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Mo(re) Dotti Please! An Interview With Mo Dotti's Gina Negrini

28 March 2024

Photo courtesy of Mo Dotti
Los Angeles foursome Mo Dotti’s latest double-sided single, For Everyone And You and Late August Early September finds singer/guitarist Gina Negrini’s vocals front and center of the band’s blistering guitar attack, aurally akin to Emma Anderson fronting My Bloody Valentine. Late August Early September embraces the more ethereal qualities of a genre in resurgence, letting Negrini’s vocals float atop a shoegazey wave of droning atmospherics. With Mo Dotti’s debut album currently in the works for later this year, momentum is certainly on their side!

Special thanks to Gina for entertaining my inquiries.

James Broscheid: First I wanted to say thank you for the LP compilation containing your earlier EPs, Blurring and Guided Imagery! How did that project come into being? First time those two EPs have been released via that format correct?

Gina Negrini: We had originally released the EPs on cassette via Smoking Room and the digital/compact disc versions ourselves. We always wanted to make a vinyl record and we wanted to do it ourselves. It is important to us to be able to self-release and not rely on anyone else’s timeline. The vinyl shortage of the last 3 years made it seem like it would be impossible to put it out in a timely or affordable way. It’s super gratifying that this got done.

JB: Can you give us a brief history on the band? Who are the players, how did you form and the name behind the music?

GN: The namesake Mo Dotti has been a blanket title for different evolutions of songwriting. It started off with just me looping a drum machine, guitars, and bass. It was challenging to recreate live! Guy (Valdez, guitar) and I started writing songs together and then it was him and I looping the material live. Eventually, our friends Brian (Rodriguez) and Shelly (Schimek) would join on bass and drums and helped us write and record the songs on Blurring and Guided Imagery. Guy and I are inspired by pretty much all of the same bands, and the music has evolved into something a lot louder. Now, our friend Andrew Mackelvie (Moaning, Fashion Club) plays drums and is producing our recordings with us and our other charming friend named Greg Shilton is our bass player (French Vanilla, Post Life). All of us became friends playing the same spots in LA and working at the same movie theater. Mo Dotti used to play with all of those aforementioned bands regularly. 

JB: The band’s latest double single For Anyone And You / Late August Early September marks a bit of a departure from your earlier EPs to my ears. The earlier stuff has striking Felt and at times, The Smiths underpinnings, (especially some of your guitar melodies on Blurring!). I thought the progress with Guided Imagery was natural – more punchier while embracing more ethereal, atmospheric textures that dabble in shoegaze. Does the band see a natural evolution with each new release or more as the fruits of experimentation?

GN: Our EPs were the live set we were playing right before COVID shut it all down. Some songs on Guided Imagery are older than the songs on Blurring! “Gravity Well” which is on the first EP is a super heavy track. To us, the EPs work as a whole idea which is why they get to be on vinyl together. As time goes on the band has gotten louder and more textured, wherein lies the shoegaze comparisons. Obviously, we are madly inspired by Lush, Ride, Swervedriver, etc. but, we also love The Smiths, The Cure, The Las, and The Sundays. We hope we can create music that is not necessarily afraid to hide who we are inspired by but also be our own thing. I’d hate to be perceived as a carbon copy, but at the same time I want to make music I would want to listen to. Our latest recording will definitely be a lot heavier.

JB: Do the latest singles give us a good indication of where the band is heading for your debut LP (said to be in the works) as far as sound and style? Maybe Andrew recording and Mark possibly mastering again? 

GN: That’s the plan!
JB: I am seeing Mark Gardener’s name associated more and more with new releases when it comes to mastering. How did the band enlist his assistance with For Anyone And You and Late August Early September

GN: Our friends in Seablite had their latest record mastered by Mark Gardener. Galine (Tumasyan, bass guitarist and singer of Seablite) recommended that we contact him as soon as we knew we wanted to put out a single. He is very kind and responsive. It’s surreal that a member of one of my favorite bands ever has even listened to those songs!

JB: Speaking of Seablite, I first heard of Mo Dotti through a couple Bay Area bands I’ve previously covered and well before I actually heard you so it was a little bit of a surprise to learn you’re in L.A. based on the praise you were getting up North! What kind of energy and influence does the city provide? Are there unique qualities (pros/cons) about its underground scene? Any local bands you can recommend?

GN: San Francisco is special to us because there is a solid crew of charming and talented people we happen to align with in terms of music taste. When the music we love to make is so niche, it feels rare to find people you can befriend that are also doing something sort of similar (and doing it well) in 2024. I think because San Francisco is a lot smaller than LA, it is really easy to find your crew and support each other. Their scene is quite incestuous and I really love that everyone plays in each others bands and goes to each others shows all of the time. When Slumberland had the Oakland Weekender in 2022, I got to befriend so many bands I had been obsessing over-including Seablite. They write genuinely excellent pop songs with the best harmonies. I am not just saying that because they’re our friends. Aluminum is another great band from the Bay Area that maybe not many people know about yet, but be prepared. I am super excited for their record to come out. 

As for the city we are all from, which is absolutely massive, it can be a bit harder to see where we fit in. There are so many shows happening on any given night in LA. Right before COVID, I became friends with Joe Trainor of Dummy. I felt hopeful that maybe I had found a new crew of like minded individuals after so many bands and DIY venues started shifting. Dummy recently moved here from Baltimore but they are the best band living in LA without a doubt. 

In a lot of ways Mo Dotti feels under the underground, and we identify with groups that fall into that category in California. While “shoegaze” is supposedly having a moment, we have all been in love with this music for a long time. It’s not a trend for us. There are some lovely groups here in LA that have been going strong for awhile now: Film School, Clear Capsule, Peel Dream Magazine, and Shaki Tavi

JB: One thing I enjoy about Mo Dotti is the band’s ability to offer a fresh take on beloved genres such as shoegaze, dream pop, etc. without being derivative. I do love the resurgence in shoegaze and enjoy the acclaim bands like Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Ride et al are now taking in. Where does the band draw inspiration from? 

GN: Thank you for saying that! We are inspired by all of our favorite bands. Lots of British guitar music and the American indie rock underground. 

JB: How did you first get into music? Was there any particular song/band the can be accredited to your initial interest? Did you come from a musical family? Any contemporary music that excites you today? 

GN: My parents are definitely musical, but on the opposite end of the spectrum: opera was constantly being sung in our home. They never introduced me to any guitar music, I found that on my own. I got my sister hooked on The Beatles and The Who at a really young age. There was a decent period of about 3 years as a teenager where I was completely laid out over my Beatles obsession. I have the fondest memories of obsessing over this music with my sister Sophie. She is a brilliant songwriter who has a band of her own called Janelane. Shelly and Brian who used to be in Mo Dotti play in her band. They’re great! 

I am currently excited about all of my friends’ bands! 

JB: The way in which we hear about new music these days is vastly different compared to when I was a kid. It’s a novelty now to even think about the radio and actual physical print sources being the means in which we hear about new stuff. In this day of the internet and digital music, do you find it easier to record/release your music AND getting people to hear it? With so many artists doing their own releases, it can be difficult to keep up! And know whose tastes to trust…

GN: Yeah, it is super dense. I can’t believe anyone even knows who our band is, but I am grateful that they do. The internet definitely helps, although it is a huge distraction keeping humanity from tapping into a higher version of themselves. People’s brains have been completely rewired by Instagram & Tik Tok, and one has zero attention span because of it. Also, we are constantly inundated with so much imagery and information, how can you keep a clear head? I know there are worse things in this world, but I think we should normalize talking about how awful it is in daily conversation. On the flip side, people are able to find out about our music without us having a promoter or press agent share it, thanks to word of mouth on the Internet. I am super grateful to blogs that write about our band. To answer your question, no one would know who we are in 2024 if it weren’t for the internet. It’s the information superhighway!

JB In addition to a debut LP in the works, what does the future hold for Mo Dotti? (Hopefully some tour dates including Tucson?). You must be extremely excited to play Slide Away this month. How did that invitation to join that roster come about?

GN: We want to do everything! We want to release this record, tour, and then write another. We want to go where people like our music. Nothing very kindly asked us to play SLIDE AWAY in Los Angeles. What a cool bill to be included on! 

For more information or to make a purchase, please visit the Mo Dotti’s Bandcamp.

Upcoming Tour Dates:

March 30, 2024Slide Away Festival @ The Belasco
, Los Angeles, CA

April 22, 2024
 – Zebulon, 
Los Angeles, CA

May 23, 2024
 – Permanent Records Roadhouse, 
Los Angeles, CA

June 6, 2024 – 
Oakland Weekender @ Thee Stork Club, 
Oakland, CA