Interview with The Dance Party

Photo by Michelle Musikantow

How did you guys get your start as The Dance Party?

Mick, the lead singer, and I (Kevin, the guitarist) have been playing music together for 5 years. We got a lot of attention in Washington, D.C. where we’re from, but we wanted to go bigger. I met Jonny, our drummer, at CMJ three years ago when he was a fill-in drummer for some bands that were getting big. We all ended up going on a 3-day bender in New York and we hit it off. A couple months later when we needed a drummer Jonny was the first person I thought to call. So, he joined the band and literally a week later we were opening for Girl Talk in front of 2,000 people. It was a pretty cool way of starting off. Then, Jonny had to leave to go on tour with another band and we were like, “Oh, shit what do we do?”. But, he ended up coming back, we put it all together and got real serious. We started playing as many shows as possible and then we started getting label interest pretty fast. Atlantic Records gave us an offer, so we moved out to California to record the new album.

How did your residency gig at the strip club “Crazy Girls” in California come about?

We were out in California recording with people and getting the record together and I was out some random night with my buddy Chris. We were partying and he tells me he wants me to meet this girl who’s a stripper. We meet her and Chris tells her, “Kevin’s in a band. They want to play your strip club.” It was just drunk talk. Then, I wake up the next morning give our manager the stripper’s number and he and Mick go out there to the strip club to see if it was legit. And they let us start playing there the next Wednesday night. We already had a bunch of friends and fans out there, which was rad. Mike, the promoter at the club, just loved us. Girls that worked there were asking to work our nights.

Do you identify the most with party rock?

I’ve always liked party rock. I love Van Halen, Def Leppard, Prince, those kinda acts. We’re about getting as big as possible; throwing parties and playing music. We write the music we wanna write and it’s definitely indicative of who we are.

Let’s talk about your new album ‘Touch.’ What kind of sound was the band going for?

We wanted to do something like Prince meets Def Leppard meets The Killers meets The Dance Party [laughs]. I think that’s what caught people’s ears that wanted to work with us. We wanted to write an arena rock record. Those are the bands we look up to, the ones who play arenas. I think there’s a void in that area now. Maybe it sounds pretentious to say I want to play arenas, but I’m not messing around. We’re not doing this for real and full-time to not do that!

Judging by the credits on the album, it looks like you were working with some big names.

The one thing we lucked out with is that everyone we got to work with was super talented. When we came out to L.A. we were there for a year living in a hotel. On our first day in Los Angeles we got to work with Justin Hawkins, that guy was a trip. We didn’t write anything with him that made the record, but it was totally a learning experience. We also got to jam with Toto. We had a mutual friend with David Paich. We’re really open minded about working with whoever.

Did you have songs already written when you headed into the studio?

Yeah, we came up with a whole record, then we scraped the record and re-wrote the whole thing [laughs].

What’s the single “Sasha Don’t Sleep” about?

Party girls [laughs].

Your band name is pretty much the underlining theme of your whole life!

[Laughs] Yeah, I would say so. I mean, at this point.

What was it like having Scott Shriner from Weezer work on ‘Touch’?

We had gone through 7 or 8 bassists. I normally play bass on most of our tracks, but our producer Warren Huart was like, “How would you feel about Scott from Weezer playing on half your record?” I thought, “Well, he might be better at bass than me” [laughs]. Such a cool dude and to have him come in and kill it with us was really rad. But, we weren’t like hiring out session guys, we were just in the room jamming with them. It was really awesome, especially for Jonny, to be able to lock in with these awesome rhythm sections.

What was an average day like for you when recording the album?

The schedule was so hotchpotch. We’d wake up at 9 or 10am, drink as much coffee as possible and head to the studio. There was a time when Mick and I didn’t have a day off for two months. We’d be at the studio by noon and we’d be there till the evening. After recording, we’d send out mass text messages to everyone, get a 30-pack on the way home, go to our managers house in Laurel Canyon and try to throw a party. The cool thing about L.A. is you can always find a party where the drinks are free.

Awesome. Who are the two women in the album art?

Those were two actresses that we were friends with out in Los Angeles. They are Kaitlin Doubleday from “Waiting…” and Portica Doubleday from the film “Youth in Revolt”.

Thanks for the chat Kevin!

Pick up The Dance Party’s new album Touch