Kelly Ogden has always wanted to be a mermaid.
The bassist/vocalist for the Dollyrots clarifies: “Growing up in Florida, we were always at the beach, or swimming in a pool or a lake or a spring. I’ve just always felt at home in the water.”
Being suited to both land and sea has been a theme in Kelly’s life, and has been woven into the imagery and songwriting on the Dollyrots’ new album, Whiplash Splash. Being half human and half fish seems a fitting metaphor for the way the band now splits their time between downtown Los Angeles and coastal Florida, or how they manage to balance touring life on the road with parenthood at home.
Whiplash Splash is the Dollyrots’ sixth studio LP, and their first since 2013’s Barefoot and Pregnant. And after touring with their rat Snuffy, their dog Quito, and their son River, it also marks the addition of their new daughter Daisy to their entourage.
“We only had three months to write, record, and finish the album between the launch of our PledgeMusic campaign and the birth of our daughter,” says guitarist Luis Cabezas. “Parenthood doesn’t afford us the time to overthink things anymore. We tracked everything at home and went with our first instincts when it came to the music and lyrics.”
The result is an album that’s focused, sharp, and completely fan-funded. During their 16-year career, the Dollyrots have released albums on labels like Blackheart and Lookout!, but have successfully crowdfunded their last few releases thanks to their loyal (and generous) fans. Whiplash Splash is the band’s fifth collaboration with producer John Fields, known for his work with All Time Low, Switchfoot, Andrew W.K., and so many others.
The Dollyrots plan to tour in support of the album while River and Daisy are still portable, but their days of traveling in a crusty van and waking up hungover on random people’s floors are behind them.
“The album art is a mermaid alone, isolated. It can be difficult sometimes; there aren’t a lot of women I know who are living this same split lifestyle,” Kelly explains.
“But mermaids are also a symbol of transformation and growth. And that’s something to be excited about.”