It’s hard to miss Nicole Rich on stage — with her hot pink hair and bubblegum colored Ernie Ball Music Man Caprice bass to match, the Doll Skin bassist brings a unique flare to the pop-punk scene. The four piece all-female ensemble formed at the School of Rock in Scottsdale, Ariz. and have been releasing their “bratty” punk songs to the world ever since. Doll Skin has toured alongside big names including The Dead Kennedy’s, HELLYEAH, and Social Distortion, while also securing a spot on last year’s farewell Warped Tour. Never afraid to be brutally honest, Doll Skin is loud and proud, and has no intention of being silent.
We had the opportunity to speak with Rich about her first introduction to music, Doll Skin’s third album, and the one thing she can’t live without on tour.
Q & A with Nicole Rich
EB: How did you get your start in the music industry?
NR: I grew up always loving music but when I entered high school it became my entire world. I wanted anything to do with the industry, working as a roadie, merch person… you name it. It wasn’t until I saw a parallel between myself and a musician [bassist Lyn-Z Way of Mindless Self Indulgence] that I realized I could be in the industry by actually playing music. I picked up the bass shortly after realizing I wanted to be just like her and here I am today!
EB: What was your earliest memory of music?
NR: Probably singing songs at bedtime with my dad. He would make up dance moves or hand motions to go along with songs and it was always so fun as a kid to sing and motion along to his favorite songs.
EB: Who has been your biggest inspiration in music?
NR: Lyn-Z Way for sure. I was a huge fan of emo in high school and through My Chemical Romance I learned of her band and how much of an incredible bassist and performer she is. Seeing someone I could relate to playing music made me want to play more than anything and as I’ve grown as a musician I’ve taken huge inspiration from Bikini Kill, Paramore, and The Regrettes. Other women playing music inspires me more than anything.
EB: This career isn’t an easy one. What inspires you to wake up every morning to write, record, and perform?
NR: The reality that I am truly living my dream. Of course there are ups and downs in ever career but the high’s of being a musician make you feel on top of the world. There is no better feeling than playing an energetic live show or writing a song you’re incredibly proud of. I love it more than anything I’ve ever done and I feel so lucky to call this my career.
EB: What is your best memory on stage?
NR: Our very first Warped Tour set was an insane memory. I remember looking out at the crowd and doing my very best to take in the moment and recognize that I was actually playing a festival I had only dreamed of playing. The venue was in Seattle and our stage faced a bunch of “amphitheater” style seating so it really felt like we were playing to a huge crowd.
EB: What’s the most abnormal thing you can’t do without on tour?
NR: Flip flops to shower in. Truly nothing worse than showering in a venue bathroom while barefoot.
EB: What was that pivotal moment in your career when you realized you knew this is what you wanted to do?
NR: I don’t know if there was an exact moment but probably after one of the first times we came home from tour. Being on tour feels more like home than being home does and once I realized that I think is when I knew I wanted to do this forever.
EB: How does playing music make you feel? How do you want people to feel when listening to your music?
NR: I feel every worry wash away from me when I start playing, any stresses I had during the day are completely erased when I play a live show. I want people at our shows to feel as weightless as I do on stage.
EB: What made you choose your Music Man and how does your instrument inspire you to create your signature sound?
NR: I really enjoy having an instrument that I feel fits me. My Caprice bass has a brightness I really appreciate in my tone and gives me an incredible live sound. My bass feels one with me when I’m playing it
EB: What is one piece of advice that you would give someone trying to jumpstart their career in music?
NR: Lots and lots of practice and say yes to every opportunity you’re presented with. Work hard and take pride in what you’re doing, no one.
EB: What’s next for Doll Skin?
NR: Our third album, a big ol’ summer tour with New Found Glory, and a sick tour over in Europe with our pals from Warped Trash Boat and Capstan.
Nicole Rich plays a custom Ernie Ball Music Man Caprice bass and relies on Ernie Ball Super Slinky bass strings. Lead vocals Sydney Dolezal plays Regular Slinky’s and guitarist Alex Snowden uses Paradigm Super Slinky’s.