Diploid Love is a more pop record than Brody Dalle’s earlier Distillers and Spinnerette affairs. It’s dark pop, for sure, and still with a strongly beating rock’n’roll heart and a punkish sneer – but it definitely has a sheen of pop over the top.
“Pop over the top…” Dalle smiles. “It’s so weird. I don’t know. I made it under the radar. No-one was looking. I just did my thing.”
Dalle’s debut solo album is hardly a star-studded affair, but Shirley Manson from Garbage contributes some backing vocals, and The Strokes’ Nick Valensi, Michael Shuman from Queens of the Stone Age and Warpaint’s Emily Kokal are all on there somewhere. Dalle says the core music was all her, producer Alain Johannes and drummer Hayden Scott recording at the studio Dalle and husband Josh Homme keep in their home, with Dalle assisting Johannes on production. Some tracks are densely layered, but she says that happened by accident rather than design.
“It wasn’t deliberate – it wasn’t anything other than time management,” she says with a weary laugh. “I have two kids, so I didn’t have the time to [do anything but] make my record incrementally. If there’s layers, it’s because I’ve been listening to it over and over again, and I’m like, ‘It needs this.’ I would go back in and would put that on it. Yeah, time is scarce for me – time to do anything!”
Dalle makes no attempt to disguise how crazy it is trying to tour, be in a good shape to perform, and have two kids, a husband, a new album and a promo schedule to worry about.
“It’s fucking exhausting!” she says, sounding exasperated at the reminder. For a moment she looks like overwhelmed, but a wave of determination crosses her face and she holds herself together. “I locked myself in the bathroom on the plane and just cried. It’s really hard. We’ve got to get up at six in the morning, and [do] kid shit all day for as long as I – we – can do it, and then we go to soundcheck and we have to play the show. And then I’m amped and wired and I want to stay up and hang out…
“Some nights, I drag myself to bed at fucking eight o’clock, and then other nights, I want to just feel like me and hang out a little bit and have that space and that time. But our whole year is like this, basically. When Queens aren’t on tour, then I’m playing.”
There’s no avoiding the truth – Dalle sounds tired just talking about it. “I’m really excited,” she affirms, but the weariness shows in her voice again. “I’m really lucky I get to do this, but it’s not a cakewalk.”
Her energies come from a refreshing place, however – Dalle says she’s loving the creative freedom that comes with being a solo artist now.
“Fuck yeah!” she exclaims. “The possibilities are endless. I’m so excited. I made the record in my own time, on my own terms, and it’s like, ‘Well, you might as well call it your [own] name, you know?’”
Once a punk rocker, always a punk rocker though – and any hint that she may have been concerned what Distillers or Spinnerette or Queens fans may think about her solo, poppier direction is met with a brick wall.
“I don’t really care. That’s not what [I do]… I don’t sit around making music for other people. That would be an impossibility – you couldn’t satisfy everybody.”
Brody Dalle’s Diploid Love is out on Friday April 25 through Caroline / Universal.