Published Oct 26, 2007To undress Dragonette's Martina Sorbara one needs to bundle up with a personality that reveals so much about of rocknroll and its desire to get you off. Dragonette, after all, put on a show. That show writhes to an electro pop beat not unlike early Metric and was built to titillate. Their story is about peeling away repression and replacing it with more base needs. Freedom for the former folkie, Sorbara, is the right to slip in and out of being sexy without media scrutiny. I spoke to her about that, why Canadians can't be sexy, her radio-listening patterns and more.
Of all the things I noticed about you during your Virgin Fest set is that you seem to be very sexual.
I'm so over people saying it's very sexual. I'm not saying that you're totally off. I realise that, but why are people always saying that? People don't go up to Nelly Furtado and say, "Hey, that's pretty sexual. She's singing about "I'm doing it like you're doing it to me on her latest single. And I was just talking about this three seconds ago. I think that people are reacting to it because I'm coming from a more empowered place: a feminist place. Not feminist, that's not the right word but less of a passive, "I'm touching myself and thinking about you place. And it's more like I'm a sexual person, but it's not based on a man, it's based on me. Beyoncé has some pretty racy lyrics and gets pretty sexual. Like the Beyoncé/Shakira video. Kids are allowed to watch this [stuff]. I have a sexual video, but mine gets flagged on YouTube. But Beyoncé's doesn't and it's because it's threatening and coming from a different place. But I don't think it's any more sexual than most other female pop people. And I know that I'm not at all in the same category as Beyoncé, Britney Spears and Nelly Furtado.
I don't know if you want to be in the same category as Britney Spears.
I fucking love that new Nelly Furtado record, though.
But is that not a part of your gig, acting sexy?
I think you're not wrong to say that it's sexy. Because a lot of the songs are sexy. Maybe another thing that people are reacting to is because I'm a Canadian small-time performer. Like I'm not Nelly Furtado and I'm not Britney Spears, so what am I doing acting sexual?
Canadians aren't allowed to be sexual.
Yeah, like unless you've earned it or something. I think what people must be reacting to is that it's not coming from, "Oh Baby you can touch my pussy. It's something else and so people do not how to categorise it except for an "overtly brazen hussy.
I didn't call you that.
Yes, you did! I'm just joking. It's not an open wound but it's something I've been thinking about lately. Like why is it like that?
Does it ever feel weird flirting with the audience members with your husband and band-mate Dan Kurtz onstage?
It doesn't ever feel weird. 'Cause when we got off the stage I'm so consumed with adrenaline and the emotions happening inside. My flirtation with the crowd is real and that's what I want to be doing, but it's not because I want you to take me home and fuck me. It's not threatening or weird. Girls are batting their lashes at Dan and stuff. I'm not threatened by it.
The album isn't doing as well in the UK as some expected. How does that make you feel?
We moved to England and we made it our album and we got fans and we got played on the radio here and there. To me that's right on track. For me to be in the Top 100 feels insane. Unless they get the big hit they don't have any idea where their money's going to be coming in because it's not records. They throw all this money at these different places. Like, "Okay, this band is gonna be huge so let's start talking about it. So you get all this retarded hype. Like, "By the way this is what you're going to love next season. And I think it's detrimental to everybody. To me [our music is] pop music, but it's not the most accessible Top 10 music. But for [the record labels] they need something because there is so much power behind it that all of a sudden, you're not number one and it's like, "Whoa, what happened? Obviously it'd be nice. [But] I don't turn on the radio and be like, "Yeah this is where my music belongs. Like I love all this shit. Most of the bands that I like don't make it to [the radio].
I'm glad to hear that you still listen to the radio 'cause you might be the only one.
When I turn on the radio, if I hear a song that I remotely like I switch the station. I'm only looking for shit that I hate. I just sit there analysing why I hate it. Oh U2, Joshua Tree. Nah, I don't want to hear that. I wanna hear Leann Rimes.
You should be a music critic So, did moving from Canada to England to record Galore make you more of an English band than a Canadian one?
I think a little bit. We didn't go to England and immerse ourselves. There wasn't like a scene that was like, "Yeah, let's write with those people and those people. There was some collaborating here and there. I can't say that if we didn't go to England we wouldn't have made that song, that song, or that song. I think that just being in a different place inspired different stuff. It was exciting and we felt worldlier being in a different place, writing an album on a record label that wishes well for us. I think that being over there is more influence from a lot of different scenes. Whereas in Canada and the U.S., there's Canada and the U.S. You don't feel like you can step over a border and be like, "They're really into different shit here.
Radiohead's new album is coup, what do you think?
I kinda of love it and I think it gives the audience an interaction with something that before they could just passively download, and be like I didn't hurt anybody. Whereas they get to be a part of that album in some way. I think it's genius. Honestly, by the time our next album comes out it seems like it's totally possible that there is a whole different system. Not that [our album] is going to be so far away but that it seems like everything is changing so fast and that with this Radiohead thing we could have completely different expectations of record sales. I'm totally excited to see what their sales are. I think that people are going to feel more responsibility than normal.
Where is this album coming from?
It's exploring another side of me and embellishing these parts of me. And they also come from parts of me that have been magnified or exaggerated and make it filled out. I think it comes from wanting to have fun and you just make a song, you don't know where it's going to end up. "What if we did this? Whoa, crazy. And then, "No, that's bad. There's no song on the album that we started and said, "This is this kind of song. A song can do a complete 180 and go in a completely different direction than you ever thought it was going to go, and then all of sudden you end up with, "Surprise, here we go. Your song. We just let ourselves do whatever came to mind and it's just an adventure of fun and beats.
Anything non-music related that you're up to?
There's a lot of music on my mind. I've been drawing a lot of pictures and knitting a lot, so that's what I'm doing creatively to not be too absorbed in music because you get sick of it. And we're trying to buy a house in London right now. I don't know if that's the kind of answer you wanted.
I don't want any canned answers. That's just the truth, what you said, so I'll just have to make do.
Make do. That sounds like I failed.