A couple of weeks ago at The Rivoli in Toronto, I got a chance to hear Dance Yourself to Death’s debut album, Ready for Love, for the first time at their CD release party. The intimate venue could barely contain the crowd or the size of their songs. Their first full length is one of big proportions and aspirations. You can practically see the fist pumps and hand claps of an arena-sized audience while listening to the opening song ‘We Are All Made of Stone’. On ‘Only Love’, the lights are flying and the crowed is fired up singing along with the chorus. It’s an album that screams to be played live, but works just as well while listening to it on the bus with your headphones. I caught up with singer Jen Markowitz to ask her about the new album.
Kyle: I read that Elton John has a copy of your EP. How did that happen? Did you get to meet him? Were you a fan of Elton John before?
Jen: Nick Hurran, the director of a film Elton was producing called “It’s a Boy Girl Thing” came to see us play and asked us to contribute a song to the soundtrack. This was before we had recorded anything, so we hustled into the studio and put together our EP which was then sent to Elton John for approval. The next thing we knew, he wanted us to actually appear in the film playing one of our songs, so I guess he liked the EP. Were we a fan of his before? Is there anyone in the world who isn’t a fan of Elton John?
Kyle: I believe that the music being created by this generation is largely defined by the fact that it’s cool to listen to your parents record collections. Did your parents listen to a lot of the bands that influence your music?
Jen: My parents didn’t listen to pop music at all. We had a lot of classical music around when I was growing up. I really didn’t get into pop music until I was in my teens, and it wasn’t until I was in my early 20s that I became obsessed with discovering the records that I should have been listening to when I was growing up. It gave me a chance to get to discover a band’s entire catalogue all at once, so it often felt like I had won the lottery. I didn’t have my finger on the pulse at the time the records came out, but that lack of coolness served me well later on.
Kyle: The songs on your new full length album have a very big “arena-ready” sound to them. Is that something you set out to achieve?
Jen: We produced this record, and our goal was always to have it sound huge. DIY doesn’t have to sound DIY anymore. We consciously crafted pretty much every sound on the record.
Kyle: Do you aspire to play arena-sized venues one day?
Jen: It’s something every band dreams of to some degree. For now, we’re happy connecting with club sized crowds. There’s an unspoken joy in actually being able to see the faces in the audience.
Kyle: Define “romanticide.”
Jen: At the time I wrote ‘Teenage Romanticide’, it just sounded like a good line, but I’ve since had to think about what it actually means. I suppose it could be used to describe the pit in your stomach when a love affair comes to a sore end. The combination of loss, love, tenderness, anger, and jealousy that makes breakups so physically and emotionally taxing. But that just happens to be my definition of it today, I think it’s open to interpretation. What do you think it is?
Well, I don’t think I can come up with a better description than that, let’s hear what the readers have to say in the comment box.
Tags: Dance Yourself to Death