Dolores Forever are one of the UK’s most exciting new acts. Their infectious, fully-formed alt-pop had us hooked from first listen. With a promise of lots more music to come in 2024, we meet the band’s Julia Fabrin and Hannah Wilson to find out how they got so good?
We know you met at a house party in London – but how did that lead to Dolores Forever being formed?
Hannah: We were both songwriters on different paths. For me, I was in bands when I was younger but then sort of hated it – the knockbacks and self-promotion. I’m a sensitive soul and I really do just love making music. I found out about songwriting by reading about Xenomania, Brian Higgins and that whole pop factory. So I went into songwriting. When we met, neither of us was really looking for another project. It just felt right.
Julia: I was in some projects, also for other artists, mostly in Denmark. I also really thought I was done with the artist thing.
What was it that made you want to give it a go together?
Hannah: It was the way our tastes crossover. Because when writing for others, especially in sort of pop world, which is stuff that I’ve done. I can write certain elements of those genres. But I also love more like indie-leaning music, and there’s not much of an outlet for that if you want to write but not perform. We knew we could write the kinds of songs that we were missing and we would be the outlet, I suppose. And then it grew and evolved and then became a thing where we knew what we wanted to say and how we wanted to say it. It was a natural creative evolution.
Julia: That and singing together. It was so easy. I trust Hannah’s creative instincts. She trusts mine. We never shut down each other’s ideas.
Have you been in situations as songwriters or in past projects where your ideas weren’t heard?
Hannah: Literally daily. Our entire lives is people mansplaining stuff to us. The music industry is an interesting place for anyone and especially for a woman. You get shut down all the time. And we’re always grateful we’ve got each other. I definitely wouldn’t do this on my own. The amount of times we’ve had to moan at each other about things that we’ve found frustrating – there’s an awesome strength in leaning on each other.
Julia: We had a great experience recently where a sound guy tried to explain the difference between distortion and reverb to me. That’s basic knowledge that I use every day in my working life.
Hannah: You learn where to be assertive and when to let things wash over you. And then you go and laugh about it together.
Can you each tell us one thing about your bandmate that makes them a great creative partner?
Hannah: Jools is so positive. And I am so critical/cautious. That’s our main amazing counterbalance of each other. It gets us to a good place – the right amount of critical thinking and positivity.
Julia: Hannah is an amazing songwriter. But also we have so much fun during the tours. I’ll be having a bad day and then I’ll see her and we’ll have a cup of coffee and start talking.
Hannah: We’ve got each other’s backs. Being friends first was the way to do it. I heard an actress on Woman’s Hour recently talking about how she values friendships equal to and above romantic relationships and family. That’s a huge part of what we stand for. We always wanted this project to promote women and friendship and finding strength in that.
Your track, ‘Good Time All The Time’ touches on the fake nature of social media – how not every day needs to be Insta-perfect, as it were. What prompted you to write that song?
Julia: With everyone being so connected, I’m so aware of what each other is doing all the time. Whether it’s people we know or people we don’t know. No one presents the true reality.
Hannah: People are always striving for excellence. They know the most about food and drink or interiors or fashion. Everyone’s amazing at everything now apparently. But I think it’s alright to not be amazing at everything and have your entire world look and feel amazing all the time. Everyone thinks they know everything. It was amazing during COVID how everyone suddenly became biologists.
Julia: It’s not about the opposite either – about saying everything is shit either. There are these extreme highs and lows which people pick out on social media because that’s what grabs people’s attention. But life is about all the stuff in between too.
What do you think about the state of pop music at the moment?
Julia: It’s exciting. There are less boxes you have to fit into. The genres have all been blended. People are less limited by ideas of what your music should be, how you should dress.
Hannah: 10-year-old us had a limited pool of inspiration. There was a lot more obsession with youth and skinniness and all of those ridiculous ideals. It’s obviously not perfect now but progress is progress and I’m happy to see it.
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