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Canada’s Dragonette have just released their fourth full-length album titled Royal Blues, and it is PURE FIRE. I seriously haven’t been able to stop blaring it at top volume in my apartment (sorry, my elderly neighbors) since it dropped, and if you’re in the market for new tunes, I’d highly recommend grabbing a copy for yourself. I’d also suggest picking up tickets to see the band live in DC tomorrow night at U Street Music Hall and in NYC Saturday at Warsaw, AND in the meantime, internet-eavesdrop on a recent conversation I had with Martina Sorbara about the record, how her car is haunted by Christmas songs, and about the difference between Canadian Thanksgiving and American Thanksgiving. HERE WE GO:

So Royal Blues has been out for what, two weeks now? Have you been paying attention to what fans have been saying, or do you try to avoid looking?

I mean, I don’t go out of my way to see reactions, but what I’ve seen makes me feel good. I’m definitely not cowering away from it. [Laughs]

Good! Now, which track was chronologically the first that you guys had written out of this batch of songs? 

Well, the song “Let the Night Fall” was written a long time ago, it had just never gotten finished. We wrote it during the last album cycle, but something just didn’t work, so we kept on working on it. It went through about a hundred and fifty different versions [laughs] so that was the first one that we wrote, but it’s not the first one that we wrote for the record; it just happened to be on this record as opposed to the last one.

And tell me about the inception moment of this record; did you go into it with any specific ideas about the narrative or the sound?

I have trouble having preconceived ideas about what I’m going to do. I just kind of do something and it either works or it doesn’t, and it leads me to the thing that I want to do. And I think this album sounds different than other records, probably because it has a different underlying intent. I think it’s great. It felt good to write prettier songs and downbeat songs and more emotional songs for this record, but that wasn’t an idea I had, it’s just a thing that felt good.

Right. So how does that attitude factor in with the actual ordering of the tracks, then? Or does it?

Oh, no, there was a lot of thought in that. It was a bit agonizing! We open the show right now with the title track, “Royal Blues”, but the album opens with “Let the Night Fall”. In my mind now, though, I feel like “Royal Blues” should open the album because we’ve been playing it that way at shows, but it doesn’t. [Laughs] Too late! But I think it has a good flow to it. There are probably a billion different ways that it could flow really well, but that’s just where it landed.

Totally. Well I still play Fixin’ To Thrill on just about a weekly basis!


Yeah! But so this is the fourth full-length; what (if anything) has sort of changed for you guys in terms of your work dynamic? Are there any creative shifts you’ve developed since some of the earlier stuff?

Yeah, well with this one, the songs were written in a bunch of different cities in a ton of different rooms with a ton of different people, so this was definitely a different process than we’d had before. Before it was like, wake up in the same house and walk into the studio, and just kind of tag team in one room, and the exception was going out of the house and working with other people. Now, the exception on this record is starting and finishing a song together. [Laughs] There’s all these different germination points for all these different songs on the record, which, I don’t know, it felt like it was time to try something else, and I like the product of it, maybe just because it was a new and exciting way to do this job that we’ve gotten kind of used to.

And how about your approach to tour life? Has that changed at all since the beginning?

No. [Laughs] No, that’s the same. Old-fashioned family living. I don’t know, that’s always kind of been our comfort zone.

Well that’s good, because I think a lot of people feel oppositely! 

I don’t know why it’s always been really easy for us. Everybody likes each other and likes hanging out together, though, so it’s not like at a certain point somebody disappears because they can’t stand it anymore; that hasn’t happened yet! [Laughs]

Well good; if it hasn’t happened yet, then it probably won’t, knock on wood! Alright, so deep cuts time…do you listen to your version of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” at the holidays?

Oh my god. So for some reason, I have a car that I can plug my phone into and it plays music, and it does this weird thing where it randomly starts playing a song when I plug it in, like right away, and somehow that’s the song. But it started at the end of the summer; every time I would plug my phone in, it’d start playing that Christmas song on my phone for some reason. So I haven’t listened to it this season, but I did listen to it in the summertime. For some reason my car just really digs that song.

That’s crazy! And clearly that song is representative of your musical career even before Dragonette, and I know you’ve been in the business for a long time, but was there ever a moment that you thought you might like to be something else? Like, maybe when you were a little kid? Or was it always just this?

No. I don’t think so. Well, I applied to art school and I didn’t get in. [Laughs]

Still in the creative vein, though. Okay, I’ll start wrapping things up now, but we’ve got Thanksgiving here in the US on Thursday. What’s the difference between Canadian Thanksgiving and American Thanksgiving? I know Canadian Thanksgiving happens in October, but is that something that’s a widespread celebration?

Oh yeah, it’s as fundamentally across the board celebrated, but we don’t go shopping.

Like no Black Friday?

Right, no Black Friday. And Thanksgiving in the States has become kind of synonymous with buying things, but there are no sales associated with Thanksgiving in Canada. It’s just family, turkey, pumpkin pies…

Well that sounds pretty ideal. So I guess in closing, what is Dragonette thankful for this year?

Oh my gosh, for being able to do this job, and for being able to put out an album and have people listen to it and bond to it. It means a lot to us, so we’re grateful that we get to do it.

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