Meet Dolly Daggerz from Tokyo Taboo
Happy Feminist Wednesday- introduce yourself to our Bettys!
I’m Dolly Daggerz, front woman for punk rock band Tokyo Taboo!
Tell us how you got started in your craft?
I started out as a solo female artist and started writing pop songs with producers who were involved in pop acts like The Saturdays and Girls Aloud. I met Mickey Danger (my husband and the other half of Tokyo Taboo) during this time and started writing with him. We put together a band and after a really horrible break up before we started dating I wrote angrier songs that were a little less pop and more rock!
From there we have developed and evolved over the last seven years. We’ve honed our skills and played a lot of shows. It’s been a journey and we have worked our asses off!
Tell us why feminism is important to you and how it influences your work?
Feminism will always be important to me as long as a woman feels intimidated by a room of men. I often feel unhappy to be in a room of men and would rather be around women as it makes me feel safer. Obviously a lot of the audiences we play to are male dominated but I’m lucky that my husband is with me on stage so it gives me some security.
It doesn’t surprise me that I find groups of men intimidating. I have no fingers left on my hands to count how many times I've been sexually assaulted. I’ve been assaulted in broad daylight in busy streets and also whilst sleeping in my own home by someone I thought was my friend. The more I think about these things the more occasions I remember and I know from campaigns like the ‘me too’ campaign that I’m not the only one.
Most men in the industry generally seem to be uncomfortable talking business after the show with me and would rather approach my male other half. They assume he is the figure of authority, I guess, when actually I would call myself the ‘boss’ of the band. I usually get stuck post-show instead talking to some random guy at the merch table as I feel too uncomfortable to excuse myself. I’m not sure whether the man in question is going to buy anything so I wait aimlessly for him to lose interest and move along. A lot of men feel like they can critique the band’s performance but will only give me feedback on my body.
A few nights ago an industry guy said I was ‘not as curvy’ as Nina Hagen and it annoyed me that my half an hour set had boiled down to how fat or thin I am. I imagined the same industry guy commenting on my husband’s body and I realised that that would never happen. Sure, I play up to my ‘sex symbol’ image and use it to as part of Tokyo Taboo’s brand but that isn’t all I’m about and it bores me to think I can made to feel so small so quickly after feeling so powerful on stage.
I wrote a song called ‘Pussy Power’ about being seen as ‘just a girl’ and ‘just a slut’ and I sing it angrily throwing my middle finger up the the whole audience, I love performing that song and some nights I sing it more angrily than others. I realise I just accept a lot of the inequality and smaller things that all add up to the fact that women aren’t equal to men.
What do you do to avoid feminist burnout? Whats your favorite self care practice?
I run ten to fifteen miles a day. On a day when I have lots of time I will run and run and run until I can’t anymore. I think this is the healthiest addiction I have ever had. I also love pole, aerial hoop and aerial silk classes. Anything that makes me feel physically strong is a form of self care and also helps me to be the best performer I can be on stage. These activities fuel my creativity and inspire me. They keep me motivated and centred and stop me from feeling stressed, negative and frustrated.
Do you have any advice for anyone starting out in your field?
Oh man! The advise I wish I could have given myself ten years ago! I used to be a people pleaser. (I still am obviously - see merch table example above) I would say best advise is to not please anyone but yourself. A lot of producers, managers etc can use your dreams as a way to get in your pants but keep them away from you! Find someone you can trust who appreciates you on a deeper level who you can work with in a professional way. There are SO MANY creeps out there. Find a team that value you as a person and who will take care of you as artists need a support network.
How can we support your work?
Our new lyric video for our single ‘No Pleasure Only Pain’ is up online now. Watch it here:
Also please share this interview as it means the world to speak openly and honestly about being a female in the music industry!