Dragonette are a silver lining band. The electropop trio makes the most out of all that they do no matter the circumstances, whether it’s losing a member or having their bus break down.
“The bus is fucked; that’s ‘f’ with a few asterisks,” jokes multi-instrumentalist Dan Kurtz.
Halfway through their current tour, their bus broke down in Clear Lake, Iowa. The band is okay, but the bus’s busted suspension has rendered it into nothing more than a glorified flatbed truck with a few fridges and televisions.
“It could’ve been worse though,” frontwoman Martina Sorbara tells the Appeal. “Besides, we had the best day off because of it. We ended up just swimming and hanging out.”
With the release of their critically acclaimed third LP Bodyparts, Dragonette hasn’t had a lot of downtime given their touring schedule and ever-changing dynamics. Their catalog has gone through a massive overhaul and what Kurtz describes as a “reconfiguration.” Each band member now plays multiple instruments and drummer Joel Stouffer has taken up more vocal duties as well.
“It was a challenge we were scared to take on. We see ourselves as instrumentalists and reticent computer programmers but now we’re looking forward to setting up and trying new instruments,” Kurtz says.
“Like with ‘Giddy Up’: it has a million vocal parts and I switch between guitar and bass guitar. It’s got this funky, hard to play keys part. It’s really fun and hella hard work, to the point where you’re kind of out of breath.”
Bodyparts’ infectious dance grooves inspire feelings of movement and freedom, with quintessential single “My Legs” acting as a late night anthem for the ages. Ultra-catchy thumps of synth propel Sorbara’s vocals through a waterfall of influences, many almost subconscious.
“I really like old country music. I enjoy the witty double entendres; same with jazz and jazz lyrics,” Sorbara explains.
“Old movies inspire me too. The language of the ’30s-’50s gets my mind chomping on words: the way it makes you think about phrases, social standards, or the way that people felt about things back then.”
Perhaps the most surprising intuitive muse comes from classical music. “In the middle section of ‘Run Run Run’ there’s this marathon guitar solo and it took me a while to realize but it’s a total riff from ‘Pachelbel’s Canon,’” Kurtz says.
San Francisco has been kind to the Toronto trio, even acting as a catalyst as they honed their signature sound. They played their first show as a three-piece in the city after a former guitarist backed out at the last minute at the airport. Dragonette used that sonic shift as yet another surprising source of motivation. Friday’s show at the Fox Theater in Oakland may prove just as pivotal.
“This is the best tour we’ve done,” Kurtz says.
“The Bay Area has been fun and easy for us. That’s been our experience. We love it.” adds Sorbara.