Gwen and Lucy Giles, Dog Party
Gwen and Lucy Giles, the sister act in Dog Party, talk teenage milestones, makeup and music
The members of the rock 'n' roll sister duo Dog Party keep pretty busy with the day-to-day responsibilities most teens and young adults face: school, prom, relationships, etc. Still, Gwen and Lucy Giles, who've been making music together since they were preteens, keep adding to their schedules. Over the years they've managed to fit in a few cross-country summer tours and even traveled to Europe to play Italy and Berlin. Gwen, now 19 and studying graphic communication at Cal Poly, says scheduling band practice is tougher these days but she still enjoys the nights she and her sister reunite to perform. Meanwhile, Lucy, on the edge of her 17th birthday, says she's looking forward to celebrating the release of the band's latest album, Vol. 4, at Harlow's on Monday, June 15. SN&R caught up with the siblings at a recent show to discuss important adolescent milestones, makeup and making music via the band's new partnership with the Southern California-based Burger Records.
Lucy, how was prom? I hear you were also featured in your school’s newspaper, how did that come about?
Lucy: They were just going around taking photos at prom and they just took a picture of me. I thought it was pretty cool because people at my school—
Gwen: Lucy doesn't consider herself popular.
Lucy: Because I'm not. People at my school don't really know what I do as a band. So, it was cool to be in the paper.
Your eyeliner is always on point. Got any makeup tips?
Lucy: Primer is so important, like eye and face primer by Smashbox or bareMinerals. I also like Kat Von D's Tattoo Liner and I don't pull my eye, I just kind of follow the shape of my eyelid and then connect the point.
What’s next now that you’ve joined Burger Records?
Gwen: Now that we're signed with Burger, we look forward to being a part of more of their showcases like Burger Caravan of Stars and Burger a-Go-Go [in Santa Ana]. We're also stoked to be a part of the Burger family with many of our friends and bands we love.
What inspired the new single “Peanut Butter Dream”?
Lucy: “Peanut Butter Dream” was about how I got together with my boyfriend. From the outside, we don't really seem like we would be very compatible because he's really good at soccer and blah, blah. So, that's why I said like, “looking through mirrors and broken glass” and “I cannot get the words outside my mouth,” like you know, when you're eating peanut butter.
What’s different about writing songs now versus when the two of you were 9 and 11 years old?
Gwen: Writing the songs still comes from the heart. Even when the lyrics seem like they're random, there are still hidden meanings behind everything.
Lucy: I think it's weird because when I was younger writing songs [and] I listen to my lyrics [now], a lot of them have a ton of meaning, but I was just singing. Honestly, I wasn't thinking about what I was doing.
Do venues treat Dog Party differently because of your age?
Lucy: We like to be treated with respect. And, it's totally a bummer when we play a show and we don't get treated with respect by sound men, or people that put on the shows. There are people that are kind of like rude to us at first, but then after we play, they're like, “Ohhh!”
How do you deal with that?
Lucy: I try not to get too angry about it.
Gwen: At least afterward, they kind of understand. Even though it's irritating that their first opinion wasn't as cool as their second opinion after hearing us, at least we justify ourselves. Then, they might rethink their thoughts like, “Why would I think they'd be bad just because they're girls?”
Your parents seem highly supportive of Dog Party.
Lucy: Yeah, it's really weird because our family works so much differently. It's very team-oriented, there [are] no secrets, there's no weirdness. We all do our part. It's like, communism! [laughs.] We all do our part and we're all really close to each other. We're not like normal teens that try to be a million feet away from their parents at all times.
Gwen: I'm working at KCPR, Cal Poly's radio station, and people will start playing a band and I'll walk in and say, “Oh, this is one of my dad's favorite bands right now,” or like, “Oh my gosh! My mom really likes King Tuff.”And they're like, “Your parents are cool.”
Was it your parents who introduced you both to music?
Lucy: Our parents didn't play music at all. They just shared their love of music with us. We were so inclined to play music and express ourselves musically that it just all kind of happened. They always supported us and always tried to supply us with the means that we needed.
Gwen: We never felt any pressure like, “You need to play, or you need to practice.” That was never a thing either. For me, education is good for the mind, exercise is good for the body and music is good for the soul.