Brisbane sister act Dozzi are pretty comfortable playing in their hometown. They're used to jamming in front of the always receptive Queenslanders, but next week the harmony-singing trio will be cranking things up a notch.
CMC Rocks - Australia's biggest international country and roots festival - is setting up camp in Ipswich on March 13, with local darlings Dozzi on the bill alongside the likes of USA superstars Lady Antebellum, and homegrown talents Troy Cassar-Daley and Adam Brand.
With musical parents, showbiz is in Andrea, Jesse and Nina Dozzi's blood. The Queensland-based threesome has been wowing crowds from Tamworth to the Brisbane International, with Andrea on vocals and mandolin, Jesse on guitar and vocals, and Nina on keyboard and vocals.
We spoke to Andrea Dozzi about the girls' upcoming gig, what it was like writing and recording in Nashville, and the challenges of shaking off what currently defines country music.
It's March already! Are you amped for CMC Rocks?
January's always very hectic and very fun, then in February you have the come-down with the post-Tamworth blues. It's always good to have something exciting coming up, which in this case is CMC Rocks!
It's good, it keeps us going. We're going to be playing some new songs - we're really exciting about that - and are making sure our stage show is extra awesome.
There's lots of other musos we don't get to see very often except for certain festivals, so we've been texting them. We've got some of them staying with us because we're the Brissy band, so everyone's been saying "got any spare room?" [laughs]
Are you looking forward to seeing anyone in particular on stage?
Lady Antebellum number one, Kacey Musgrave number two!
You were in the States last year recording some new music. What was that like?
It's all a bit complicated. We were in the States last year recording, but none of that has been released yet. We did record an album a couple of years ago but, due to other things going on, we weren't able to release it.
This year we've got some exciting stuff planned – we can't say what's happening, but it's very exciting and everyone will find out soon enough!
What was it like being in Nashville, the heartland of country music?
It's amazing. Over there, it's different. Australians, a lot of the time, tend to put our drinking first and if there's music there, that's good too (which is always fun!). Over in the States, there's just live music every day of the week, especially in Nashville.
You're never bored there; it's country music too so that's extra awesome! It's a different kind of world, in a way. It's hard to believe until you see it. And the fact that you don't say 'pub', you say 'honky tonk', really makes it fun!
Where else did you get to travel in the US?
The trip we did last year was different to what we'd done before. I was over there on my honeymoon, so I'd already been to New Orleans, Miami and on a cruise, then I went to LA.
Nina was in Canada doing the Canada thing and so she met me in LA, and Jesse came to LA by herself, then we in LA for a week together before Nashville. Everyone got to fly long distance by themselves for the first time!
Pub, honky tonky, whatever you call it, here are the Best Country Music Bars in the USA
Keep it close to home and visit Australia’s Best Country Music Venues
Missed out on CMC Rocks? Plan Your 2015 Holiday Around These QLD Events
A lot of people have a certain idea of what country music is. Is that difficult, trying to shift the stigma and make people realise country music can be modern and fun?
Yes, that is hard. A lot of people say "I don't like country music" or they'll say "I like this, but I don't like country music". It's because they haven't heard enough of the latest country music to know what it sounds like. They're just stuck with the 'old-time' country music.
It's changed a lot. It's changed with the times like a lot of music, and it would be awesome if we could get it out there more so people realise. So many people like it and they just don't know it!
Has living in Brisbane had an influence on your music?
Writing about typical 'country' stuff is not really what we've lived, but we did grow up in the 'sticks' of Brisbane, so that helps! Our parents are musicians and dad wrote country music, so that's what influenced us with our music.
The only songs we would listen to growing up was what they'd written or what they were learning. So we knew the pub stuff and their original songs, but besides that there wasn't much we were aware of until we got older and could choose to listen for ourselves.
How important do you think it is that CMC Rocks is being held in Ipswich this year?
I think it's amazing! I'm hoping that a lot of the 'city folk' come and experience a different kind of music festival. It's so close and it's such a good line-up. Even if you don't listen to country music, you know who Lady Antebellum are!
I'm hoping it introduces a whole new lot of people to Australian country music, or just country music in general. It's awesome for us, because it's just down the road! It's 20 minutes away so no living out of suitcases for us!
If you could plan the ultimate tour, where would you go?
Nashville would definitely be on there; New York would definitely be on there too. And somewhere in Asia, like Tokyo. I studied Japanese in primary school so I can say hello and count. I just need to write a country song with counting in it!
When Dozzi hit the big time, what crazy things will you demand on your rider?
Red and purple skittles, personal chefs to make us healthy but really yummy food, lots of cider, and a tiger with a diamond collar. Named Raja, like the one from Aladdin!
What's next after CMC Rocks?
We're hopefully heading back to the States, and we've got some festivals coming up we haven't announced yet. Watch this space!
CMC Rocks QLD 2015 will take place March 13-15 at the Willowbank Raceway, promising three big days and nights of country tunes and camp-outs. Check out Dozzi's music on iTunes and keep up to date with their goings-on at dozzimusic.net