Mix & scratch

Dragonette’s leading lady Martina Sorbara tells why comfort and familiarity may yield her best work

Sorbara (centre) notes introspective time spent riding her bike as inspiration and fuel for creative production with her husband and fellow bandmate Dan Kurtz (left) and drummer Joel Stouffer (right).
Sorbara (centre) notes introspective time spent riding her bike as inspiration and fuel for creative production with her husband and fellow bandmate Dan Kurtz (left) and drummer Joel Stouffer (right).
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It’s been a year since the Journal last spoke with Martina Sorbara of Dragonette. In that time, the band has seen unbridled success with their 2010 single “Hello” and have begun the launch of a globetrotting tour.

When I called at 12:30 p.m. for our interview, my greeting was met with muffled voices and an out-of-breath Sorbara, “I’m making toast that I forgot about!” she said quickly.

The Dragonette front woman takes her toast with peanut or almond butter and homemade blackberry jelly, in case you were wondering.

This year the Canadian electro pop band saw their catchy single, “Hello,” top charts in Europe and climb Canada’s own for the first time since their formation.

“In some ways it’s proven to me that it’s more than a hobby,” Sorbara said. “It gives you more drive every time.”

The band is currently working on a new album to follow 2010’s Mixin’ to Thrill. Sorbara said that Mixin’ to Thrill came as a strong picture to her, which has yet to appear for the new album’s inspiration.

“The last album was very much a response to a lot of stuff that was happening in my life, so there was a clear ‘this song is about this’ and ‘this song is about this.’ So I guess in some ways I’m waiting for not the same picture, but a picture that represents this album,” she said.

While Sorbara and her husband and co-writer Dan Kurtz travel frequently, it’s not away from home that they pen songs.

“I don’t feel inspired to write when I travel, but you collect things. I think you spend your traveling days gathering experiences and kind of putting phrases or words in your rolodex that you can dive into when you get to that place—your comfort zone,” she said, adding that inspiration comes to her frequently when riding her bike around.

“[I feel most inspired] when I’m riding around in my city as opposed to some random place that I don’t know. I think it’s more important for me to be in a comfortable, familiar place rather than being dropped in somewhere because it could be inspiring,” Sorbara said.

The songstress rides a six gear Schwinn.

Sorbara said the success of “Hello” made her ponder an emerging musical niche.

“It makes me think about the genre and overlap with DJ dance music and pop music, and where they come together [on “Hello”],” Sorbara said.

“There’s a very good recipe in that song which makes it good for a place like Europe, where there’s all these different languages. With the line being ‘hello,’ that’s something the song has going for it apart from being totally catchy.” She added that she sometimes wonders if that simple word, “hello” is part of the song’s genius.

Heading into a new year, Dragonette is riding the wind.

“It really is a totally open book. I have no idea. All I need to do is write some songs for a new album and not think about what’s going to happen for Dragonette next year”.

Old fans needn’t worry about “Hello” being goodbye to Dragonette’s classic pop style, though.

“Nothing changes for us with what happened with the song ‘Hello’,” Sorbara concluded.

Dragonette play Ale House tomorrow night at 9 p.m. with Kidstreet.

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