Danse Macabre (Deluxe Edition)
The band's frontman, Todd Fink, chatted with Oregon Music News about the tour, the decision to re-issue Danse Macabre, being outsiders in the dance music scene and why they'll never play anything from their first album.
So, before I sound like an idiot: Everyone seems to pronounce Danse Macabre differently. Can you settle it once and for all?
[laughs] We say "dance muh-cob", but I think "dance muh-cob-ruh" is also an acceptable pronunciation. I'm used to hearing all different ones.
Good. That's what I hoped. So why did you decide to do a tour of that album rather than Blank-Wave Arcade or any of your other early records?
Well, I think a lot of people found out about us through that record or heard about us during that time. I mean, I think it would have been cool to do Blank-Wave Arcade first but that's fine. It makes more sense this way–more people care about this record. I think it's fine either way. I like both of them.
Can we expect to hear songs from Blank-Wave Arcade at the show, too?
Yeah. Definitely. We'll probably play songs from all the records at some point. Ehh except for the first one. Not Media. We never play anything from that one.
Why not Media?
Psh, 'cause it sucks! [laughs] We hadn't figured out what it was we were trying to do yet. It was a hunting process and it was just kind of all over the place. For whatever reason, I just don't ever want to play those songs.
How do you think your perspective has shifted since writing Danse Macabre?
I don't know, I mean, when you're playing the same songs, the context may be different, but we're still basically the same people that made the songs in the first place, so it doesn't really feel strange to play any of the songs from it. Actually, throughout the years, we've always played a lot of songs from Danse Macabre in our live shows, so we're only really adding three or four of them that we don't usually play or never have played live. So it's been really fun to learn how those go.
It seems like after Danse Macabre, the subject matter on your records got a light lighter and more fun. How have your influences changed since then?
Well, everybody has influences, of course, but we have never really gotten into any certain bands as a group, where we're all thinking, "Oh, that'd be cool if it was like this band," or, "We could make a beat like this," or "Reference this," or whatever. It's always been something we've tried to move away from if it reminds us of something that we like. For whatever reason, that's just how we decided to do it. What was your question again?
Well, I guess what I'm saying is Danse Macabre was really dark and dealt with heavier subject matter. Then Wet From Birth was very tongue-in-cheek and overtly sexual, and Fasciination was lighter and sort of sci-fi, like in the song "The Geeks Were Right". It just seems like a pretty huge difference.
I think that, with Danse Macabre, it was kind of tongue-in-cheek darkness. It wasn't really actual darkness. But I think when you make the melodies dark and musically, you make it dark, and then there's also something dark in the subject matter, then the content and the meaning gets super dark all of a sudden. I think after we made that record I wished that it wasn't quite like that because people didn't realize that it was supposed to be fun darkness. It's not tortured, serious darkness. Does that make sense?
So, the other direction might be in reaction to that. But now I see, after taking a few years away from everything, and learning all of the songs that we used to play, I think we're more balanced between those.
Do you think that influenced you to do things more directly? I mean, with Fasciination and Wet From Birth, you listen to those and there is no question that it's supposed to be lighthearted and dance-y.
I think we always wanted to take things too far. Just because you never know where the line is unless you cross it. And we wanted to make sure that we weren't being safe. It's better to make mistakes than do something that's not even worth doing because you're trying to please a bunch of people.
Are people reacting differently to your live shows than they were ten years ago?
Not really! I mean, a higher percentage of the crowd knows the songs–the older the songs are the more people know them. But it actually hasn't changed much at all as far as the enthusiasm of the crowd. Maybe the crowd sizes have changed, though. [laughs]
That must make you feel great!
Yeah! We've had an amazing reaction so far. We've only played two shows but they were great. I'm really happy with how it's gone so far.
On the deluxe re-issue of Danse Macabre, you added a bunch of previously unreleased tracks that probably made a lot of fans really happy. When I was in high school, before iPhones and Spotify and all that, my friends and I would always have to go searching for someone who happened to have "Take Me to the Hospital" on the Saddle Creek compilation or a burned CD if we wanted to hear it. So thanks for making it more accessible now! How did you choose the extra tracks?
Oh, I think we just tried to find the best stuff we had that didn't make it on any of the records. "Take Me to the Hospital" was from the right era. We tried to keep it all from that time period. I was pretty happy with what we came up with as far as bonus tracks. I mean, they're not tracks that should have gone on the record, really. But "Take Me to the Hospital" was recorded right away after we put out Danse Macabre, I think.
So in some way, I think it's sort of a reaction to it, but it's also in line with the record so I thought it would be good to start the bonus tracks with that one. Aside from that, we have a couple of remixes. We thought about trying to add some remixes that are "current", but I don't know. Trends in electronic music go by so fast. So I think we decided to add remixes that were either our favorites–like "The Conductor", which was one of our favorites from that period–and then we added another one that never really got much attention.
So you said "Take Me to the Hospital" was a "reaction" to Danse Macabre. What do you mean by that?
I don't know, I think we were trying to do something that was outside of what we covered with Danse Macabre. Danse Macabre was a record of us imagining what electronic music would sound like if it was song-based and played in a dance club for people like us instead of people who go to dance clubs. You know, as far as we know in Omaha, Nebraska. [laughs] I mean, in Omaha, Nebraska, we felt like outsiders in the dance music scene.
I've read a bunch of times that you guys are influenced by a lot of death metal. What bands?
We said death metal? [laughs] Well, Dapose is more of a death metal aficionado. You'd probably want to ask him about that. I've kind of lost track of those bands over the years. Actually, during the Danse Macabre time, I was probably more into that stuff, but I was also into tropical dance hall music. I don't know if either of them played much into the making of the record.
CD / LP / MP3
CD / LP / MP3
CD / LP
CD / LP / MP3