Backstage with Dance For The Dying (Part 1)

Dance For The Dying is:

M.C. Wolfe – Vocalist/Synth

Josh Hunter – Guitarist/Synth

Brad Cantor – Bass/Synth

Chris Link – Drums/Percussion

1. Where is everyone from and how did you meet?

Chris: We’re all from the D.C., Baltimore and Northern Virginia area. We met as a result of me posting a Craigslist ad to try to start a band. Josh found my ad first and we started jamming together. Brad we found about 6 months later.

M.C.: I was introduced to Josh in the summer of 2009 by his girlfriend, Kathryn Parker, who was a coworker of mine. She knew I was looking for a new music project and he was just getting back into musical pursuits as well. A few months later I was invited to a practice session with Josh and Chris, and the next thing I knew I was in the band.

M.C. Wolfe, Angelica Anderson, Kathryn Parker

2. Where did the name Dance For The Dying come from and what were the names that didn’t make the cut?

M.C.: There never were any other names. The band was named before it was a band. Chris came across the idea in his travels. It was more of a concept than a phrase.

Chris: I heard about some kids who were trying to cheer up some very sick elderly people who were dying. I thought to myself if I was going to take this serious again ever playing music as a performer it makes sense, we’re all dying. Let’s dance for the dying.

Josh: I wasn’t like “fuck yeah” until he told me the story first. It was a strong story and I was on board.

Brad: I just don’t think names matter for bands, you’ll name it and then form around it. Names are not really important unless they are awful.

Brad Cantor, Raul Flores

3. How was your first concert experience together as a band? Do you remember how it felt once it was over?

Brad: Our first show was at Rock & Roll Hotel. We didn’t have very much material and we weren’t particularly practiced.  Thankfully there weren’t too many people there and it wasn’t an embarrassing experience.

Josh: And it wasn’t a nothing show! Producer Justin Long from The Powder Mill was there and he approached us to work on our first EP based on our performance.

Brad: He was nice enough to offer us a very nice arrangement for our EP and help us record, mix and master it. That was one of the most positive results from our first show.

M.C.: It took me a few shows to start getting myself together and overcome some anxiety. Our first show was a little rough, for sure. There were some unplanned surprises during the set that kind of had us stumbling at moments. We’ve come a long way since then.

Chris Link

4. Did you always have a passion growing up to be musicians?

Brad: Nope!

M.C.: There was always music in my house, I played a handful of instruments by ear as a child and my older sister sings. I had terrible stage fright and never really imagined I would become a musician, although I did want to act and became involved in theater. Music was something I did to make myself happy.

Josh: I wanted to be a professional soccer player, I wanted to be Alexi Lalas. Also when I was 10 years old I wanted to take over for Jim Davis who draws the Garfield cartoon. Sunday Funnies was my shit!

Chris: I only ever wanted to be a rock star but you have to be able to play music to do it. Seeing my first drum kit at 5 years old, living in the MTV era, I was just so in awe. It was all I strived to do but then reality set in and I had to get a day job haha. But it’s truly nice to be able to still make music.

Josh Hunter

5. What is the writing process for your music?

M.C.: We are each almost entirely responsible for the instruments we play- so for example I am to blame for the lyrics and vocal melodies- but changes might be made based on the suggestions of bandmates. I talk to myself a lot and sing to myself as well, and a several of the ideas I get for lyrics start there.

Josh: Anybody can bring in a three chord progression or an idea where they want to go emotionally. You let everyone’s ideas influence your idea and then the end result can be so far removed from your original idea but you still fall so much more in love with it. It’s made better by the other member’s involvement.

Chris: We all shape the songs together, sometimes on certain songs one person will take the lead. I really enjoy the process that we have where we all work together and hammer it out.

Brad Cantor, Chris Link

6. M.C. your voice is very unique, when did you realize you had this talent?

M.C.: I don’t really know? I have been singing since I was a child, but this is the first time I’ve been involved with a project where I’m comfortable singing however I feel rather than trying to sound pretty all the time.

Bradley W. Johnson, M.C. Wolfe, Angelica Anderson

7. What bands influenced you when you began as a musician?

M.C.: The Pixies, Metric, Morrissey, The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s…

Brad: Echo and the Bunnymen, The Faint and Fugazi.

Josh: Brad and I share a view influences in the post-punk type bands like Joy Division and New Order. The Cure is my biggest influence, those bands that came out in that era very much influence my guitar playing. We also segwayed into the hard rock and pop of the mid to late 80′s and early 90′s.

Chris: I was a metal kid, I was playing double bass early on. Brad and I also share that shredder love like Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth. Over the years I learned to appreciate drummers that did less. That also influenced me to lessen my own drum kit from having a ton of toms and cymbals. I did just added a china cymbal…

Josh: Then he fucking beats himself up about it!

Chris: I was so leery of putting it on there like is that too much? But The Cranberries, Metric, The Killers and definitely Coheed and Cambria influenced me later on.

Chris Link

8. What is your favorite song to play live?

Chris: I like playing Mannequin, it’s a very interactive call and response song. I really enjoy when people are getting into it.

M.C.: ”Echo” is fun because it’s frequently the one that gets the most audience participation, but it isn’t usually my strongest song live. I really enjoy playing the newer songs in our set.

Josh: I love playing “Ordinary Objects”, there something about how that song comes in. But I’ll be lame and say that I like playing all our songs live. There is never a point on the set where I’m like “oh this song…let me trudge thought that”. 

Josh Hunter, Chris Link

9. Do you ever look back and feel like you should re-write or re-record any of your songs?

Chris: Always! But even if we re-record them we’d still want to re-record them again. Years later we’d still find faults and want to change them. Everything evolves over time. 

M.C.: We’ve made little changes to our songs live and have a more solidified sound as a whole, so re-recording would be tempting to try to capture that.

Josh Hunter, Vincent Ricardel

10. M.C. could you tell us what M.C. stands for? Or should it remain a mystery?

M.C.: It isn’t really a mystery, but it’s fun to let people guess. In the end I think most are less than impressed with the answer, but ask me in person and I’ll tell you.

M.C. Wolfe, Bradley W. Johnson, Chris Link

11. You recently started an indiegogo campaign to help fund your next EP that is set to be released on September 29nd. Can you tell us more about that?

Brad: We are turning to our fans, friends, family and loved ones to see if they are interested in helping us out in order to release our new EP. Fortunately we’ve heard a pretty good response so far but we’re still far away from our goal. We’re hoping we can encourage people to go to www.indiegogo.com/dftd2012 or www.danceforthedying.com to donate!

Chris: We really need the support to get done everything we want to get done. We’ve saved a lot of money and we’re pretty much investing everything that we have. In order to take it further than we can take it we need the people’s help to really get it done.

M.C.: We’re entirely independent and self-funded, which would be fine if we had money, but unfortunately some of us (me) are flat broke. The cost of a well executed record release can be high, and we really want to do it right, so we decided to reach out for support. We’re offering a variety of things in exchange for the contributions made to our campaign, ranging from music downloads and CD’s to artwork and live performances.

12. How do the new songs differ from the last EP?

Brad: The first EP had poppier songs and now the new songs are much more diverse. It will reflect our sound much better than we did before.

M.C.: We knew each other better when writing the second set of songs, and we had a better idea of who we were as a band. I think we also became more confident incorporating our full range of instruments in songs, so the synths are a little more notable. However- there is no glockenspiel on the 2nd EP.

Vincent Ricardel, Josh Hunter

13. Do you have any plans on releasing a full length album in the near future?

M.C.: Recording a full length release has been discussed.

Brad: We definitely have the songs to do it.

Chris: It really comes down to more expense and time and if we do it we want to do it well, we want to do it right. Yes the truth is we’d love to, we want to keep pushing out new music for people who’ve been listening to the first EP over and over again and want something new.

Josh: We battled to do it this time around but we just wanted to make sure it’s done our way and we can present it someway that the package makes sense. Not just for ourselves as consumers and lovers of music but especially to our fans. 

Chris: I would rather put out a single every 3 months than put out one full length that isn’t done well. I’m happier putting out 5 songs at a time if it’s quality.

Chris Link

14. What are your favorite venues to play in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area?

M.C.: Red Palace is one of the venues that we have really enjoyed playing. It’s a good space, the sound is nice, the staff is cool. Black Cat beats everyone for genuine hospitality, though. The first time we played there someone came to apologize to us for their falafel outage. Just in case we decided to order falafel, which none of us had.

Brad: Velvet Lounge is fun because you can just talk and the crowd is right there so you can have conversations without microphones. Rock & Roll Hotel and DC9 also have a really great sound.

Josh: There’s a character for every place you play. The room is that character and we love the character of our hometown of Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Kathryn Parker, Josh Hunter

15. What kind of plans do you have in store for the future?

M.C.: Taking music as far as it will go, continuing on the path to eccentric artist, walking off into the ocean.

Chris Link, Angelica Anderson

 

Help support the release of the new Dance For The Dying EP at: www.indiegogo.com/dftd2012

Catch them live at Jammin Java on Wednesday, August 8th with Charlene Kaye, Jay Stolar and Megaphone Barons: Buy tickets

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