“Santa's Bringing Me Beer
,” a new single to be released by the Dollhouse Thieves
on Wednesday, December 15, is an ode to the lighter side of the holidays.
“I think we were all feeling how it’s been a really tough pandemic for everybody,” lead vocalist Niki Tredinnick says. “We wanted to put out cheer and laughter and fun.”
Although the band has been together for five years, this is the first song its members have produced completely by themselves from home studios. Each member — Tredinnick and her husband, Luke, guitarist Jacy James Anderson, bassist Ryan Self and drummer Steve Dexter Bott — self-recorded their tracks, and Bott
mixed and mastered the single. DIY recording is one of many changes the band has made to practice safe social distancing during the pandemic, but being able to create from home has been “one of the silver linings,” Tredinnick adds.
She first thought of the song in November while on a daily walk with her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. Walking has been a tonic for mental health, especially during the past two years, Tredinnick says. On this particular day, her thoughts revolved around what she normally wants for Christmas.
“I was like, ‘I don’t know what I want for Christmas. Beer?' Santa always puts beer in my husband’s and my stockings,” she says.
Tredinnick and her husband formed the Dollhouse Thieves in 2015 as a way to further experiment with their own songwriting. As horn players, they had predominantly played for other bands or performed covers.
The Dollhouse Thieves released its first full-length self-titled album in 2018 after honing its multi-instrument sound by blending neo-rock, indie-folk and jazz-influenced sounds. The band gigs extensively around the city, often frequenting breweries such as Fiction Beer Company
, Cerebral Brewing
, River North Brewery
and Woods Boss Brewing Company
The Tredinnicks want their daughter to be part of their musical lives and have often brought her on stage during performances.
Tredinnick says she had Woods Boss in mind when writing “Santa’s Bringing Me Beer.” The brewery has a Magical Narwhal Candy Cane Unicorn
milk stout that she loves, and the venue has been a longtime home away from home.
The Tredinnicks have hosted a weekly open mic at Woods Boss since 2018, and after they had their daughter in May 2019, they often took her along to the event. “Music brought Luke and me together, and we wanted music to be a part of our lives,” Tredinnick says. When she was smaller, they would sometimes perform with their daughter in a baby carrier on stage.
When the pandemic began, the Tredinnicks hosted the open mic online
and stopped performing in person. Once its members were able to get vaccines in spring 2021, the Dollhouse Thieves started playing live shows again.
This past fall, the band began to toy with the idea of self-recording. Tredinnick credits Self, who is new to the band, with fueling her confidence to do so. The bandmates agreed that they needed a lively first song to work with, and Tredinnick says she told them about the funny Christmas song she wrote.
The artwork for "Santa's Bringing Me Beer" was created by Michael DiSante.
She sent her bandmates the scratch version of “Santa’s Bringing Me Beer” around Thanksgiving, and they had it fully recorded two weeks later.
“In our band, we really value collaboration and individuality and creativity,” Tredinnick says. “So far, I write the songs, and then that’s the skeleton, and we take it into rehearsal. There it takes on its shape and personality and overall product through the other bandmembers.”
The result is a mixture of different genres made for dancing. Between saxophone and trombone solos, rockabilly and ska influences create an upbeat tempo. It’s just the kind of song that warrants putting up a few Christmas lights after cracking open a beer.
“I hope [listeners] laugh,” Tredinnick says. “I hope they’re happy. I hope they think about how fun it is to think about Santa Claus and what that means for adults and kids alike. Hey, we’re still in this pandemic, and that’s tough. But we’re not alone, and we still have really great things like local beer and bands and friends and family.”
The Dollhouse Thieves release "Santa's Bringing Me Beer" on Bandcamp Wednesday, December 15. To follow the band, check out its Facebook, Instagram or website.