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An Interview with Melissa Brooks

Updated: Apr 16, 2019

When Melissa Brooks started The Aquadolls, she wanted to create something that was completely her own, a goal that she certainly has achieved. The Aquadolls' distinctive sound coupled with girl power undertones was enough to make me a lifetime fan of the band back when they released their first album in 2013. The cute-yet-tough visuals and the 90s punk style of the band members are the icing on the cake. With their beachy tunes and heartfelt lyrics, it's hard not to fall in love.

2018 has been a big year for both Melissa and the Aquadolls. Amping up the girl power, the band's new lineup is all female. Their latest album, "The Dream and the Deception," is a beautiful attestation to the band's growth and the feelings that come with their success, drawing on themes of the collision of fantasy and reality, self love, and a tongue-in-cheek desire for fame. Under Melissa's command, the band has flourished into a powerful force in the indie beach pop scene.

What work are you most proud of?

I've been waiting a super long time to get music out, and our second album "The Dream and the Deception" is finally out! This is something I have been writing and working on for over 5 years now, so it feels so surreal for it to finally be out in the world.

How did the name The Aquadolls come about?

My old friend made up the name and said I could keep it! The name comes from a mix of my obsession with mermaids, plus the idea that we're all dolls!

Who do you think is the most creative person alive?

I think Grimes is up there for me! Listening to her evolution of her music styling when comparing all of her albums and bodies of work is truly mind-blowing. She never fails to produce a fresh sound with each release and she is one of my favorite songwriters of this generation. 

What's the best piece of storytelling you've ever encountered?

Wreck It Ralph had me shook! Why do Disney movies always make me sob my eyes out?!

Who are your biggest inspirations?

Courtney Love of Hole, Gwen Stefani, and Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys!

What has been your favorite moment since forming the band?

I feel some of our best moments and memories have been formed while we're traveling on tour! Offstage, I just love hanging out with everyone. I think one of our most epic adventures to date was when we all went to Knott's Merry Farm and waited 45 minutes in line just to get a picture with Santa. It was such an odd experience, but we loved it!

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Never let anyone tell you that you're incapable of doing something on your own! Don't be afraid to teach yourself things you wonder about. Self-education is so important and never doubt your capabilities. 

What's something you regret buying?

I got the "no regerts" tat on my forehead so I don't regret anything (LOL). Maybe me buying clothes on depop that I know are too small for me and hope I'll fit into it someday, which is silly! I just need to wear stuff that fits my body type and not force impossible standards on myself. Love the skin you're in, and always try to be comfy with yourself! 

Do you write songs more carefully/methodically or is it more of an emotional process?

For the new album, it was definitely an emotional process! A lot of the songs are straight from the pages of my diary with melodies put to my true life tales. A lot of tears were shed in the making of this album, but I feel like that captures the idea behind "the deception" half of the album. The first 8 tracks are to represent "the dream" aspect of me being young and naive, and the second half of the album is a lot more sad.

Are there any songs you regret writing?

There's some songs that are kind of cringey to me, but people tell me that they really enjoy them so I definitely don't regret making them!

What's the best interaction you've had with a fan? What was the worst?

The best interactions are with people who I can tell genuinely resonate with the songs, and I love to have conversations with people at shows, or online, about how it makes them feel! There have been so many kind people I've had the pleasure of meeting over the years and each one is truly a blessing. The worst? I have had people jump up on stage while we're performing and straight up grope me in front of everyone! I don't mind when people want to come on stage and dance, but if you're being creepy, I'm definitely going to have to kick you out. If you're making me feel uncomfortable, I'm sure you're being a creep to other people at the show, which our band does not tolerate! We want to create a safe space for concert-goers every time they attend a show The Aquadolls are playing. Also, if anything weird happens to you during a show, please do not hesitate to either tell me, my band mates, or security who's messing with you. The Aquadolls got your back, always!

We plan to shoot a ton of music videos, covers, webisodes, blog posts, photoshoots, and do a ton of traveling in 2019. So excited for this new year and for the future of our band! Thought I would introduce everyone since we now have a new all-girl lineup and have been all playing together since September.

Melissa Brooks - Guitar and vocals

Keilah Nina - Keyboard and bass

Kate Rose - Guitar and backup vocals

Jackie Proctor - Drums and backup vocals

Images in collage c/o Melissa Brooks


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