“We write for ourselves what we feel is important to us” – interview with The Danse Society

Author Benedetta Baldin - 2.4.2024

It’s always a pleasure when I get to chat with such a historical band as The Danse Society. They have been making waves in the music industry since the 1980s, so let’s discover what they have in plan for the future, their history, and their new record, “The Loop”!

Hello guys, how are you all doing at the moment? 

Maeth: Pretty good thank you. Enjoying the first lunar eclipse of the year.

Four years have passed since your last release. How does it feel to be back in the spotlight with new music?

Maeth: It feels fab. Last time we were just surfing across the tricky waves of Covid pandemic and today we are just on the verge of WW3. Hopefully, we will get away as smoothly! I was noticing the messages that accompanied the presale of “The Loop” and compared to the ones we received when “Sailing Mirrors” was on presale and I noticed the same passion and support. It feels great. I am ever so humble. It consolidates the fact that our efforts are bringing somehow happiness to older and newer fans. They are stars!

The Danse Society has undergone various lineup changes throughout its history. How has this affected your dynamic as a band, particularly during the creation of “The Loop”?

Paul: From the very early days, even before The Danse Society became The Danse Society, we had personnel changes. I think this is a fact of life like every band and it’s very rare that a band stays together for 40 odd years without changes. So, before we formed, the band has always been a melting pot of ideas from the current members, and although the melting pot may change its influences as band members come and go, the ethos of the band was always to evolve the sound. In regards to “The Loop”, which was recorded by the latest incarnation of The Danse Society the current melting pot contains some new influences such as death jazz, prog rock as well as the usual post-punk. 

Can you share any interesting or memorable moments from the recording process of “Sailing Mirrors”?

Maeth: These were challenging times. Thank goodness the UK took a lighter approach compared to Italy and other countries, however, we were still extremely careful. Thankfully when we went into lockdown we had most of our European tour and all the recordings completed. The mixing and the mastering were all made at our own recording studio at Society Records. We shot the video for Valerio’s Theme at the nearby cemetery and complied with the regulations. I loved the complicity we all had. Even though Sam and Tom later left, we keep a very good memory of them as musicians and friends. I think the most memorable time was before we started the final recordings because we had so many demos to fill a double album! I remember a lovely evening spent at Tom’s choosing which songs to keep and which ones to leave for the next album (which in the end we didn’t use because there were way more new ideas on the plate!). Our band meetings have always been very much like family reunions in the last few years: plenty of work in a very comfortable and pleasant atmosphere.

I applaud your approach not to use clicks, programmed sequencers, or auto-tune. In your opinion, has technology helped or hindered the music industry?

Maeth: As far as we are concerned it hasn’t changed much the way we write and develop the songs in the studio because we are very much old school. Yes, sending an mp3 file to our bandmates is quicker and cheaper than posting a tape or a CD, but nothing else has really changed. The electronic part involved is still compounded by old synths played rather than run by a sequencer or a computer, whilst bass and guitar are still played the same way. My vocal effects are always kept to a minimum otherwise I hold a megaphone. Nothing much has changed for us. I don’t dislike bands or artists that choose to leave most of the talk to the machines with sequencers and backings, it’s their choice and I respect it. In my other project Blooding Mask (which I run with Paul, ed) we have more electronics because being a duo means we only have four arms in total. Thankfully we have sometimes very talented guests, but most of the times being only the two of us makes technology a necessary evil. 

As a band with a rich history dating back to the 1980s, how do you stay relevant in today’s music scene while still retaining your signature sound?

Paul: I am not sure we are relevant to the current popular music trend, but we are relevant to our supporters and that’s what matters. We write for ourselves what we feel is important to us. I think the reason why we retain our signature sound is because I still hold tight to the strong ethos and identity that we first had when we founded the band.

Remaining in the past, do you remember who was your first music teacher and what was him or her like? 

Paul: I didn’t have music teachers at school like today where students can choose to do A level music, music performance, music technology. Unless you play classical instruments there were no options to do music at my school. So, I taught myself alongside my friend Gary by listening to records such as Wishbone Ash, Pink Floyd, Genesis, and later of course the punk and new wave scene. 

I think the new songs would be perfect to be played in live shows: when can we expect to see you in concert this year? 

Maeth: We performed some of the songs of “The Loop” live way before we recorded them and the response has been immense. We couldn’t wait to record them after seeing younger and older Dansers (we call our supporters this way lovingly), together at our gigs. We are keeping our new tour very quiet because we are working with new promoters until all the dates are confirmed. We definitely can’t wait to be back on stage in Europe and the invitations to US and Japan are coming in nicely. Bureaucracy isn’t a joke atm but we are all on it and hopefully will be able to make an announcement sooner rather than later.

Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview with me! For the last question I wanted to play a little game with you, if that’s alright. If The Danse Society were food, what dish would you be and why?

Maeth: Whoa that’s a tough one! I am Italian and vegan so to me it would be a fabulous multicolor lasagna. 

Paul: I would describe our dish as typically Yorkshire for example fish and chips or Yorkshire pudding Sunday roast but in a vegan version with Italian spices on top. Oh, and it would be super tasty!