Dilly Dally | Behemoth
Growth, Decay, Transformation
KATIE MONKS AND HER FRIENDS WERE WATCHING ALMOST FAMOUS, CAMERON CROWE’S FILM about fictitious ’70s rockers Stillwater, when the line jumped out at her. “Where does this real world begin and end for you?” teenage journalist William Miller asks lead singer Russell Hammond.
“I really get that, because there’s something about it that feels like an illusion,” Monks says. “It’s that space between where the fan sees you and how things actually are, and it’s isolating.”
The release of Sore, Dilly Dally’s blistering debut, catapulted the singer-guitarist and her three bandmates (guitarist Liz Ball, bassist Jimmy Tony and drummer Benjamin Reinhartz) from one of Toronto’s best-kept secrets to international notoriety. Relentless touring gained the group a diehard following, who screamed Monks’ raw lyrics about feminism and the universality of being on your period back at her. “It wasn’t like we eased our way into it — it was just kind of night and day,” she says. “It felt like our lives changed overnight.”
As Dilly Dally’s success grew, so did tensions within the band. The four-piece were drained and made the conscious decision to step out of the spotlight so that they could lick their wounds in private. At home, in the bedroom of her Kensington Market apartment, Monks began to make sense of her struggles through songwriting, and Heaven rose from the ashes.
By prioritizing themselves over demanding schedules and outside pressures, Dilly Dally were able to craft a mature sophomore record that heightens their deafening volume and edge, while tackling critical themes of self-love, friendship and sobriety.
“I think [ Heaven] seeks to acknowledge that pain, if someone’s struggling with depression or some form of sadness or grief, and then provide tools that I have found really helpful,” Monks explains. “It’s just a gentle whisper of like, ‘Here are some mental spaces that I’ve been in in the last year that helped me kind of come into my own again.’”
Laced with affirming messages that could sound trite if they weren’t being spewed from Monks with such vehemence, Heaven soars with newfound strength.
Taking time away from Dilly Dally also allowed Monks to strengthen relationships that were separate from the band. “You have to go ‘Okay, I’ve been leaning on these people pretty heavily in my life, and now it’s time for me to lean back on my other friends,’” she explains. “That’s why it’s so important for me to have Toronto in my back pocket, because the foundation I have here is just unbelievable. It’s so cozy.”
As Dilly Dally embark on sharing Heaven with the world, Monks looks back on the positives of their first album. “Once [ Sore] came out, it was really beautiful to see everyone accept us with such open arms,” she recalls. “I’m hoping that [ Heaven] kind of has those open arms widened even more.”
It wasn’t like we eased our way in. It felt like our lives changed overnight.”