A rock band deciding to cover a Drake song in New York City sounds like a plan for potential disaster. Are they trying to be ironic?, the crowds would surely think. Are they making fun? Are they actually into this?
For Dilly Dally, a grunge-infused four-piece from Drizzy's hometown of Toronto, it actually made perfect sense, at least geographically. But that didn't stop singer/guitarist Katie Monks from fearing what a New York audience would think of them playing "Know Yourself."
"I was like, I don't know, I think we’ll get the sh-t kicked out of us in New York if we play it down there," she recently told MTV News. "I was scared that people were gonna beat us up, 'cause I was like, no, there’s real rappers in New York. Turns out, we didn’t get beat up, and instead, we were congratulated."
Dilly Dally covered the song at the CMJ Music Marathon in October, using it to segue into their own tune "Purple Rage." Monks' characteristically ragged voice rips through both, flipping Drake's declaration of hometown pride ("runnin' through the 6 with my woes") into a shrieking battle cry. It's not a gimmick at all, she says, and it wasn't meant to be "strategic" to get onto the buzzy radar.
No, if they were going for the pop-culture jugular, they might've opted for MTV's recently crowned song of 2015, "Hotline Bling," instead. Except, Monks isn't into that one as much.
"I think 'Know Yourself' is way better than 'Hotline Bling,'" she said with a laugh. "Totally! The keyboards in 'Hotline Bling' -- like, it sounds like elevator music. 'Know Yourself' is way more confident of a song."
Dilly Dally knows about confidence. The four-piece -- made up of Monks, guitarist Liz Ball, bassist Jimmy Tony and drummer Benjamin Reinhartz -- began as just Monks and Ball and their homemade teenage demos but has since bloomed into a forceful, grunge-infused band. Partisan Records (and Buzz Records in Canada) released the band's impressive, loud debut album, Sore in the U.S. and internationally, on Oct. 9.
A few of the album's songs stem from the band's time recording in the studio in March, but a few are older than that -- like, way older. Monks wrote the frantic "Green" nearly a decade ago, a fact she says is sort of a bizarre realization for her to come to considering how much has changed in her life since then.
"To commit to one piece of art for so long, the thing is that it’s always changing, and it means something new to you as time goes on," she said. It’s almost like being married, like a successful marriage. The sex would be so on point right now."
Monks and her bandmates are part of a generation that tends to move around a lot, whether it's via traveling or looking elsewhere for work or moving back home for a bit when the money gets tight. So to stick with something for 12 years (as long as Monks and Ball have been bonded by music) is a minor miracle. But there's a reason why it works. "I just find music is kind of that place where you never have to grow up," Monks said.
Twitter is like that, too, and Monks likens it to high school because of the trolls that hang out there, but only sometimes. It can also be a really great platform for connecting with fans, like the 15-year-old from Hamilton, Ontario (50 miles south of Toronto), who painted his guitar to look like hers and sent a picture of it. Or the first-time listeners who shout out the band just to say they're into the music.
Social media also does a bit of the promo work as the four gear up for a European tour that will take them to the U.K., Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, and France in January. That's what's cool about sticking with music for over 10 years: No matter what, the drive to push forward is always there.
"We still do believe in it unanimously, you know?" Monks said. "It’s like, cool. This is our lives now."