Dott is from Galway, Ireland and their first EP Buttons was released by Popical Island this past May. Popical Island is a Dublin based pop collective that throws shows, and releases music (they have two great compilations for free download, and a new up that can be streamed. These comps feature the likes of So Cow, No Monster Club, Patrick Kelleher, and many more. Stream one of them after the jump!).
Dott is made up of Anna McCarthy, Laura Finnegan, and Tony Higgins (formerly of So Cow) and will be in New York this week for their first American appearance. That show happens at Cake Shop tonight (Monday July 9th!) with Gondola, Rohypnotize (from Australia), and the Hairs.
Anna McCarthy (center) took the time to talk with us about eating and drinking in Ireland, and what she is looking forward to doing while she is in North America. More about Dott’s wonderful new EP, music video, Popical Island, and their show at Cake Shop after the interview!
My knowledge of Ireland is limited to Dublin, Galway, and Tuam…where did you grow up, and where are you living now? How did those places influence your diet and what you like to eat?
I have lived in Galway for 8 years, but I grew up in Schull, West Cork on a dairy farm where we milked our own cows. Schull is a tiny fishing village famous for the Gubbeen Cheese farm which is just up the road from my house. It’s known for it’s amazing cheese originally but now also for it’s cured meats and all kinds of things.
Both places are major fishing places, so fish is big news, but also really attract quite alternative people which always welcomes a good range of food. In Galway we have a small weekend market where you can get locally made Indian food, Hare Krisna food, South African Boere Sausage, Falafel and loads of locally grown organic vegetables.
No, probably the opposite really! It made me want to get the hell away from the farm and move to the city which I did as soon as I turned 18. I really think I left that all behind when I moved away from home. When I was a child I used to plant all sorts of things, sunflowers were my favourite. And I had so many pets back then. I wish I had a dog right now but I don’t think I’d have the time to spend with it, and it would break my heart to leave it at home lonely.
Have you been to the Gubbeen Cheese Farm? You mention that they are known for other things now. What should people be eating if they make it to Schull?
My sister sadly passed away two years ago. So my whole family were home in Schull for a few days after the funeral. My boyfriend Evan really wanted to get some Gubbeen Chilli Sausages but the locals shops were all sold out. A few of us decided to call up to the farm and see if anyone was there to buy a few things from. So we arrived up out of the blue and Fingal Ferguson who runs Gubbeen nowadays greeted us and decided to give us all a free tour of the whole farm. It was absolutely amazing. We went through the whole smoke house where the meats are cured, smoked etc. He showed us where all the cheeses are made and we got to taste all kinds of “just made” cheese. We went through the farm and got to see the pigs, chickens, cows and all of the animals and then he gave us bags of stuff to take home, refusing to take any payment for it! I just really love the way Gubbeen farm works. The staff all seem really happy, and the animals are treated really well. And the family who run it are just so kind. The brand is relatively famous across the world but it’s just so nice to think we were able to roll up to their front door and they took the time to show us around the whole farm. He spent about two hours with
us when he could have been doing other things! It’s just a really nice memory.
I love hearing personal stories about well-known businesses. It reinforces that they are well-known for a reason. That sounds like an amazing experience.
Ha no! But I’ve heard rumours my grandmother did, so maybe that’s where it came from?
Neachtains which I mentioned earlier is great. My ‘local’ would be O’Connells on Eyre Square, it’s an ancient building with a roof stained brown from cigarette smoke from back in the day. The Bier Haus has great beers and good music and the Roisin Dubh is where you go if you want a boogie to real music!
Speaking of physically arguing and Bier Haus, when I was in Galway we were out around 2am at the place right by Bier House a 20 something intoxicated Irishmen started to talked to me…I was quickly pulled away by Jonny and Brian (So Cow) in fear that he would start a fight with the American (or anyone for that matter). I felt more safe in Galway after drinking in a pub on a weekend than I did in Temple Bar. Were my friends being over protective?
Oh jeez. No idea. Galway is so safe though. I’ve never come across anything dodgy like that myself, but maybe that’s because I just ignore crazy people or people who have drank waaay too much. So maybe Jonny/Brian were right to pull you away in case things got lost in translation. I really don’t like violence. I would be really really embarrassed if my boyfriend punched some guy in my honor.
I have 2 brothers and a sister in Dublin and Dott are always playing shows up there. My favourite place to eat in Dublin is Boojum! They do the very best Burritos. Yum. But I feel like I’m always grabbing something really quick in Dublin so a nice sit down place escapes me right now. I’ve heard great things about the Winding Stair. Miriam who has been filling in for Laura on bass for the summer went there the other week and was raving about it. I get to Cork as often as I can too and my two favourite places would have to be Cafe Paradiso (AMAZING gourmet vegetarian) and Scoozi’s (it’s Italian hasthe very best desserts in the city, I’ve been going there since I was a kid).
Where have you traveled?
I have done a LOT of travelling in the last 5 years. Been all over Europe (Spain, Austria, Germany, Edinburgh, France, Portugal, Czech Republic) South East Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia) Australia, New Zealand, Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, Canada (Toronto) and last year my boyfriend and I did a mammoth US road trip from Seattle to San Diego then East through New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tenessee, and I’ve been to New York 3 times.
In Ireland we’re really lucky to have really cheap travel all over Europe so my friends and I would book flights to different countries to see bands we like for the fun of it. My trip last year (Thailand/Aus/NZ/USA Road trip) was with my boyfriend Evan. I went to Central America on my own, but managed to meet lovely people. And the others would have been with friends. New York will be the first band holiday. But we’re all traveling separately so it won’t quite be the same. Laura (bass) is working in NY for the summer. I’m coming from a wedding in Toronto and Tony (drums) is flying in from Ireland!
Ummm…. landed in Toronto on Sunday and we went to a famous wings place called Duff’s. They do loads of flavours of wings, from mild to Armageddon. I ate one Armageddon wing and totally lost control of my eyes and nose. I was pretty much crying. But I finished it and I think I must repress bad memories because afterwards I was like “that was awesome!”. My friend who stuck to the mild wings was asking why the hell do people put themselves through so much pain for something like that. But I pointed out that some people get TERRIBLE hangovers, but that doesn’t stop them having a fun night out involving lots of boozing. Humans are weirdos.
Not this time, just New York. I’ve been to the entire West Coast now and most of the South so next time I decide to do an epic road trip I want to see upstate NY, Boston Maine etc and head over towards Chicago. Hopefully I’ll incorporate a tour in there somewhere too if I’m lucky. Music and traveling are my biggest extravagances. I couldn’t care less what kind of car I drive or if my shoes are falling apart, but I’m happy to hop on a plane and see a band I like in a place I’ve never been to before.
We have talked a lot about Irish booze. What are some of your favorite foods and most memorable eating experiences?
Thai, Italian, anything spicy, NY pizza! and then basically anything that uses fresh vegetables in a really colourful creative way. There’s a place in Galway that uses really fun combinations of carrots, red cabbage, anything colourful, so you can eat with your eyes too! As you can see I’ve done lots of traveling so I love to try out whatever someone else thinks is worth writing home about. My favourite meal in Thailand was on the side of a busy road with dirt and dust flying in our faces but the queue of Thai’s outside confirmed we’d be onto a winner. My best meal in Belize was sitting on the sand watching the sun going down eating a barracuda steak after I’d stared a barracuda down snorkeling earlier that day. I hadn’t realised they had teeth as sharp as piranhas!
No :-) I was just trying out the theory that animals can sense fear so I was letting that particular animal know I wasn’t scared of it. I think I would have peed my pants if I ‘d known how scary they actually are!
I’m not sure if there is an Irish type of Pizza. There are so many of the American chains everywhere and then an upper market European chain too. But you do find a few nice independent places. There’s a lovely place in Galway City called Pizza Napoli which is right beside Tigh
Neachtains, a great bar for people watching. Anyway, they make up these huge pizzas and sell giant slices for €3. They have a secret sauce with tonnes of garlic and oregano and it’s just so good! It goes really well with a pint outside Neachtains!
If you are in New York see Dott live:
Tonight Monday July 9th, 2012 @ Cake Shop w/ Gondola, Rohypnotize (from Australia), and the Hairs. Dott is on 3rd.
Watch Dott’s video for “Let’s Do it” here:
If you are interested in learning more about Irish pop music check out the most recent compilation from Popical Island to hear new tracks by No Monster Club, So Cow, Grand Pocket Orchestra, and Patrick Kelleher (and of course Dott!)…you can stream it below while you check out the rad poster for the show they threw this past weekend!
The other Popical Island comps can be found here.