Words and images by Jen Gore
On the final day of INKcarceration 2019, we sat down with Monster Dolls for a Q & A. The group is comprised of Angelique Graves, Bellatrix Blade, Frankie Von Doll, Misery Creeps, ScarrieAnne Stalker, Zelda Hex and Abigail’s Baby Doll. Here’s what they had to say…
Music In Motion Columbus: How many times have you performed at INKcarceration?
Monster Dolls: (Frankie Von Doll) This actually was our first time at INKcarceration.
MIMC: Do you play a lot of small venues or both small and large venues?
MD: (Frankie Von Doll) We typically play in larger venues. We do a lot of music festivals, tattoo conventions, horror conventions. So, we don’t do a whole lot of small shows, we do bigger events.
MIMC: Do you find that you have a lot of interaction with your fans even at the big places?
MD: (Angelique Graves) Absolutely we do, we love our fans. They give us so much energy, so much life and we wouldn’t be here without them. So, thank you to all our fans. Yes, and you see that in our stage production. We’re very interactive. Each of us in our own way, especially with kids. We want them to feel our energy and we want them to be energetic alongside with us. Even on social media we all have our character pages and we interact with each other; we interact with our fans. And it’s us, even on our page Monster Dolls we’ll reach out to our fans if they have questions and tag us.
MIMC: How did you get into this? I mean did you all have different jobs (outside of dancing/music) or did you grow up being dancers?
MD: [Most of the group shaking their head yes] (Angelique Graves) The group formed by the Frankie Von Doll character herself from the start and belly dancing and different styles of dance that we bring in. The group has grown and evolved tremendously over the past years alone. We’re dark horror cabaret dancers… we’re individuals where we wear masks. So, we have very custom masks. Shout out to our mask maker! He does a lot of amazing work for us. We’re professionals and we do a variety… from belly dancing to ballet and modern and contemporary, to the knife show with contortion to burlesque and fire.
MIMC: Well, I’m sure you must love what you do. I mean, I know it probably takes a lot of training and dedication to keep up.
MD: (Misery Creeps) Yes, the training is super, super intense. All of us are professionals. We’ve got this girl (pointing to Abigail’s Baby Doll) who’s in a dance studio teaching other people all the time. I train three hours a day for three to five days a week so I can stay limber. She’s (pointing to Angelique Graves) constantly spinning in the back yard. All our free time is dedicated to making sure this is the best show that it can possibly be.
MIMC: What are some pre-show ways you psych yourself up? Do you even have to psych yourself up?
MD: (ScarrieAnne Stalker) You’re asking a group of lady monsters. (laughter among the group) Where should we start?
(Frankie Von Doll) Well, that’s a hard one. We get angry a lot. And we have to, because we have to be mean, aggressive monsters and get into our character. So, I have to get angry.
(Misery Creeps) We kind of do our own thing, each one of us gets into our own head. We kind of do our own thing because once we get into the show, and we step on that stage, we all come together like the first time. Like, we haven’t seen each other in months and that’s where that kind of connection and energy come from. So, we do all kind of do our own thing backstage… we almost don’t talk to each other. And we get up on stage and that’s where you see that connection.
(Frankie Von Doll) We have to transform into that character.
MIMC: During the week are you all prim and proper in your business suits?
MD: (Bellatrix) I wouldn’t take it that far but…
(ScarrieAnne Stalker) This is a very nice outlet.
(Angelique Graves) Although, we typically have monster hangovers.
(Frankie Von Doll) It’s sad you got to take it all off and be adorable.
(Angelique Graves) That’s boring. (Misery Creeps) It’s the worst.
MIMC: Do you think it expresses your personality? That it’s like an outlet?
MD: [Group members shaking their heads in agreement] (Misery Creeps) It’s therapy. It gets us through our “real” lives.
MIMC: So, it’s like a part of who you really are?
MD: (Frankie Von Doll) Yes.
(Scarrie Anne Stalker) It’s very much like an alter ego. All our characters are us. You know, it’s just our way of expressing that.
MIMC: You each design your own wardrobe, correct?
MD: [Group members nodding and saying yes] (Bellatrix Blade) We have to help each other out too, though.
(Misery Creeps) It’s all custom. We give each other pieces… like this is Frankie’s today. She’s like ‘you need to put it on.’
MIMC: Is there anything you would like your fans to know?
MD: (Angelique Graves) Yeah, check us out and follow us on all of our social media. We’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. And we have a website as well, so you can read a little bit about us, our characters.