Dancing With Intensity

August 19, 2009


One of a couple different pieces of album art - click to download it for free

One of a couple different pieces of album art - click to download it for free


Hello all. As you may or may not have noticed it has been a massively long time since I’ve posted. It is %100 my fault, but I wanted to do something a bit special for this post. I have decided to do an interview along with the review this time. The album I decided to talk about is the one I said I might at the end of the last review. The band is called “Dancing With Paris” from Toronto. Paris, referring to the name of a stripper and not the city… if you were wondering. The EP is called “There’s Something In The Water” which is a short, 7 track, 19 minute disc. This EP was released %100 digital, without pressing even 1 copy. Which is not completely unheard of, but different for sure. Unlike usual, I’m going to jump right into the album including some quotes from the interview and I will include the interview in full at the end.

The first track is a short intro called “Sand Castles” which is an ambient creepy bit coming to an end at 42 seconds. This track is purely a lead in to the best and most powerful song on the EP called “Bled Dry.” The song starts out extremely powerful and has a bit of a math influenced rhythm, dropping a beat through the first phrase and adding one in the second (or something to that effect). Right off the bat you can hear their main vibe of the record which is the big powerful low end of the 8 string guitar. “The 8 string 7 string 5 string combo was a new edition to the writing process when we wrote this EP. When we did the early demos, that was a 7 string 6 string 4 string combo,”  says James Manning from DWP. The song goes from this powerful vibe right into the strait up pop/hardcore groove with catchy vocals. Those that know me know I’m not a fan of these sections in most music or ever. That is true on this record as well. It’s not something I can be down with. But at the same time they don’t abuse like most hardcore bands. They have it in there to be more relatable, more accessible to the average music listener. So I have no issue at all with this vibe and influence being brought into the mix. My issue with these sections is that the melody that is used in almost every song, is the same broken melody that has been used at nauseam since bands like Alexisonfire came on the scene. In this song the pop-hardcore vibe doesn’t last long though, as they go into one of the my favourite breakdowns probably ever. It’s pretty basic but it is just so crazy and intense. The 16th note breakdown that comes in at about 55 seconds, really kicks your head off your shoudlers, and is pretty random as it separates the two structured, more pop influenced sections. James had this to say about the breakdown, “Bled dry breakdown is absolutely rediculous. I don’t even know what to say about it, hence why there were no vocals thrown in there. it stands out on it’s own and is absolutely brutal.”  The song finishes with a great “b” chorus with more open heavy guitars and growl under the singing. Overall, a great track.

Moving on to the middle section of the EP, we come to the 3rd track called “Orange Country.” This song has a bit of a weird electronic vibe at the beginning under the low heavy 8 string guitar. In a lot of ways I find this to be the weakest track on the album as they don’t really leave the slow quarter note triplet vibe the entire song save for the slow drawn out breakdown which is definitely pretty heavy. They make up for it though, with a short track called “(Boardwalk)”. This track is such an excellent, ambient, instrumental break from the rest of the album which moves seamlessly into the 5th track called “Hardwalk (Of Champions).” The transition is so seamless that at first listen you don’t even know the vibe has changed until they add the big bend on the 8 string. The section at the beginning of this track is one of my favourites on the album, as it has great play between the two guitars, especially in the panning. The riff has a bit of a cool rhythmical idea and the two guitars are thrown back and forth, front and back and all around. When that is used creatively with the way the riff is, it makes for a great section. The rest of the track has the token vibe of the album, with the heavy guitars and catchy vocals. 

Live - click it for their myspace

Live - click it for their myspace


The album ends with a couple of cool tracks. Track 6 is “Titanic” with starts with a pure intense vocal bit “This is a sinking ship!” Which leaves me to say to myself… “hmmm sounds about right”. The main riff of the song is pretty basic but has a great little riff in the back which changes to a great ambient riff in the background as the song progresses. One thing I came to notice in the band is that whenever the low end power part of any song is starting to become a bit tiresome I can usually hear the cool ambient riff in the background. That is no different in this song. This makes the strait breakdowns, when the ambience is dropped out, much more powerful. The last track is the title track of the album and other than “Bled Dry” is probably the strongest song on the EP. It’s the longest song, at just over 4 minutes and really incorporates all the ideas they were trying to get across on the EP. Therefore, my complaints about this song are the same as on the rest of the record. The pop parts are a bit of a “been there done that” vibe, and the heavy guitars abuse that quarter not triplet that is so hard for any metal based band to stay away from. Especially from 3 mins till the end that vibe is a bit tiresome.

Let’s talk about the musicians shall we! Nothing individually really blew me away. The vocals have great intensity in both the high scream and the heavy growl. His singing, although is not my style, gets the job done. But, I would need to see them live (which I plan on doing) to know the true quality of his singing voice. The guitars really don’t do anything complicated on the record. But they do throw some really cool rhythms at you and there are a couple of fancy riffs in there that show some mastering of the instrument. That being said, the vibe and the overall musical philosophy doesn’t really lend itself well to the crazy solo’s anyway. Although, I would still like to hear the odd section with some diddly, but that might just be me. The bass is hard to comment on because there is so much low end to begin with and he is almost always just shadowing the 8 string. This is about all you could do in this band I’m sure. The drums are also hard to comment on because it’s such a breakdown driven band he doesn’t really have the opportunity to do a lot. But what he does is tight and he’s got some cool transition fills in there. In the future it would be cool to see the drums take a bit more of a polyrhymical approach like he does a bit on the snare in “(Boardwalk)”. 

Production on this record really is second to none. DWP used the same guy that is currently working on our record, Shawn Lefebvre. He didn’t do anything overly experimental with the production, but it sounds absolutely massive! You can hold this record up to pretty much anyone in the business and the production will compare. This opinion is incredibly biased though, so I will not say anything else. I do want to talk about the album art for a bit. Seeing as it’s all digital they made a cover for every song in Itunes. Which I think is just incredibly cool! The art is amazing and you should check out what James said about it in the interview. 

Overall, I really enjoy the EP. It’s not the most unique album out there but it puts almost every hardcore band out there to shame. The issues I have with it I already stated so I won’t talk about it again. In the future I would like to see DWP mess around with their melodies a bit more in the choruses. The band that does the catchy melody the best is Isis. If they incorporated the kind of vocal vibes on the “Wavering Radiant” album for example, they could bring their catchy sections to a whole new level. I feel they are moving well towards the vibe I’d like to see them take in their heavy sections as they incorporate some cool math type parts and they already listen to Meshuggah. So if they take any lessons away from them at all I will be pleased. So, ya decent record especially for their first release. I strongly recommend going to get it. IT’S FREE, and clicking the first picture at the top takes you right to the download link. You are literally 2 clicks away and 3 minutes away from getting the record. So there is no excuse with this one. 

Promo - click it for their myspace

Promo - click it for their myspace


Anyway, Thats it for the review but the interview is really cool and I couldn’t have been more happy with the answers. So here it is. Sorry for the cliche ones but they have to be asked and I got them out of the way first.

1. How/Who came up with the band name? Any Good stories behind it? Any significance? 

James: The dancing with Paris name came from a story about Terrence and me and our buddy dan at a strip club. There was this gorgeous stripper named Paris and Terrence fell in love LOL. Well not really, but he had to have a lap dance from her. (He) couldn’t get her so we went back another night. (He) still didn’t get her because she was fighting with I guess her boyfriend? Anyways, one night a few weeks later we decided to go back, he was gonna get this fuckin lap-dance! We get there walk out and the strip club had been turned into a furniture store. Terrence never got the lap dance so Dancing With Paris was born as a name out of that story.

2. I can hear the Meshuggah influence, but what other artists have shaped the musical philosophy and writing of Dancing With Paris?

James: This EP embodies every tiny influence we have in it. I think it draws on every artist. Obviously Meshuggah, but also Holly Springs, A Day To Remember Vanna, Fall Out Boy, Straight Reads The Line, classic Alexisonfire, Dredg, Deftones, Refused, Glassjaw you can probably find spice girls and lady gaga in there jk. But seriously there’s a lot more, that’s just the obvious.

3. You guys obviously abuse that 8 string vibe in the heavier sections. Do both guitarists use it? What make/model(s) are you guys rockin? Was that a tool you guys used when the band was formed? If not, was it a conscious decision as a band to go to that vibe? or did one of the guitar players just see a deal at Steve’s one day one a sick 8 string?

James: The 8 string 7 string 5 string combo was a new edition to the writing process when we wrote this EP. When we did the early demos that was a 7 string 6 string 4 string combo. Wilson is always at the bottom of more strings tune down. He plays an 8 string Ibanez, I can’t remember the model. Brad plays a 7 string Ibanez and Frieday plays a 5 string Ernie ball bass man I believe. I forget that kinda stuff all the time. Either way Wilson’s 8 is tuned to F# and there is a rumour of his interest in a 9 string LOL.

4. You guys are on Twitter, which is obviously becoming insanely popular. Have you found that it’s helps with any aspects of growing your band and your brand in general?

James: Twitter is a funny thing. I have my own, I use the band’s myspace, and I love facebook. But with Twitter if one person is always doing it you don’t need to. in our case Wilson does most of it. from what I’ve seen though, it has it’s many uses. Quick updates, quick news, and alot of ppl use Twitter. i use it for other bands that I like and it gives me all the updates i need. I know Twitter helps spread the word.

5. We’ve seen the benefits of doing the free download as we had over 100 downloads of the torrent as soon as we put it up, almost surpassing all of our Itunes sales. You guys released the “There’s Something In The Water EP” completely digital and completely free right off of the bat. What benefits have you guys seen from that? What other measures have you guys taken as a band to stay financially viable?  

James: Free downloading is amazing. I’m a broke motherfucker so I can admit I download. Although if I had money I would still buy CD’s because I love them. I love opening a fresh cd and listening to music through my technique stereo at home. It’s old but the sound quality is awesome. So what? Well here’s the advantage. ppl don’t know us? Well get aquanted and don’t pay a cent. We don’t make money on CDs but who does anymore. If ppl download our EP love it come out to a show party and buy merch. We still make money. and they got free music to love. Here’s why. People now have the option to pick what they listen to. You have two bands you’ve heard are awesome, one album is free and the other one you have to pay for. You haven’t got money and u have never heard there music. You’re gonna download that freebe. We can be that freebe. Who’s gonna spend money on a band they’ve never heard before? I always download then buy. it’s like an HMV listening booth in ur home. But also we may eventually press and sell hard copies for the peeps that want them. There are ppl who have asked me when were gonna do that.

6. You guys are all from Toronto. What is it like trying to break into the incredibly tough Canadian music industry in the most crowded market? 

James: Being from toronto is awesome, but there are problems. Too much going on. Always big bands coming through and awesome shows going on like Blink and Fall Out Boy just played here. The problem with that is bands coming up in a city like this do shows and can’t draw or struggle to draw new ppl because we have the bands that everyone wants to see. So ppl go to that instead or ppl go to clubs or anything. There’s just so much going on. When you go outside of Toronto, smaller towns don’t have that, but the bands like ours come to those small towns and everyone goes to the shows cause that is the main thing going on in that small town. On top of all that there is an endless variety of bands of various genres trying to make it in this vast city. Especially hardcore, or metal styles of music, it’s really hard.

7. Being from Guelph I have found that the city and the music coming from here has influenced my writing and my musical philosophy in general. What (if any) influence has the Toronto music scene had on Dancing With Paris?

James: Now on the bright side, Toronto has alot of interesting characters. I grew up in scarborough which is the absolute east side of Toronto. I’ve met alot of interesting people which lyrically I crafted those ppl/themes into our songs on the EP. It’s such a big place and you can always find something to do whether it’s a bush party or a house party, I still tend to wind up swigging 40’s somewhere. Also, though I think growing up here shapes who you are. If it wasn’t for this place I wouldn’t be who I am doing what I am doing now. Where you grow up is a part of you always and forever will influence ur life. Of course I can’t speak for the whole band because two members live in aurora and one moved here from Milton. Dunno if Toronto affects them.

8. I LOVE the album art. It’s one of my favourite attributes of the EP. Who did the art? Who came up with the concept? and who’s Idea was it to do the dual cover for itunes?

James: The album art was done by Wilson. He has a line out called Willi-Lines which he does all online from their website. He painted everything then Piers our manager photoshoped it all together to make it what you see when you download it and throw it onto your iPod touch or iPhone or whatever media device it’ll show up on. I love it it’s awesome. the idea to have different art was Wilson and Piers I think.

9. You guys worked with Shawn Lefebvre on this record. Where did you record with him? Describe your experience working with him and how much (if any) influence he had on the tracks, other than the mix of course. 

James: Shawn Lefebvre! Awesome to work with. Knew how to handle all of us. Did way more then just mix, record, master. As soon as we finished writing Shawn was in there with us doing pre-production, re-structuring the songs to make them flow better making them tighter. Once that was done we headed out to Drive Studios in woodbridge to record drum tracks. We spent the whole day there. The rest of the EP was done at Shawn’s studio in the west end of Toronto. Shawn was also fully emersed in production as well. He edited all my lyrics to make sure they made sense and threw in some lines as well. Over all experience was absolutely awesome. Definitely wanna work with him again in the future and I recommend him to anyone who’s serious.

10. DUDES! What it is with that RIDICULOUS breakdown in “Bled Dry”? So simple but so crazy!

James: Bled dry breakdown is absolutely rediculous. I don’t even know what to say about it hence why there were no vocals thrown in there. it stands out on it’s own and is absolutely brutal.

So that’s it for the interview. I’d like to thank James and the band as a whole for agreeing to do the interview. It’s definitely something I’m going to try more often. Thanks again guys! 

That’s it for me! Until next time… keep saying no to kitsch!

Hill Of Yage

This Week I’ve been listening to: The Doors (thanks a lot sweetheart) 

This Week I’ve been watching: British Office and Peep Show (lovin the BBC)