WORDS: MICHAEL WOODSWORTH
It’s been a mere three months since the Coronavirus (or COVID-19) has hit the world. Now, caught in what seems like an indefinite purgatory, the world is leaning on the heroic efforts of the medical community, grocery store workers and truck drivers (to name a few) to survive. While they are battling for our survival on the front lines, there’s a secondary battle going on in the background; getting through the isolation with peace of mind. Social distancing has led to somewhat of a fugue state for some and it’s up to the artists of the world to counteract it.
“I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S ALREADY BEEN THIS LONG…”
Enter Dance Gavin Dance, hailing from Sacramento, California. Even though the world has been turned upside down, the psychedelic punk 5-piece hasn’t stopped grinding, celebrating 15 years as a band this coming July. From releasing their 9th LP to announcing a new graphic novel and much more, they have been able to keep themselves busy and their fans happy. This is the new normal for the time being and it’s been a blur for drummer Matthew Mingus. “Shit, I can’t believe it’s already been that long,” laughs Mingus.
Between the company of his fiance and two dogs and home projects, he has been able to keep a positive outlook on the situation out of our control. In the blink of an eye, the world changed and no one was immune to that ripple, especially the music industry. The Dance Gavin Dance Spring 2020 tour package with support from Animals As Leaders, Issues, Veil of Maya and Royal Coda was supposed to start in Sacramento on March 12th at the Hollywood Palladium.
“We left for our first throw on our spring tour we were doing. We showed up to the first show… popped open our trailer to unload and they came up and said “Nope, shows cancelled.” and then yea we kicked in and then within the next two hours, all of sudden we were getting emails and calls from other promoters around the country saying they were cancelling the shows. So, we just had to pull the plug and then came home and the isolation began.”
“AT FIRST YOU’RE NOT BELIEVING IT OR ACCEPTING IT.”
Now, with things at a standstill, it’s imperative to identify what to do next. Luckily, the band had already been working hard on their new album “Afterburner,” but the future was still up in the air.
“You know it was pretty surreal. At times you’re not believing or accepting it. We plan tours so, so far in advance and I personally look forward to touring. That’s one of my favorite aspects of being in a band; playing live. And then to show up and spend all the time getting ready for it, spending a ton of money getting the bus and crew out there; then just to have it ixnayed and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.”
It was time to put the finishing touches on the album. Working together from more of a remote setting wasn’t an abrupt change for the group, who would spend part of their writing process digitally collaborating. While the process isn’t consistent 100% of the time, the end result is still the same, a powerhouse record. “Afterburner”, released April 24th, via Rise Records, is a blend of the sound we all fell in love with and a new, expansive one. DGD kept their iconic sound while also branching out and trying new things. With a mixture of metal and ballads to classic rock and Spanish tones, this album shows there is something for everyone.
“WE’VE ALREADY STARTED WRITING NEW MATERIAL.”
“This album we definitely put a lot into it and I think the cohesiveness of the band from the last six, seven years; I think that really shines on this record,” says Mingus. “We found our flow of things. Like every DGD record, we love experimenting with different types of songs. Calentamiento Global, I love that song; It’s just so different from anything we’d ever done.”
Genre fluidity is something Dance Gavin Dance has always used at the forefront of their music. “Calentamiento Global” is hard hitting with spanish undertones while “Parallels” transports you to a seemingly Sci-Fi world. They are even able to bring the 80s back in “Night Sway.” While “Mothership” and “Acceptance Speech” are regarded as the iconic DGD albums, “Afterburner” has the potential to be the next classic.
On top of releasing their new album, the band has announced their new graphic novel “A Robot’s Tale” and had a mural commissioned in Sacramento. Aside from their music, art is a huge part of the band, highlighting animated videos and album artwork. Safe to say, the isolation isn’t keeping the band down. “I really think that the timeframe it’s [Afterburner] been released, Once things start rolling to keep the momentum and the hype of the album going, I definitely think it will be our most successful record and I imagine in 5 years we’ll probably have 5 more albums out,” shares Mingus. “It’s funny because our new album just came out less than a week ago and we’ve already started writing new songs because we have all this damn time.”
AFTERBURNER IS OUT NOW VIA RISE RECORDS.