Tone Talk with Dossey

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Photo provided by artist with permission to use
       

Dossey likes funk, pop, electro, and Andrew Lloyd Webber and says she likes to “make a weird blend of those things,” describing it as “glitter-soaked.” Growing up listening to Mariah Carey and Madonna, she would create mixtapes to sing along to, over and over. She has recently gotten into funk music, which she says, “I can tell you, I am obsessed.”

When it comes to guitar, what is your definition of tone, and how has it changed over the years?
Tone to me is akin to rhetoric. Less about the words you’re saying, and more about the vibe, how it makes you feel. I used to make music that was super sound-scapey and lush. Now, I make stuff that has a big fat bassline and jangly drums. What I’m doing on guitar is way less about creating verbed out blankets and more about choppy grooves.

Which guitars, amps, and pedals are you currently using and why?
Guitar-wise, I play a custom Moniker Rival Series electric guitar. It’s semi-hollow, and because of that and the pickup configuration, it has the ability to sound like a Tele or a Jazzmaster. Pedal-wise, I have a pretty minimal board—a cheap compressor I got off Amazon, into an EM-Drive, and then a Bellwether for verb/delay. I also use a Radial JDX Direct-Drive when I don’t play through an amp, which is when I’m with a band. By myself, I’ll turn the compression and overdrive down and play through an old banged up Vox that my buddy sold me for one hundred dollars. I also play a Loar acoustic parlor size guitar that I bought at a resale shop for two hundred dollars. I’m a big believer in not spending a bunch of money on an instrument just because people tell you it’s “the best.” Just buy what sounds good to you.

What about strings?
I usually go with a heavier gauge Elixir. I play hard, and with a thick, triangular pick, so lightweight strings and I do not get along.

Are there certain recording techniques you prefer in the studio?
Take risks! Don’t do what everyone says you’re supposed to do, just because it’s the “right” way. I am a big believer in not being afraid to speak my mind and give a voice to every idea I have because I TRUST the producer or engineer will help me sort through it all. I also produce a lot of my own stuff in Ableton so that I can get a lot of the weird out from the comfort of my own home. (It’s been helping me get some really cool vocal stuff out that I otherwise might be too scared to try in front of anyone else!)

How do you keep your sound consistent onstage?
I play to a click, with ears and tracks, and am a pretty big stickler about the band that surrounds me. I believe that my band is full of some of the best players in Austin, but not only that, they thrive even when subject to concrete form. I value simplicity over showboating—play a simple line really well, and you got a hook. “Chicks dig the melody.”

What does your practice consist of?
I do not practice enough. My brain likes to do too many things—I can’t focus enough on one at a time. This is why I’ve gotten into production so much; I think. If I get bored with one thing, it’s just a click away to work on something else. I will say that the most I’ve ever grown as a player have been the times that I committed to hitting the grind at least an hour every day.

What is your advice for young women who hope to work in the music industry?
Don’t look left and right. Just set your eyes on what you want and go for it. Let someone else’s experience or journey be someone else’s. Only you know who you are, or what you want, and that may change—which is totally fine. Do what makes you happy—work hard at it—and you will succeed. It may or may not look like what you thought it would, but at least it’ll be yours, and it’ll be right.