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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Dizzy’s Katie Munshaw talks vulnerability of sharing new music

“Nothing new to report; just it’s all doom and gloom over here still,” lead singer Katie Munshaw of the indie-pop band Dizzy joked about her forthcoming music in a conversation with the Daily last month.

On the contrary, Dizzy’s recent work carries the band into a new era, turning a thoughtful and more seasoned eye on the music industry while cultivating its signature introspective style.

Composed of Munshaw and brothers Charlie, Alex and Mackenzie Spencer, Dizzy is slated to release its self-titled, third studio album on Aug. 18.

The band has put out three singles in anticipation of its upcoming album: “Barking Dog,” “Birthmark” and “Open Up Wide.” The tracks provide a continuation of the vulnerable songwriting in Dizzy’s previous work, but offer glimpses into a new stage of personal and artistic growth.

“I think that’s a pretty natural thing with any album or body of work. [It’s] like a snapshot of somebody’s life,” Munshaw said, specifically “the turmoil of being in my 20s.”

Munshaw spoke more about her songwriting process, going on tour and the anxiety of promoting oneself as an introvert.

“We wanted to make sure that this record was super defined and exactly how we wanted Dizzy to be represented, so we did a lot of production on our own. Our drummer [Charlie Spencer] is a really wonderful producer, but we also enlisted somebody called David Pramik who is more of a pop nerd guy,” Munshaw said. “He has really helped define the music but at the same time, we always had this argument in the studio of, ‘Is it too pop? Is it Dizzy? Is it too indie?’”

The singles are markedly more upbeat than some of the band’s older ballads like “Joshua” (2018) and “Ten” (2020), which — from experiencing heartbreak to acknowledging human mortality — grant listeners a window into Munshaw’s coming to grips with young adulthood.

However, the new releases still serve an important role in Dizzy’s discography and paint a picture of how the band has evolved throughout the past few years.

Over two albums and several EPs, listeners can trace the band’s trajectory from their small-town origins in Oshawa, Ontario, to pursuing a full-time career in music. Munshaw met Charlie Spencer in high school; the pair began making music together after graduation, later joined by guitarist Alex Spencer and bassist Mack Spencer.

Back in 2018, Dizzy’s debut album “Baby Teeth” explored the emotional depths of entering young adulthood. The motif of treading water — a narrow equilibrium between sinking and staying afloat — recurs throughout “Baby Teeth” as teenage Munshaw navigates whether coming of age means growing with, or apart from, loved ones.

“Took me all night just to convince you / To dive while you hold both my hands / But you let me go when feet touch the surface,” she sings on “Bleachers.” These tracks on Dizzy’s first album, written just after Munshaw graduated from high school, are infused with the nostalgia of that era, recalling moments that are both tender and bleak.

Dizzy’s sophomore album “The Sun and Her Scorch” (2020) evoked themes of coming to terms with aging and mortality. In the track “Roman Candles,” Munshaw grapples with the challenge of seeing her peers excel in their 20s while she took a more unconventional path as a musician.

In “Open Up Wide,” the band is newly critical of the expectations placed upon musicians by the industry, expressing the frustration that comes along with making art in a consumerist space.

“I find it strange how musicians are often introverted people, yet one of the largest parts of our job is visually selling ourselves to an audience. It feels unnatural to pine for strangers’ attention to afford rent or whatever, and as someone who’s particularly sensitive, it isn’t sustainable,” Munshaw wrote in a statement announcing the single’s release.

The album’s visual identity departs from Dizzy’s previous releases, a choice that Munshaw said was intentional to challenge the industry’s expectations that singers, particularly women, must use their appearance to market their artistic pursuits.

“I’m quite introverted, and having to post about yourself consistently for eight to 10 months leading up to something is really draining,” Munshaw revealed. “I feel a relief when it’s done.”

The album cover depicts Munshaw obscured by an alien mask, while the singles each feature a different Cracker Jack figurine on a solid-colored background.

“Basically, we work with my friend Ryan on all the visuals,” Munshaw said. “Once he was at a studio and saw literally a bunch of Cracker Jack toys, … I was like, ‘Yeah, that looks sick.’”

Ahead of the album drop, Dizzy is opening for Joywave on its North American tour through the end of the month.

“It’ll be kind of scary sharing [‘Birthmark’ and ‘Open Up Wide’] in person for the first time, especially to probably a bunch of strangers who don’t know our music,” Munshaw said.

Even so, Munshaw is excited to take to the road after the pandemic precluded Dizzy from touring following the release of “The Sun and Her Scorch.”

“I’m really stoked to get back out there. … I’m ready to get back into a general admission show and feel okay dancing my ass off on stage, … and hopefully the crowd is doing the same,” Munshaw said. “Especially because a couple of our new songs are more upbeat, … I’m ready to move again.”

Dizzy will perform at the Royale in Boston on April 22.

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