Interview with Dasher vocalist/drummer Kylee Kimbrough | By Renaldo Matadeen
Life is about new beginnings, and Dasher vocalist, drummer, and songwriter Kylee Kimbrough knows all about that reset button. After seeking big city dreams in Atlanta, Kimbrough carried Dasher’s popular brand of searing noise and aggressive proto-punk into a record deal with Jagjaguwar Records in 2014. Then, she left it all behind due to personal issues; Dasher disbanded without ever releasing their label debut. Kimbrough ended up in Bloomington, Indiana, and it was there that the band’s rebirth—and new lineup—finally prompted the release of Sodium, their long-awaited first record for Jagjaguwar, on July 14.
Kimbrough needed the switch and, more so, the feeling of home. Her frustration and restlessness are channeled into angsty wails here via a sound similar to that of labelmates, Preoccupations. In fact, Sodium is more explosive. It feels like rebellion.
“It’s just a collection of songs I wrote over a few years of my life,” she says. “Each song is like a snapshot of whatever was going on that day or week. All of it is different, so the record as a whole is just a big audio scrapbook for me in my late 20s: broke and in Atlanta. I was angry back then—but not all of it is angry. ‘Confused’? Maybe ‘scarred’ might match a bit more,” she laughs.
Referencing the track “Soviet,” Kimbrough explains, “Well, it’s a vague way of realizing that I don’t like change and wishing I could do something to get better at it, because it seems like the only thing that stays the same is change. And then, the chorus is just a way of telling myself, at the same time, that I have no idea how to do that and might never figure it out. Thinking about those two things at the same time makes me think of a soldier or someone [fighting] a war they will lose and die in. So be it!”
On the title, Sodium, she laughs and adds, “It’s about my best friend, Aaron Smith. We hung out almost every day for about a year when we first met. We were broke and wound up eating a lot of food really high in sodium because it was all we could afford.”
While some songs on the record are older, new members, bassist Gary Magilla and guitarists Steve Garcia and Derek McCain, helped reignite Kimbrough’s passion for Dasher and yielded songs like “We Know So” and “Teeth.” The band’s name had to stay, though. “It’s the name of the blade in vintage blenders that you use by hand,” she explains. “I guess I started looking at the project as my dumping ground for any and everything I felt like doing, without worrying about some box to fit in. I started calling it Dasher because of the blending implications. My first choice was Vacation,” she laughs, “but that was already taken by this cool band in Ohio.”
Vacation may be cool, but Dasher are volatile, beautiful chaos that certainly cannot be boxed in.
Photo by Anna Powell Teeter