Dragonette on New Order’s Unfriendly Fans, One-Night Stands + More
Canada has really got it figured out. Between poutine and legal drinking at 18, not to mention MuchFACT (A Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent), we’ve got half a mind to move up there ourselves.
MuchFACT-supported artist Dragonette aren’t exactly the ubiquitous face-of-pop superstars that some of their contemporaries, like Lady Gaga, have become, but the trio’s savvy synth-pop certainly warrants a listen.
‘Bodyparts,’ the band’s latest full-length, boasts heavy bass lines, viciously catchy leads and the dripping-with-sex vocalizing of singer Martina Sorbara. Diffuser.fm recently got the frontwoman on the phone for a chat about what it’s like to open for legends and steal boyfriends.
Hey Martina. Are you in Toronto?
No, I’m in Cleveland.
What’s going on in Cleveland? Are you on tour?
Yeah, I’m flying to Nashville, and we had a show here last night with Major Lazer.
Does that mean Diplo was in attendance?
Yes, it does.
I caught them last Summer at Governor’s Ball. They put on quite a show.
Yeah, it’s crazy!
Is it difficult to open for such a bombastic performer?
Well, you know. There’s pressure…
How does a show with Major Lazer compare to something like the New Order or Duran Duran shows you’ve done in the past?
Well, New Order was only once, and it was the worst thing ever.
Because, well first of all, it was like … the fifth live show we played in our existence. And the audience was 40-50-year-old men wearing all black, boots. It was, let’s just say, not an open-hearted crowd. They were not there to have fun.
It seems like a lot of the people that are still into New Order would only be there to see New Order.
Yes! Totally! It was an offense, an affront to their good music taste to see a not-yet-realized pop band play before their god.
I totally get that. That’s funny.
It wasn’t funny at the time, but it’s funny now.
Right, just one of those things. So, Nashville. You guys recording or doing another show? What’s going on there?
Yep, another show with Major Lazer. We’re doing seven more dates with them. We have the night off tonight in Nashville, and then tomorrow we play. I’ve never been to Nashville, actually, to be honest.
It’s very pretty.
Oh, really? I’m excited.
Yes, lots of park area and trees. Music Row isn’t anything special to look at, but it’s cool to walk down and feel that … energy.
So, I initially found out about Dragonette through I Surrender Records, which is known more for pop-punk than your style of music. What’s your relationship with them?
Well, they released one of our albums, [2009’s ‘Galore’], so it was a short relationship. It was significant for us, because it was where we went after we left our major label in the U.K. So, that was a very nice place to fall, because it’s a tiny little tight family, that record label. It was cool to think that there was this punk guy, Rob [Hitt], that wanted to release this weird hybrid version of pop-dance-electro-rock weird music.
I thought that was interesting, too. When I discovered you guys through the I Surrender website, I recall thinking that it was a curious direction for them to take.
Yeah, well, I think maybe what Rob heard was — and especially that album — he just got that our thing was unique. That’s how it fit in. I think we were a bit homeless, in terms of genre, and it overlapped enough with his alternative music taste. It wasn’t an obvious fit, but he dug it.
Do you think you benefited from any of his Crush Management relationships while you were on the label?
I don’t know, because I’m kind of a dickhead when it comes to knowing what’s going on business-wise. But I think just the fact that you discovered us through I Surrender, it had to have brought a web of people that know about us who wouldn’t have if we hadn’t had that signing. I don’t know what we accomplished, but just as a record, it was what took us out of being this kind of major-label failure to being successful by ourselves, by making a record we like and can stand behind and want to play live. And then all of the sudden we were standing on our own legs.
Sounds like it was a wildly successful release, then.
Yeah, I mean, not in the scheme of wildly successful releases if you actually look at the chart, but it was our stabilizer.
But it sounds like the record brought you out of a bad situation with Mercury, so it was successful in that sense.
Yeah, it definitely was.
We usually stick to the music, but in an old band bio, it says that you and bassist/producer Dan Kurtz started the band after a one-night stand together at a music festival. What was the fallout from revealing that?
Yeah, well, the fallout was probably not a pretty situation for, you know, the other girl. But that’s all healed up now. Um, yeah, it’s not like anything to be proud of.
But it was a really funny way to open up the bio.
I know, it is. Yeah, we met, and it wasn’t ideal. It was hurtful for some people, but we ended up doing good things together, and she married a millionaire. So way to go!
And you’re no longer romantically involved with Dan?
Why do you say that?
That biography was written a long time ago, so I was just curious.
Wait, so you’re looking at an old bio?
I came across it and I was addressing it because it was funny.
Oh! I thought that was what our bio said right now, and I was like, “F—!”