Interview with Dublin Rose

Maddison Clarke

So, to start off, congratulations on winning the recent QUT Battle of the Bands! How did this moment feel and what did it mean to you?

I was so happy because the boys have only just joined me as a backing band, and I was just so happy that we achieved something so big so quickly. I was so glad that they were a part of it and that, in a way, I’m reassuring them they should be a part of it. Like, after winning, I hope they feel this could really work. But for myself, winning the first Battle of the Bands I have ever entered in my life was pretty monumental.


Speaking of your recent band, how does it feel performing with others behind you compared to solo?

Well, I would say that at first it was so weird not having full control. You have to think about what everyone else is doing and stay in time etc. For example, I didn’t realize, but in so many of my songs I would speed up astronomically in the bridge or something and my band mate would say, “Do you want me to speed up or do you want me to stay on tempo?” But overall, it’s so good having the fullness of a band. I always dreamed of a band, but until now I couldn’t find people who were equally as motivated or wanted to be in it for a long period of time.


When did you start singing and songwriting, and what made you begin this journey?

I started getting into music when I did musical theatre in primary school. I remember I was in the choir in primary school and then a music teacher at Sacred Heart said that they were looking for Munchkins to be in The Wizard of Oz. I was in Grade 3 and my best friend Alice and I were like, let’s audition to be Munchkins. I found I just loved being on stage. I had one solo line, and it was like, “the witch is dead,” or something. I did around 11 musicals after that and loved it; I wanted to be a Broadway star. But then in Grade 7, I moved to Cairns, and I started this. I busked a lot on the Esplanade which I loved. It was just me and a backing track and I would sing the most cringe songs, like Meghan Trainor or something. When I was making heaps of money at age 12, I was like, damn, I could do music for real. So, when I came back to Brisbane, I started busking at the Redcliffe markets every Sunday, and I realised it would be pretty awesome if I could accompany myself. So, I started learning guitar. When I had my own instrument, that’s where the songwriting came in.


What is your songwriting process like, and do you have a specific time of day you write?

Honestly, I would say there’s no specific time of day. I don’t always sit down and try to write a song. Sometimes they just come for example, I literally just had a class and then had this idea. I quickly ran into a practice room with a chorus I had just come up with. Or another example, I was walking up the other side of the campus recording voice memos on the street. Sometimes I’m really naughty and I put my voice memos on in the car. But then I won’t be able to turn it off and the recording would just be going for 15 minutes for one sentence of content.

I probably write my best songs in my bedroom, like on my bed with my acoustic guitar. But recently I bought a new guitar. It’s a real American Fender jazz master that’s like a vintage cream colour. So, I’ve been doing some more cool electric guitar stuff. But most of the time I start with a melody. Or I’ll play one or two chords for fun and then I’ll sing a whole melody and draft it out. All the rest of the chords then build from that. I rarely go, I have this awesome guitar part I just wrote, and I was so excited to make something with it. It’s more like, I have these great lyrics and now I’m going to add some spice.


What or who inspires your music the most?

Honestly, just my daily life, like when something bad or embarrassing happens or something really sad or heartbreaking. I’ll think, oh, that’s the worst in the world but then I’ll make myself write a song about it. So, in some way I got something good out of a bad moment because I wrote a good song. And in a way, I’m happy because now I wrote this song, you know, it’s a way of feeling better.

Some artists who’ve inspired my writing would be Kate Miller Heidke, Benee, Taylor Swift, Beach Bunny, Lana Del Rey, Fiona Apple. You know, all the classics going on. I would say I listen to those female artists the most, but I also love older stuff, some more quiet folk songs etc. Honestly, my playlist is all mixed up.


What does your music aim to say?

Well, I feel like every song says something different, but overall, I like to make my songs super specific and niche. Like if it’s a love song, it’s not just saying I’m in love. It’s saying all these funny little things that are specific to me. And I love to write heaps of lyrics that just reveal who I am, even if I embarrass myself in them or it’s overly emotional. I want people to think, wow, that’s so unique or something, because they’re so specific to me. I don’t want them to be songs that could necessarily be sung by anyone, which, you know, that’s how most artists would want it. Rather than wanting everyone to relate, I kind of just want myself to relate. But then because it’s so specific, people might find it funny.


What would be your dream venue to perform at?

I haven’t even thought about that. I reckon playing at Riverstage would be pretty amazing. It’s one of my favourite venues to watch artists, so hopefully it’d be good to perform at. But literally any big places, like Fortitude or something. I’d say my favourite venue I’ve already played at would be the Brightside. When we did that gig, it was the first gig ever with the band. It just felt really different, you know, it was such a high-up stage, which I’m not used to. I’m used to doing my little acoustic sets on the floor, and at Brightside, I was up on a stage and I could see every single person’s face. The lights were all wild and I felt like a real pop star. I don’t know if it was necessarily the best venue, but that was one of my favourite performances.


I hear that you are currently recording some new music! How has this recording process been for you?

The recording process has been great. Way more time consuming than I had thought because we’d been experimenting and stuff. For example, at the start of the year, we recorded a single, but then by the time we got round to second semester we were so well rehearsed as a band that we were like, darn we could honestly re-record this so much better. So, we restarted, which meant doing a lot more hours but I’m glad because having held it off, it got a lot better. And I’m not much of a producer in any way but being in the studios and hearing the boys talk or learning all the different microphones was really cool. I’m excited to one day have a studio somewhere literally in my house so I can just wake up and go, oh, I’m going to spend 20 minutes in the studio. That would be my dream.


Do you have any gigs coming up that our readers can keep an eye out for?

Oh, yes. We’re playing at the Vermillion Fest. It’s on Thursday October 19th at Rick’s Backyard, and we are headlining at 8:30 p.m. The whole afternoon starts at 3 p.m. so there will be lots of other artists playing as well.

Dublin Rose is an upcoming singer, songwriter, and guitarist from Brisbane. She has a soft, playful style mainly of the Indie-pop genre. Dublin captivates audiences with her relatable lyrics and storytelling ability. Having released three singles on Spotify, two of which were self-produced, Dublin is aspiring for a career as a successful, touring musician. She has been busking and performing at festivals since the age of 12, and now also performs regularly at weddings, events, and bars. Dublin is currently studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Music) at QUT and was chosen as an artist for Vermilion Records this year. She has recently adopted a backing band and is in the process of recording her music.

Interviewer: Maddi Clarke is an emerging Brisbane-based writer and singer-songwriter studying creative writing at QUT. Through her storytelling and songwriting, she hopes to connect with others by exploring and echoing the human experience. She is also passionate about weaving fantastical tales and building secondary worlds that reflect and critique elements of our own. 

Editors: Suzy Darlington