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Wednesday November 26th 2014

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Dragonette Says Hello

By Sarah McCartan

Chances are you know Dragonette for the chart topping dance club hit “Hello,” a collaboration with French DJ and producer Martin Solveig. I guarantee you that if you’ve heard the song even just once, you will find the lyrics, “I just came to say Hello” playing on repeat in your head.

This renowned track aside, the Canadian born, electro-pop, three-piece have been doing what they do for quite some time. They call it “homemade basement pop.”

Dragonette is comprised of a husband and wife tag team, lead singer and songwriter Martina Sorbara and bassist and producer Dan Kurtz, along with drummer Joel Stouffer. Touring in support of their third album “Bodyparts,” the trio is coming off of back-to-back high energy, sold out tours, most recently alongside the Presets, and just prior to that, Major Lazer.

The band is currently headlining a June tour, with a midway stop in Pensacola to say hello, Tuesday, June 18 at Vinyl Music Hall. The IN caught up with Dragonette’s leading lady Martina Sorbara to learn more about the band’s latest album, their steady stream of growth and underground roots.

IN: What was it like touring with the Presets? Was it an all out dance party?
SORBARA: That co-headlining tour was consistently awesome, and our crowds overlap. We have a segment in our show where we play several mellow songs in a row. At the Presets we were able to take it down and bring it back up and keep everyone with us. It’s rewarding to know you can keep your audience with you.

IN: Now you are headlining your own tour. Are there any destinations you are especially excited about? Firefly Festival looks like a great lineup.
SORBARA: A lot of fun bands will be at Firefly. I am excited to play shows in places like Miami and Austin that we’ve been before in circumstances that weren’t proper shows. We have only played late nightclub shows in Miami. And in Austin we’ve only played South by Southwest.

IN: Was “Bodyparts” a breakthrough point for the band? Or can you cite a specific point?
SORBARA: I don’t think we are that kind of band. Our career path has been an old fashioned trajectory—equal steps, a steady flow. Halfway through touring behind our last album, I remember going from feeling like, “How are we doing?” to being like, “People are going to our shows—we have an audience.” Continuous growth has been the only way we know to grow.

IN: What about the attention garnered from “Hello?”
SORBARA: “Hello” was one of the biggest songs in whatever the hell year it came out, but it didn’t change the core of our growth. Maybe if we had written three more “Hellos” it would have. Really we do what we do and that’s all we know—and that is typically playing to smaller audiences.

IN: Would you say that there is an established theme throughout “Bodyparts?”
SORBARA: I wanted the album to be sunny and happy even though that may not be super apparent when you listen to the whole thing. I just wanted to get away from nightclub sentiments. That wasn’t necessarily the theme, but I felt that chain was all over electro-pop music and I was having a reaction to hearing so much of that theme. I wanted to make music that sounded like daytime and sunshine.

IN: Do you have favorite tracks from the album, or ones that have seemed to really catch on with fans?
SORBARA: A lot of people seem to like the song “Ghost,” the most emotional song of the album. I didn’t know if anyone was going to gravitate toward it because it is sentimental and slower, and I’m not sure if that is what people listen to Dragonette for.

IN: Are there any women in music you cite as having inspired you in your own musical journey?
SORBARA: I think I have only been inspired by strong female front women. Bjork, Sinéad O’ Connor, Madonna, Blondie, Cyndi Lauper. These are the voices that formed my voice.

IN: What are your hopes for Dragonette moving forward?
SORBARA: I don’t think I’ve ever had any enormous dreams that feel really big and unattainable. I’ve only wanted to keep doing what I’m doing and keep feeling challenged and feel that we are growing at some rate—moving forward and doing interesting stuff that makes us feel really proud.

IN: How would you describe Dragonette for those who have yet to listen?
SORBARA: The reason that we are fairly underground is the type of music we write is all over the place, and it’s hard to describe it. That keeps us a bit small. People can’t say that it is this type of band. If labels can’t pigeonhole you, they can’t promote you, but that is also what is interesting about us. I call it “homemade basement pop.”

DRAGONETTE
WHAT: Dragonette with Nightbox
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 18
WHERE: Vinyl Music Hall, 2 S. Palafox
COST: $12 – $15; advance tickets available
DETAILS: vinylmusichall.com; dragonetteonline.com