The Sum of Dragonette’s Parts
Like a favorite pair of blue jeans, the cabaret was a place where people felt comfortable. To celebrate their 10-year anniversary, Hudson Jeans have adopted this free-spirited mentality with the launch of the “Hudson Cabaret” —a tribute to pushing past the boundaries and living a life free of inhibition. Always a fan of self-expression, anniversaries, and bon-vivant, Interview searched our archives for our favorite moments with the most rebellious and denim-loving subjects; those who stray from the usual rules of society and “let themselves go.”
“Bodyparts” might sound gruesome—but applied to the music of electro-pop act Dragonette, the image is intriguing. Bodyparts is the title of Dragonette’s third record, out now.
After collaborating with Martin Solveig on the danceable track “Hello,” husband-and-wife duo Martina Sorbara and Dan Kurtz, with Joel Stouffer, have put together an album that is all about letting loose and staying out late dancing. Sorbara and Kurtz created this project after following their own separate musical endeavors: Kurtz as a member of The New Deal and Sorbara as a solo artist and neo-folk singer. The Canadian band’s new-wave revival continues with Bodyparts, which comprises diverse rock and pop influences comparable to everyone from New Young Pony Club to Scissor Sisters. Their knack for fun and style even brought them to Milan for its Fashion Week last year. (In fact, we happen to have some personal experience with Dragonette pumping up a party.)
Interview caught up with Martina Sorbara via Skype on turning art into music, writing with her husband, and leaving her cat while she is on tour.
ILANA KAPLAN: Thanks for doing this with me!
MARTINA SORBARA: I hope you can’t see my video, because I don’t look very good.
KAPLAN: I doubt that!
SORBARA: Ok good. I am a bit stressed out. I’m packing up my house right now.
KAPLAN: Oh no!
SORBARA: I know. Mostly it’s totally fine, but I have a cat that I have to leave here and my neighbors are going take care of him. It’s breaking my heart, because I love him. It’s sad. I’m going to get him back. He’s just going to be here a little while when I’m on tour, unless I change my mind by tomorrow. Then he’s coming with me.
KAPLAN: Who are you going on tour with?
SORBARA: We’re doing a tour in September with The Knocks, then we’re doing a tour in Canada with this band called Dataromance. We’re going everywhere… almost.
KAPLAN: Bodyparts is a pretty interesting title for your album. What’s the background on that?
SORBARA: I was looking at a blog, and I saw a piece of art that was called “Bodyparts.” I was actually just on the blog now. I need to go back and search it on the website it was on, because I can’t even remember what it looked like. Maybe it was the name of the art show? The piece of art was really cute and fun. All of a sudden I saw the word “Bodyparts” as something not horrific. It was just kind of something different. There’s a song on the album called “My Legs Go Out Late,” and it’s about how my legs go out late dancing. I don’t know. It just kind of made sense. I liked the way the word looked, and I liked being able to put a different image that was not gross with that word. You see it differently.
KAPLAN: “Let It Go” has been a really fun summer song. I know I always run to it. Was that the single that was your top pick to go out first, or did you intend for another one to be the first single?
SORBARA: That and “Live In This City.” It was up in the air. We didn’t know which one we were going to do first, actually. We just kind of landed on that. I guess it’s sort of a sorry-feeling song, but so is “Live In This City.” I guess it’s summertime, so it gets to be a summer song as well.
KAPLAN: Was Bodyparts based on your and your husband’s personal experiences, or is it just kind of random thoughts you have put together?
SORBARA: Writing songs for me becomes an outlet from anywhere between images and ideas that come up in my mind, but also it’s a way for me to listen to stories that are inside my mind and things that have affected me, that don’t necessarily come out in other ways, like conversation. It’s the way that I work through a lot of things that have happened to me or things that I’m emotionally stuck on; my responsibilities or accomplishments. I don’t know how it works its way in. I know it inspired the album name, but not in a super-direct way. I wouldn’t be able to say that this song is attached to this piece of art. I think all art encompasses all other forms of art. I enjoy art, and I enjoy paying attention to what’s going on. I don’t know how to draw a direct line from what I see.
KAPLAN: Do you and Dan write music together?
SORBARA: It’s kind of like tag-teaming. The more songs we write, the more we’re able to put our heads together, be in the studio at the same time and not feel like we’re insulting each other when we’re giving instruction. I think we’re becoming more grown-up and less vulnerable in terms of being able to sit down and not feel like we’re stepping on each other’s toes.
KAPLAN: How do you feel like you’ve grown since recording your first album and transitioning into Bodyparts?
SORBARA: I don’t know. I know I have. I know our album is different from our other songs, albums, and other stuff. I think, just technically, I’ve become better. I think that you’re talking about a broader thing, but even just the little thing of, I’m going to become better in the studio, and I’m able to execute more of what’s in my mind and make it happen musically in the track. I think what’s happened over the past seven years of being in this band, and I think that kind of goes around the whole spectrum of writing in terms of the creativity and writing. I think that growth has probably happened everywhere. I think after working with different artists, you learn a lot from the way that they do things. I feel like I’m proud of the things I’ve learned over the time we’ve been doing this.
DRAGONETTE’S THIRD ALBUM BODYPARTS IS OUT NOW. FOR MORE ON THE BAND, VISIT THEIR WEBSITE.