There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Can you compose catchy keyboard riffs and sing backup? Would you describe yourself as “catted-out?” Then you might be just what The Dance Party is looking for. Details on that and more from my recent One Track Mind interview with lead singer Mick Coogan follow.
You sing about a “zombie rock mistress with jet black lipstick.” Do you know anyone like that?
Chicks in D.C. that are totally catted-up—the name that our band gives girls like that are Renegades. That is lingo for us: Just like a girl you meet at a party that is not the average Arcade Fire fan.
All three of you sing, but you’re the lead singer?
Actually, all those vocals are mine…All the harmonies—yeah—I do all the harmonies. I did all the vocals for the whole album. Nobody else sings in the band. We used to do that but none of the other guys sing live now.
They’re not really great singers. We had this performance on the radio at the University of Maryland and it was awful. After we heard that on tape, we were like: OK, we all don’t need to sing. We are trying to work people into it now, get someone to sing harmonies.
So when was this University of Maryland show where you decided everybody shouldn’t be singing anymore?
It was maybe like two years ago, and we had just we played a big show at this bar in College Park, and then the morning after we went and did this radio show and we were really hung over. We lost half of our gear the night before; we just didn’t have it together. We were singing and they recorded us for the radio, and it was like, Danny [Hoag] and Kevin [Bayly] were trying to do harmonies and it really wasn’t working out too well. After that show we realized we weren’t ready to sing yet. Plus Kevin is such a badass guitarist he should be rocking out, he doesn’t need to sing.
Who plays keyboard live?
We don’t have a keyboardist. We need a girl who can play keyboards because our shows are, it’s like watching a football game. There are too many dudes up there being masculine, or something. We want a girl keyboardist so that she can sing the high harmonies.
In [“Lipstick”] you sort of disparage new wave and indie. But that seems like your core audience to me.
We’ve been on the scene in D.C. and played all those clubs and stuff for a couple years now but we are not really part of it. You know, we’re from P.G. County and we don’t claim we’re from Mt. Pleasant…Honestly the record isn’t really for indie people—people who are into Pitchfork or anything like that. It’s for everybody, it’s for driving to the beach. This is not going to give us any indie cred, this record. It’s poppy, it’s catchy.
So, you’re The Dance Party. And you’re always telling people to dance, in this song. But D.C. audiences are famously inert. Have you found that to be true?
Oh, absolutely. I was at this show last night at Black Cat, The Detroit Cobras, with this great female front-woman playing this soul—’50s, Chuck Berry rock. It was so great, but people were doing the whole shoegaze thing. At our shows—those people don’t come to our shows. It’s usually kids and our friends and they are wasted…They have no pretensions; they just come and rock out.