All Photos by Cam Lindsay
Health experts are claiming that sugar is “the new tobacco,” and they’re probably right. It’s an evil soluble carbohydrate that makes everything taste better while simultaneously killing us. So knowing this, we figured what better way to interview Toronto’s Dilly Dally, then to meet up at Canadian wholesale food store Bulk Barn to load up on some evil soluble carbohydrates. There is a reason for such madness. Sugar runs throughout Dilly Dally’s music both visually and aurally They had a previous single called “Candy Mountain." The artwork for their latest single, “Purple Rage,” is an ice cream cone dripping with blood. The album cover for their debut album, Sore, features a bloody tongue with jewels that, to my eyes at least, resemble candy. Not to mention that the title can just as easily be referencing the mouth sores that come from eating sweet treats like Sour Keys, Sour Skittles and the literal Jawbreakers. But candy is a very apropos symbol for Dilly Dally’s music. The dirty, crunching distortion and guttural howls of frontwoman Katie Monks come off as sickly sweet, recalling the bubblegum grunge and twisted humor of 90s greats like L7 and Nirvana.
Noisey figured Monks would be up for a trip to Bulk Barn, because “as a teenager growing up Newmarket I would go when I had the munchies,” she says. Monks knows choosing the right treat isn’t something to do hastily. “You have to be careful not to mix the candy.”
Noisey: To dilly-dally means to “waste time through aimless wandering or indecision.” How do you decide on what candy to get when you’re shopping?
Katie Monks: I guess it depends on my mood, but generally I go for what I’m most nostalgic about. Candy that reminds me of good times.
When I first saw the album cover for Sore I thought it was nasty candy that made the tongue bleed.
Oh no, that wasn’t part of the idea. It’s jewellery. It was just supposed to look like a dysfunctional tongue ring. That’s cool though because we have a song called “Candy Mountain,” and candy is a good thing.
What was the inspiration for “Candy Mountain”? Candy?
That was about when I was living in Kensington Market above a bar called Cold Tea. It was the first year the bar opened and it was so fucking loud. And that song says, “If everybody shut up I would too.” So I started playing louder music with distortion around that time. It’s the volume of my neighbors that made me inspired. Candy Mountain is an imaginary place where everyone is quiet all the time.
What candy did you share with your brother (Tokyo Police Club frontman David Monks) growing up?
There were these orange gummy things covered in sugar that my dad always used to get. They weren’t fuzzy peach slices, but these big ju-jubes. Also, my parents are Irish, so when me and my brother went to Ireland we would always love the candy there. I really loved Mirage bars and peppermint chocolate. And then they had Buttons and Polo mints.
Do you remember Punkies? They seemed like perfect candy for Dilly Dally.
Totally! I think I remember those. This is what I was talking about! Orange and lemon slices. The dad candy.
What is your go-to comfort sweet?
For comfort I turn to mashed potatoes. I’m not that big on candy for comfort, but when our last tour in the U.S. was cancelled, I got really bummed and bought a big piece of chocolate. Like when I’m really sad, I’ll eat Dairy Milk, milk chocolate. And Mini Eggs.
Cadbury Crème Egg – yay or nay?
Nay. I think they’re gross! It’s so sugary and just takes over my mouth. It dominates my mouth and I can’t take it.
Did you ever pretend to smoke Popeye Cigarettes as a kid?
Yes, all the time. I used to smoke, but not anymore. I don’t blame Popeye Cigarettes, I blame all of the rock bands I liked.
Is Dilly Dally a smoking rock band?
We’re not big smokers in Dilly Dally. And if any of us do smoke we’re not enthusiastic about it. I used to smoke a pack a day, but I think the companies are as evil as Mr. Burns.
Did you ever wear candy necklaces as a fashion statement?
Totally! Yeah, those were huge. I would wear tons of those at a time around my neck, as bracelets. My friends and I thought we were totally bad-ass.
Candy necklaces could be good Dilly Dally merch.
Yeah, but it’s a bit sketchy because most of our merch is DIY. So if we made DIY candy it would be like those people who make their own Halloween treats, which is a pretty sketchy situation.
Were you a big fan of the Pez dispenser?
I love the nostalgia questions because candy is really tied into that. I was, but I don’t think my favorite one I had is here. I had Simpsons Pez. If I had to have one of these here I’d take Ninja Turtles. The funness of Pez made me enjoy the taste of it.
Did you ever chew Big League Chew?
No. I didn’t really play baseball. I was more of a soccer girl.
Were you able to eat Jawbreakers? They gave me mouth cramps.
What was amazing about Jawbreakers is that it just pissed off your parents and teachers. Like it’d be all over your face, it would have cat hair on it, you’d drop it on the floor and ten days old, and your tongue starts to bleed. I’m pretty sure my friend and I would race each other to see who could finish theirs first. There was this friend in grade two who loved Marilyn Manson…
A Marilyn Manson fan in grade two?
Yeah. And we would race each other and at one point our tongues started to bleed. We were funny kids.
What’s your favourite sugary cereal?
I like Apple Jacks, which are similar to Cinnamon Apple Cheerios. Those were my favourite.
There is some bloody ice cream in your video for “Desire.” What’s your favorite flavour?
Chocolate chip cookie dough. Big time. Never go wrong. I love chocolate chip cookie dough raw. Me and Liz, who’s also in the band, we used to have these sleepovers [big laugh] and eat junk food, but we’d make chocolate chip cookie dough out of the bowl. I just remember feeling really ill afterwards.
Hot Lips or Big Foot?
Ohhhh! That’s tough, but I’ve got to go with the Foot. I’m into the Foot. Their texture is one of the best gummy texture.
Smarties, M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces?
Smarties because my brother was allergic to nuts and because they also taste better.
Sour Patch Kids or Sour Keys?
Pixi Stix or Fun Dip?
Fun Dip. I would always eat the sticks. It was the best when you got two sticks.
Whoppers or Maltesers?
Umm… I don’t know how to answer that one.
It’s kind of a trick question. How about Nerds or Dweebs?
Nerds, for sure.
Dinasour Eggs or Gobstoppers?
Gobstoppers, big time.
Bonkers or Starburst?
What are Bonkers?
They were like a cross between Starburst and Bubbalicious, but not gum.
[Laughs] I’m gonna say Starburst.
How many licks does it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?
I would definitely say 100. Times ten. Scientists estimate 1000.
Okay, so there is a gun to your head and you have to eat either two pounds of candy corn or a box of Peeps. Which do you choose?
If you were proposed to with a Ring Pop by the person you love would you say yes?
Yeah! Of course!
[Her brother Dave from Tokyo Police Club calls but she doesn’t answer. “I instinctively didn’t answer as a little sister might.”]
In Motown, the offices always had Baby Ruth in the candy machine for Stevie Wonder because he was addicted. What candy bar would always need to be stocked in the Dilly Dally tour van?
At all times? I don’t know about candy bars. I think we’d be more into Sour Keys. I feel like collectively, speaking for everyone, we’re bigger fans of Sour Keys. Liz doesn’t like chocolate much. I don’t think Tony does either.
What messages would be on official Dilly Dally candy hearts?
Yuck, those taste awful. I guess I would do a play on something you’d give to someone you had a crush on, like “Fuck Me” or “Suck My Wang.” Or maybe just “Suck It.” Really vulgar and gross, forward pick-up lines that could maybe be confused with rage.
Do you know the Caramilk secret?
No. What, are there drugs in it? Do they get it in with drugs?
What is your favorite type of Willy Wonka candy?
I didn’t know that company made all of those candies. Kudos, Willy Wonka! Once again, I think I’ll roll with Fun Dip.
There are five candies that are the worst for your teeth. Can you guess them?
Fun Dip. The ones that pop in your mouth, Pop Rocks.
Fun Dip is the second worst candy you can eat. Pop Rocks is surprisingly healthier. War Heads Sour Spray is the absolute worst.
War Heads! Love those! It must be so acidic.
It’s basically the equivalent of battery acid for your teeth.
[laughs] I’ve eaten so many War Heads!
Would you ever consider using one of those Whistle Pops in a Dilly Dally song?
Using it in a song, I don’t know. I feel like there wouldn’t be as much payoff for the effort.
The album is called Sore. Is there any candy you can think of that makes your mouth sore?
Jawbreakers, number one, for sure. My tongue was bleeding, swear to God. Maybe the Fun Dip too. I’m sure there’s other stuff too.
If you could give away candy with your album what would it be?
Something that is goopy and pink, that looks like it’s part of your insides, like an organ. Something like a gummy brain. I think that our music sometimes is so real and raw that it brings to mind really gory things.
Cam Lindsay is a writer based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter.