We’re excited to announce that we’ve partnered with Doll Skin for our Roadie for a Day program! At every date of the 2018 Final Vans Warped Tour , we will be bringing a young woman to shadow and learn what it‘s like to be a member of the Doll Skin crew.
We aim to open the door for dedicated and qualified young women to gain practical experience in a live music and festival setting.
Applications for Doll Skin’s Roadie for a Day are now closed. Thank you to all who applied!
Q&A with the members of Doll Skin
What made you want to go into music?
Meghan Herring (drums):My adventures in music have always felt natural to me. It was never a choice for me. It felt right to go into my path as a drummer. It was involuntary. ♥
Alex Snowden (guitar): My mom took me to see Green Day when I was 10 and I knew right away I wanted to be on stage playing guitar. The command that the music held over this massive arena full of people was an experience I’ll never forget. That’s exactly how I want people to feel coming to a show, listening to my music!
Nicole Rich (bass): When I was around 13 years old, I was crazy into My Chemical Romance!!! They were such a huge inspiration to me in so many ways and I saw the impact they were making with music and wished I could do that too. I heard of Lyn-Z Way because of them, saw her live with Mindless Self Indulgence and ever since I knew I wanted to be just like her.
Sydney Dolezal (vocals): I actually had this huge dream of being a pop star like Hannah Montana when I was like 9/10 years old, haha. But what got me into wanting to be in a real band was seeing my cousin perform with the School Of Rock here in Arizona when I was about 12. Seeing a real rock show opened my mind to the idea of playing and performing rock music. From the moment I had my first performance with the School Of Rock, I was hooked on that becoming what I do for the rest of my life. However, before the School Of Rock, I played Ariel in a local production of The Little Mermaid. So, I like to say that’s where I realized my passion for performing and entertaining.
How did you get your start?
Meghan: When I was 9, I was introduced to drumming by a friend of my mom’s. I started taking lessons very soon after. When my teacher told me I was a natural, I knew it was for me. After he moved away, I taught myself for 6 years. Then I enrolled in the School of Rock, which introduced me to a whole new world. It changed my life, and it introduced me to the girls.
Alex: I took guitar lessons from a variety of very talented musicians, I worked with 5+ different teachers in the span of a couple years. I played around AZ with a few different bands I was in, as well as with the School of Rock ‘house band’. The band played huge sets of rad classic covers, and got to open for Lynyrd Skynyrd, Social Distortion, and Joan Jett! I’ve held on to some serious discipline and stage etiquette from that band… Somewhere in there I started at a performing arts high school in Phoenix for guitar and music theory. That’s when my passion and drive for music really kicked in. I didn’t know much about theory or a lot of the skills my virtuoso of a guitar teacher was using, but this dude had high hopes for me. I’m a full blown theory nerd now, so I guess stressing through all those classes was motivating! Doll Skin was alive and well at this point, so that internal push to play well and write creatively now had somewhere to go.
Nicole: I started at School of Rock with the other girls in Doll Skin. We all took lessons there and then one day Meghan rounded us up to play a battle of the bands at her high school and he rest is history!
Sydney: Like I said, I started at the School Of Rock in Scottsdale, Arizona when I was about 12 years old. That’s where I got my first proper vocal lessons and started really performing on stage. That’s also where I met the girls! We all took lessons there and did all the programs together and such.
What’s been your biggest challenge as a woman in music?
Meghan: Everyone has their challenges in this industry. For me, it’s been balancing your life with mental health. I struggled with the craziness of it all in the beginning, when we were touring very heavily. I used to be a very anxious human being. As I’ve aged in this band, I’ve felt myself grow into the newly confident, strong woman that I am now. It’s not easy to get to that point, but I did it. I don’t think my anxiety will completely go away, but I’m proud of myself for overcoming the worst of it. I conquered some of my biggest fears in this band and now I feel like I can do almost anything.
Alex: The initial doubt when you show up to a gig is maddening. People just assume we’re going to suck, being an all-female band. This is, if they haven’t already assumed I’m the merch girl for another band. This translates into the press side of music as well, it makes me sick when DS is presented as a gimmick in some publication because of our gender. It’s uncomfortable for sure, but it’s extremely satisfying knowing you’ve changed their minds after a set. To summarize, my biggest challenge as a woman in the music industry is getting rid of those WHACK negative views of women, and gender in general.
Nicole: I would probably say the underestimation. Countless times people have told us they didn’t expect us to be good at all when they saw us get on stage simply because were women. For some reason, people just assume we can’t actually play music because we’re girls, it wouldn’t be a show without someone asking if we’re a girlfriend of someone in the band haha. It sucks how much people doubt us because of our gender but boy it feels so good to prove them wrong!
Sydney: Being doubted SUCKS. And for some reason, everyone has this idea planted in their head that women are just not as good as men when it comes to any other music than pop. So getting around that whole thing has been hard. However, the girls and I all know that by the time our set is over, we’ve changed everyone’s minds. Being confident is so important and knowing that, no matter who says what, you’re doing what you love and doing it well is a big part of getting around that whole stigma and such.
What does empowerment in music mean to you?
Meghan: It means speaking for those that don’t have the voice to do so. Sometimes it seems like most women have to give an arm and a leg to be noticed and taken seriously in this industry. We’ve been very lucky in our career and we want to use our platform to be there for girls who need it. That’s why for warped this year we hired an entirely female crew.
Alex: Music is a unique medium of empowerment because it can be absorbed differently depending on the listener and what they need or what in their lives. Music as a whole has a massive sense of community, based upon creative freedom. Within that kind of environment, empowerment means encouragement with a fire under its ass; sharing passion with an outreached hand.
Nicole: Representation! I started playing bass because I was inspired by another girl playing bass, it really helps to have someone you can identify with to look up to for sure. Right now the music industry is such a male dominated industry and it is super daunting when you’re only surrounded by other dudes. Women can do all the same things that guys are doing, we just need to be given fair chances and opportunities to show that we can.
Sydney: Empowerment in music to me means a couple different things. It means that some people are going to have to get used to seeing more talented female musicians taking charge in the music industry. It means that some people that already have a high power in the industry need to take a step back and realize that they can bring up women in the industry to set an example and to show that things can change. It’s so important for young girls to have powerful examples to follow and be empowered by in the music industry and it’s about time that there’s more women for them to look up to for that.
What are you hoping to gain from mentoring a young woman in music?
Meghan: We are hoping we can inspire young female musicians like we were inspired by other female musicians. We’ve had many girls come up to us and tell us they picked back up their instruments after hearing us and that is amazing.
Alex: I want to gain insight on how exactly a young woman feels taking those early stabs at the music industry. I lived through that same process but it’s insanely different for everyone. I think it will be very interesting to observe that process, and hopefully gain some pointers as to how I can make this same process more comfortable or welcoming for others in the future.
Nicole: To hopefully inspire her and show her that she can do it too. People are so quick to say that they support women but it doesn’t help unless they give women opportunities and hire them for things. We as a band want to help out and lift up as many women as we can and try to give them as much of a leg up as we can in such a male dominated field.
Sydney: I hope to gain the knowledge from her. I hope to gain more confidence in more young women knowing that they’re getting out there and doing what they love. I hope to gain more friends and allies in the music industry as they take what they learned from us and apply it to finding a place in this business.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to a young girl trying to get their start?
Meghan: Don’t let the boys intimidate you. You can surpass any musicians tenfold if you put the time, practice and dedication into it.
Alex: FUCK THE STIGMA. Show up and own it. If anyone has an issue with that, it’s their problem, not yours. Gender does not affect your hard work, your grind, and your reward.
Nicole: Say yes to everything but learn to say no. Try to give every opportunity you’re offered a chance, but also know the fine line between when something is going to help advance you vs harm you. Opportunities will come at you in the strangest of ways and it’s super important to be open to anything but not let anyone take advantage of you.
Sydney: Do what you want with all your might. Find friends and family who fan your flame and encourage you to go places and continue on an upward and onward path in whatever it is you want to do. There’s a lot of things and people who will try to get you down for whatever reason but as long as you have the support behind you, anything is possible. But first and foremost, you have to be strong within yourself and really have confidence in everything you do.