirely wrong, or anything,
but it was just like me needing closure from someone, if that makes sense.
Would you say that all of the songs you write are personal?
What is your favorite song on this album?
"Tomorrow Never Comes." I wrote that one first. It's kind of a benchmark
It's a beautiful song.
ALLISON: Thank you.
Would you say was the high point in your career so far?
ALLISON: Well, I think that reaching the top five in the American college
charts (CMJ Charts) has been the best part of my career. That was a big
deal. Cause for having been a student, I know that music has been an important
thing to me in that time.
If you could address one issue to your fans, what would that be?
ALLISON: It would definitely be about prejudice. It's just mindless. You
know, whether it's racism, sexism, or whatever, I think that the chains
got to be broken between circles, triangles, and squares. I used to work
at this place, on this specific street, and every Saturday afternoon,
this group of people used to march through. Well, that was all these protistants,
that were like really extreme, marched through the Catholic area whistling
their pipes, and banging their drums, singing their songs, and just upsetting
everybody. Then you have these Catholics, and Celtics, and Facists, and
then there would just be so much violence. There is just so much hatred
that comes from history. But in their lifetimes, it really doesn't come
from anywhere. And these people would just march along side of these other
marchers, and just start picking these fights. And this was absolute insanity.
I mean, where does all of this hatred come from? I would like people to
see beyond the color of someone's skin, or where they're from, you know,
just things like that. It's just mindless, all that pain and anger.
What do you want your listeners to take away from your music?
ALLISON: I suppose that this is somewhat of a big aspiration, but I would
want my listeners to feel somewhat enlightened about themselves. Cause
I know that sometimes I listen to music for a backdrop, just subconsciously
opening doors for me. I think music can be some sort of a vector that
can take someone someplace else. The music can take you to this space,
where you can go to, and just come back cleansed. Something like that
(laughing). Well, that's how I feel, and I would like to give something
back, that I've gotten out of it. And that would be that.
Let's say that you had the opportunity to meet your biggest fan face to
face. What would you want to say?
DOT ALLISON: Well, I would tell them to be true to themselves. That would
be the big one. It's sometimes painful to be true to yourself. I'm not
sure if that makes sense, but so everybody is in denial of themselves
in so many aspects of their lives. Yes, that would be it.
Any tours in the States?
ALLISON: Well, I'm hoping to go back in February at some point, maybe
ALLISON: Yes, I'd imagine so. Yeah, sure.
It's warm here.
ALLISON: I'm there!
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