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Dragonette. Photo by Gabe Ayala.

Dragonette talks about embracing loneliness in pop music

By Kabriya Coghlan on June 14, 2016

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Fresh off the release of their new single, “Lonely Heart,” Toronto’s Dragonette are coming to Ottawa for a show on Saturday at Glowfair, the free two-day music, light, and art festival that will be taking over ten blocks of downtown Bank St. this weekend.

The electro-pop band is made up of singer-songwriter Martina Sorbara, drummer Joel Stouffer, and bassist/producer Dan Kurtz. Their debut self-titled EP was released in 2005, and since then they’ve put out three studio albums, including the most recent Bodyparts in 2012.

New single “Lonely Heart” is an exciting return for the band, a shout-out-loud pop anthem about embracing loneliness which has Sorbara chanting lines like “Love sucks, I just wanna touch,” and repeating the chorus “I’ve got a lonely heart, a lonely heart,” over light, dance-y synth beats. Listen:

The contrast between the melancholic theme and the upbeat rhythm and vocals is a fun and unexpected mix. Sorbara talked to Apt613 about why the band chose that direction for the song.

“When the lyric ‘lonely heart’ came to mind, it felt really clear to me that it had to come from a fun place,” she said.

“Or maybe the fun feeling the song was developing inspired me to bring in the covert sad side. Either way, it’s because I related to the sentiment…I think the complicated mash up of melancholy and fun feels more true to life. These feelings rarely exist without a counter weight.”

Feeling lonely isn’t the most obvious subject for a fun summertime pop song, but Sorbara said she considers loneliness a “fruitful” feeling and the song is about making the most of it.

“The loneliness I’m singing about is the kind of aloneness that prompts you to fill every waking moment with a task or a social engagement or a text flirtation or date or a sexual conquest. But none quench whatever you’re thirsty for,” she said.

“I feel I have done a lot of that recently. Creative output seems to be, for me, the only antidote.”

Dragonette will be following up “Lonely Heart” with a full new album this autumn, but before that they’ve got months of touring summer music festivals ahead of them. Sorbara said she’s looking forward to reuniting with other musicians and playing for festival crowds.

Their show at Glow Fair will be a special one. Ottawa was the first city Sorbara ever played a show in outside of her Toronto hometown.

“(It) was my first audience that wasn’t made up of friends and siblings,” she said. “I have never stopped feeling sentimental about it for that reason. It was the first place I felt like I had a job, and that job was music.”

Dragonette will play at Ottawa GlowFair on Saturday, June 18, 9:30 pm on the Main Stage at Slater St. and Laurier Ave. Admission is free.