Short and Sweet: WMSE Talks to Dresses


Newbie west coast pop band, Dresses’ debut album title, Sun Shy is just the title one might expect from a sweet pop band from one of the rainiest and grayest parts of the country, but the songs are undeniably un-shy and sun-laden with assertive sweetness melting from the voice of Timothy Heller (the girl in the band, believe it or not). Partner in life and in music, Jared Ryan Maldano met nearly one year ago, but found it pretty easy right off the bat to compose catchy tunes together and the two celebrate the new relationship and album with a tour, stopping in Milwaukee tonight. WMSE talked to Timothy before Dresses’ Milwaukee appearance at Shank Hall.

How long has Dresses been writing music?

Jared and I started writing music together at the beginning of 2012. The first day we met, we wrote “Blew My Mind” which ended up being our first single!

Do you feel your sound is influenced by your home city in any way?

Probably — I feel like even if it doesn’t happen consciously, I’m influenced by Portland vibes whether I like it or not. There’s no way I can’t get musically inspired by a city I’ve lived in my whole life and I love so much.

Touring with a two-person band has its benefits — how has the road been treating you? And what are you looking forward to most for your Midwest dates?

The road has been awesome so far! But, it’s definitely not just the two of us. We have a full, live band and a tour manager with us, so there is six of us, all together. We recently got a 15-passenger though, so that’s making things a little easier. We’re in the Midwest right now and we just played Minnesota last night and it was awesome. I’m excited to go to Milwaukee, next.

Aside from Dresses, you’re a bit famous for your ukulele covers. What’s your favorite song to cover on uke?

Haha…I’m famous for it?! I’m not sure if I have a favorite song to play, but I know I’m definitely drawn to covering silly R&B songs that you wouldn’t expect. My favorite covers I’ve done are definitely “Suga Suga” or “Ignition (Remix)”.

How’s life at SideOneDummy? Favorite co-band on the label (at the moment)?

We love it! We feel really close to everyone working at the label, which is awesome. He isn’t a band, but SideOne released Erik Griffins’ comedy album (which is hilarious). You might recognize him as Montez from Workaholics…anyway, he’s the best and we got to hang out with him last time we visited SideOne.

Dresses open for a lineup including The Limousines and MONA at Shank Hall tonight. 8pm, 21+