The London-based folk musicians still have a soft spot for Derry-Londonderry
Last month, Zoe Nicol (above, left) and Rosie Jones (above, right), aka Worry Dolls, were declared the winners of the "Are You Legenderry?" competition, beating nearly a hundred other performers to win a slot at Derry-Londonderry's Music City! celebrations on June 21.
Described by UK City Of Culture musician in residence Neil Cowley as "humorous and charming" folk songwriters with "sublime harmonies", the London-based duo have also released their first EP and featured at the Glastonbury festival this year.
We catch up with the duo in the aftermath of their recent successes.
How was your first visit to Northern Ireland, especially the City Of Culture 2013? What stood out for you most?
Rosie Jones: It was such a great experience. We used to live in Liverpool, and there were many similarities between there and Derry for me. The people were so welcoming and friendly; that always seems to be the case up north! Being there during the City Of Culture festivities made it even better, because the city was alive with music. There were buskers on every street corner. We absolutely love Ireland, because wherever you are, you're immersed in folk music.
It was only a shame that our stay was so brief; we saw the inside of the airport for nearly as long as the city itself!
So you'll definitely be coming back to Ireland again then?
Zoe Nicol: Yes! I am coming back for a holiday this year. Though really, I have always wanted to go back to Ireland since going there as a bump in my mum's stomach.
Jones: We hope so! We are planning to tour the UK in 2014, but we may have to set time aside for a separate Irish tour, so we can spend more time there.
Nicol: If anyone out there has ideas for venues we can play in, or just wants to be involved in our Irish tour, please get in touch!
How does it feel to have released your first EP and to have landed four shows at the Glastonbury festival?
Jones: Glastonbury was crazy. We played a show nearly every day and had such a great response. On the Sunday, we played a set after not having showered for a week! It's actually one of my favourite places in the whole world... I go every year.
Nicol: We're so happy to have the EP out there. It's fantastic to finally have a physical piece of work to represent us, and to top that off, we got to perform Glasto four times this year. We were hoping for at least one gig, so that was pretty good going.
How would you best describe your music and lyrics?
Nicol: Indie, folk and acoustic, with a comic twist.
Jones: We've been called both "quirky" and "witch-folk", which I quite like. Personally, I would say harmony-led quirky folk.
How do you feel you've developed as performers since you've started playing?
Nicol: We were already performers in our own right before Worry Dolls came to be. So I think the most interesting thing about us is how we have developed as a duo and grown as an act. Since the beginning of Worry Dolls, we have introduced new instruments to our set up, like banjo and mandolin, so I think that has added a lot to our overall sound and development.
Jones: Since I bought the stomp box, we've written more upbeat, foot stomping tunes. Our instruments definitely inspire us. In the last couple of years, our harmonies have become much tighter. Sometimes, we even feel like we can read each other's thoughts onstage; we often both make the same mistake at the same time!
In closing, what can post-Glastonbury audiences and beyond expect from Worry Dolls?
Jones: More noise. Bigger, louder things, and new songs.
Nicol: We are in the process of mixing our next EP. It's a very exciting project indeed, with lots of collaborations from good indie folk friends in London. We're planning to tour in 2014, record a debut album, and, of course, come back to Ireland on tour!
Check out the offical Worry Dolls site at www.worrydollsmusic.com.