NYC's Dances premiere their new song, “Holy Fool”, on the heels of lending a listen to, “Doc Youth“. Singer songwriter Trevor Vaz expanded his project with a little help on vocals and bass from Sam Stoeltje and the percussive stronghold compliments of, David Su, recording their Whiter Sands EP at Brooklyn's Strange Weather with Daniel Schlett to bring a fervor of fun. With their extended player slated for release April 15 from Black Bell Records, the three bring a holy roller sound that is both loud and earnest, and sometimes quiet, guarded, and sardonic.
Where “Doc Youth” showcased Trevor's ability to shred up a cyclone of chords; “Holy Fool” crawls with coolness according to a more restrained structure of arrangement. What can be heard is how Dances functions together as a power trio, where Trevor, David and Sam work on the precision that contributed to what critics once upon a time lauded with the designated title of 'alternative rock.' Every guitar riff is struck in the right place, as Sam holds down the central bass core of the track that measures against David's steady beat. Their rain crushing sound begins with a calm but driving verse before burning down the house with every chorus crawl and energy burst they can muster. School days are recounted here, amongst former youth idols, thoughts on manufactured styles and looks, role models, and clique leaders that once took on the manifestation and visage of iconic superheroes. As Trevor's chords coast down on the song's close, the whirling sound of old arcade parlor games can be heard like a classic sound of truant hooky for all the fools, both traditional and holy.
Trevor Vaz of Dances talked with us about their new single, “Holy Fool”, recording Whiter Sands with Daniel Schlett, and more.
Tell us the story about how Dances formed from your singing songwriting vehicle to a power trio endeavor?
I had some songs lying around, but I didn't have a band, so I asked some hyper talented friends to help me record them. These friends were Akiva Zamcheck, Luke Silas of Anamanaguchi, and Daniel Bachrach of Jangula. We had one three hour rehearsal and went into a studio the next day. The recordings we made helped me find musicians to play shows with. There was a rotating cast on stage for a while, but the wheels started moving way faster when I found Sam and David. Naturally, things became more collaborative, because they're both songwriters. Dances wouldn't sound anything like it does with a different bassist or drummer.
Take us into the quiet and loud rocking worlds of “Holy Fool”.
We're pretty laid back kids, and I want that to shine through in our music. Still, being laid back is often in opposition to something dark or frightening. It takes a certain amount of fight to remain calm. We like to represent both sides when we can. In “Holy Fool”, I suppose the quiet verses are sarcastic and guarded, while the loud sections are more earnest.
What was the recording and songwriting process like for you with the making of the Whiter Sands EP?
We wrote the EP a month or two before recording started, so the material was still fresh in our heads. There was a lot of gray area left in the songs, but we recorded everything live to avoid wasting time. Daniel Schlett helped us make a lot of decisions about the tunes, and he never allowed those decisions to be 'middle of the road.'
How did producer Daniel Schlett impact the recording process?
Daniel's role in the recording process was comparable to that of a navigator sitting shotgun during a long, overnight drive on tour. He kept our eyes open and made sure we didn't swerve off the road and kill everyone in the van. By that I mean he helped us get where we wanted to go and kept us psyched the entire time. He was super honest and patient. At a studio like Strange Weather, it's easy to get overwhelmed with possibilities. Daniel is a joy to work with, and we plan to do a full-length with him soon.
Notes on your favorite things from the Brooklyn scenes?
I'm thankful to be surrounded by so many kind, energetic and gifted people, because it keeps our standards high and ensures a good time.
Dances' Whiter Sands EP will be available April 15 from Black Bell.