Sign up to Melissa Brook’s surf punk “Girl Riot”.
There is no denying that the Aquadolls are Southern California bred. You can hear it in their music alone. Drums and guitar riffs bring out surfer vibes that make you feel a wave of sun. Psychedelic surf punk sounds come together with teenage anthems of fun and good times.
Front woman Melissa Brooks is the poster child of this all. The long-haired blonde’s crop-tops, colourful sun glasses and short shorts make her seem straight out of a American Apparel ad.- It’s no surprise she’s teamed up for projects with them and Vans. But she is more than just the face of the band. She’s studying film and has even edited some of their music videos. She’s also a badass that’s shared the stage with the likes of Kim Gordon, Kathleen Hanna and Kimya Dawson, to name a few.
Aquadolls’ latest track, “Girl Riot” is out today. Electric guitar rips out until Brooks’ vocals incite a frenzy. The perfect mix between shiny Cali drawl and exasperated grunge growls, inspired by the Runaways “Girl Riot” is pop for angst-filled teens. Sign us up for the Girl Riot army now.
We sat down with Brooks fresh off the Aquadolls’ first tour to talk feminism, lyric writing and touring.
Who’s in the band and how did you meet?
I have Ryan Frailich in the band with me. He plays guitar. It’s kinda just us that really do everything. I write all the music and Ryan plays in the band. I met him at a music festival three years ago and I had all these songs written and wanted to put them out online and didn’t know how. I met him and I was like ‘Hey, help me’ so he helped me record some demos… we put it online and started getting shows.
Talk to me about your sound…where do you get inspiration for it?
I’m inspired by all sorts of different things, not only just from music but from my surroundings; going outside kind of just like writing my random thoughts down on paper. I also really love Grimes’ music. I really like FKA Twigs, she’s really trippy.
You say you like writing about being outside, is that why some of your songs are surfy and beachy?
Yea, I hang out in Seal Beach a lot.
Who did you hear growing up?
I listened to a lot of the beach boys and the doors. Britney Spears a lot, Bikini Kill, Hole, Nirvana … Christina Aguilera.
What is your process for writing songs?
Each song is a little different, some songs I’ve written in the shower and just kind of like scrub-a–dub-dub and I’m I like have this melody in my head and then lyrics will come to me so I run to my guitar and like bang out some chords and write in my journal. Then sometimes it’ll be the other way around and I make up chords first and I try to think of lyrics. Sometimes I just take notes in my phone of just random words that I think sound cool together and then start building poems and then I form a song out of that. It’s kind of different each time… I get writer’s block. Sometimes I’m not able to write at all.
How do you get over that writer’s block?
Just going outside and trying to see new things, maybe driving around and going to new places I haven’t seen… I try to get out more and go to different places, I haven’t really gone to. That inspires me to want to write.
Who goes to an Aquadoll show?
I’d say mostly teenagers, a lot of girls. Which is kind of cool ‘cause it’s mostly badass girls that are always moshing, crowd surfing and stuff.
How has your music evolved since you released “Stoked on You” EP online back in November 2013?
I’ve been working on a new album for a while that I’m really anxious to share, you guys will hear new songs soon, but definitely the new sound is evolving into more explosive sound. It’s more in your face and there’s more sounds coming like some synthesizers, heavier guitar there’s really fat drums that are really in your face and dancey and really wild brash vocals. But also I’m really expanding on my lyric writing. Versus the older stuff that is kind of more silly, not really mean to be taken as seriously, but kind of more fun the new stuff is more personal and ripping a page out of my diary. Kind of growing up and the things that I deal with.
You played a show with Kim Gordon, Julie Ruin, Kate Nash and Kimya Dawson? How did that come about?
We got it through Burger records. It’s called Burger a go go and we got to play last year as well which was really fun.. I love cat Power, Ryan actually has a poster of her in his room so we were freaking out when we saw the line-up. I’ve looked up to Kathleen Hanna since middle school and she inspired me … Kim Gordon is so badass.
On social media you post about your dislike of mysogynists and how empowering it is to dress how you want. Do you consider yourself a feminist?
Definitley yes, yes.
If so why is that important to you?
Well I feel like a lot of music down plays women and not all music, but there’s defintley really good music that has really positive messages, but I feel that it’s important to have it in music because it makes people good … [feminism] means being able to do whatever you want because it’s who you are and not being afraid that they’re going, especially men … I have such younger fans, I know when they hear lyrics that are really uplifting and inspiring and make them feel like they are good the way that they are and that they don’t need to change for any guy or anything like that. I would want to hear that as a kid … It’s definitely important for girls to be proud of their bodies, that they’re good the way that they are.
Fashion: Gerardo Carrillo
Photographer: Aminda Villa
Makeup: Karenyna Michelle
Words: Jennifer Velez