It’s only been four months since brazen pop punk locals Dance Yourself To Death have been staging their hooks, riffs and wails, but the trio – Jen (lead vocals, bass), Susan (drums, backup vocals) and Nina (guitar) – have already experienced their share of punk rock calamity.
“The sound tech for one of our first shows had gotten punched in the face that afternoon, so he wasn’t in top shape. All of our electrical lines were crossed and I kept getting electric shocks off the mic. It sounds pretty rock’n’roll – getting electrocuted with each line you sing – but I prefer to protect myself from electrocution at all costs,” laughs Jen.
Aside from the obvious music-making motivators – “Drink tickets. Groupies. An excuse to hang out all the time. An excuse for Susan to actually buy a drum kit,” quips Jen – the trio’s aim is to steal the spotlight with a good dose of bravado.
“The three of us constantly discuss the fact that there’s a lack of brave, loud female bands in the limelight. We want to change that, and find an audience who’s interested in that sound.”
So far, so good. Since their wildly successful inaugural act at the stellar Rock Your Tits Off at the Gladstone in May, Dance Yourself To Death – who lifted their name from, yes, the Alice Cooper song – have successfully stormed a number of stages and the buzz generated by their well-wrought rhythms is catching.
It all began late last year, shortly after Nina and Jen met through a friend. “We ran into each other at a show and ended up talking the whole time the band was playing. We were those two girls at the back talking at top volume about our favourite records, ignoring the band and the various attempts by crowd members to shush us.
“Our first incarnation was the two of us, plus a different drummer, Luis. During a show we had at the Oasis last winter, we met Susan; she was performing solo. After the show, Susan challenged Luis to an arm wrestle and accidentally broke his arm. So we kicked him out and asked her to join the band.”
Since then, they’ve perfected a favoured cover – “Teenage Kicks” by The Undertones – and penned a small army of songs that swagger with rhythmic brawn and impressive vocal and lyrical depth.
“Other people’s stories often make their way into my song-writing. For example, a friend held a fundraiser after his stuff perished in a house fire. He called the party My Living Funeral, and confided in me that he’d fantasized it was his funeral, and took note of who attended. So I wrote a song called ‘Living Funeral’ about a girl who attends a dinner party only to discover that it’s her funeral. She’s disappointed with the turnout and the fact that the guests aren’t particularly remorseful.
For now, Dance Yourself To Death has got their own passions in check: “Onstage, what are we feeling? Usually sweaty. We’re always focussed on playing better than ever. We’re always checking if people are dancing. A mosh pit now and then would be nice.”
Dance Yourself To Death also plays the Safe And Sound Benefit for Internal House with Scandalnavia, Cougar Party, The Guest Bedroom and Galaxy at Sneaky Dee’s (431 College St) on Sat, Aug 20 at 8:30pm; $6-$10 sliding scale. They join Hunter Valentine on Wed, Aug 31 at the Drake Underground (1150 Queen St W); 9:30pm doors, $6 cover. Booking and fan mail can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.