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In the past few months, RTÉ have shown several documentaries about the experience of Irish people living and working abroad. If such a film were to be made about Dott’s lead singer Anna McCarthy, it would come with an excellent soundtrack. Anna spent a year in Toronto with her husband and Dott’s guitarist Evan O’Connor, where they recorded the inspired Beverly Baldwin EP. It’s named for the area of Toronto where they lived and made the four-track EP.
Now reassembled as a four-piece, with Laura Finnegan on bass and Donal Finnegan on drums, Dott will bring their harmony-driven garage pop to The Loft in Seven, Bridge Street, Galway City on Saturday, July 29. This Galway Fringe Festival gig will also include sets from the sensational Oh Boland and Field Trip.
Was Anna’s Canadian adventure worthwhile from a musical point of view?
“I think so,” she says. “It was kind of a bucket list thing myself and Evan wanted to do, to live in a big North American city. But the visas weren’t there for the US, so we went for Toronto instead. Laura and Donal weren’t in a position to come with us, so we just headed off with the idea that we’d replace them temporarily while we were there.
“Then we bought a Mac Mini and an interface for making music ourselves. We got really into recording ideas for songs/ I enjoyed that. We started playing with a backing track we made, and though we had offers from live drummers, we decided we’d try playing as a duo live. The Toronto chapter of Dott!”
This temporary version of the band was certainly able to travel lighter.
“We were in a tiny car with two guitars and a laptop!” Anna says. “But playing as a duo wouldn’t be something I’d be interested in doing back here again. It was fun for what it was, and we recorded a demo there and released it, just to document that time.”
One of the standout tracks from the demo that became Beverly Baldwin is To-Do List.
“That was about a time when I was out of college and looking for work, and finding it really hard to have long stretches of the day to myself,” Anna explains. “I hate not having things to do, having an empty day. So, I would make my to-do lists!”
Did she get those things done?
“The song’s not even a list, though!” Anna laughs. “It was more what was going through my mind than things I needed to do.”
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.