Electro-pop group Dragonette will be taking the stage Saturday evening as part of Aboriginal Day Live for a set where they’ll perform their collaborative track with rapper Joey Stylez, Pride of Lions.
The past couple of years have been tough for the Toronto trio — singer Martina Sorbara and bassist/producer Dan Kurtz ended their marriage, leaving the band's future in limbo as they figured out how to handle the situation. But the group, which also features drummer Joel Stouffer, persisted, pushed through the intial awkwardness and uncertainty that comes with any dramatic shift in emotional landscape, and created a deeply personal record, set for release this fall, that documents parts of that struggle.
“We had to work really hard to figure out how we work, and as a result we both worked with a lot of people in the process because it was a completely different paradigm,” says Sorbara. “Waking up in the same house with our studio right beside our bedroom... that kind of flow was just gone. It wasn’t even clear if we would ever have a record because it was such a relearning that had to take place. It took me a while to even try to write a song, let alone actually write a song, write something that felt like I was getting at the heart of it.”
A breakup is hard at the best of times, but having to do your emotional dirty work while still maintaining a professional relationship with the one who’s at the heart of it is a mountain not many would want to climb. Sorbara embraced it, however, working hard to get her feelings out in her lyrics, as she says she has a hard time expressing herself in other ways.
“Dan is very outwardly emotional, wants to talk about everything and is very eloquent in expressing himself in the everyday, and I’m terrible at it. I am; I’m really bad,” she says with a laugh. “I think that’s why I write music and why I try to communicate myself in that particular way, but what ends up happening is all my emotions are coming out in these songs and then Dan’s having to hear it come out like that, as opposed to just having a normal conversation like a normal person.
“Our personal relationship is very strong, we’re very connected, but the division has become more clear — we recognize there’s this career we have and then there’s this other thing that was maybe all mashed up together."
It will be a few months before anyone gets to hear the fruit of their labours, but Sorbara uses the word “proud” more than once to describe what she and her bandmates have managed to create despite the less than ideal circumstances.
“I really do love it and I think it’s a beautiful record; maybe that’s just because it’s a reflection of all of the intensity,” she says.
— Erin Lebar