If you’re familiar with the Milwaukee music scene, you’ve heard of Dogs in Ecstasy. Comprised of Molly Rosenblum on synths and vocals, Tony Dixon on drums, and Willy Dintenfass on guitar and vocals, the group is known, not only for their driving pop-culture-infused songs, but for the band’s cagey use of persona. On April 4th, Chicagoans can head to The Empty Bottle and find out what all the fuss is about. In the meantime, DIE spoke with Our Town about their influences, writing process and the odd characters who’ve hijacked their twitter feed.
Our Town DIE--intentional acronym?
Willy Dintenfass Stroke of luck.
OT What’s DIE’s writing process like?
WD We collect concepts for songs and lines that could potentially become lyrics in a text file called "song ideas.rtf" (it doesn't have to be called that -- we just liked the way it sounds). We sit at the computer and stare at the file for five or six hours, dicking around variously on guitar, fretless bass (it does have to be fretless) and synthesizer, trying to come up with some music that doesn't make us want to kill ourselves. Maybe we give up and watch Netflix. No! We persevere.
OT You write about everything from drag queens to googling. What’s the band’s relationship to pop culture?
WD Like most people, we're into it, generally. It also makes for good subject matter for songs because, like emotions, pop culture artifacts are "universal," -- you can count on people knowing what you're talking about -- but unlike emotions, they're not that difficult to describe with some precision, which is useful if you're not that good at writing.
OT Who are the band’s influences?
WD The Breeders, RuPaul, the USAISAMONSTER, Melt-Banana, Sparks, Eugene McDaniels, the Rentals, Shigetaka Kurita, Floor, and Shigetaka Kurita.
How would you describe your sound?
Wild n Wacky Rock n Roll.
OT DIE’s social media presence is legend. What inspires your eclectic and odd variety of tweets and updates?
WD Just to clarify, it's not legend in the sense that it doesn't exist: our social media presence is very much real. And the odd variety is actually out of our control. We'd like a more focused, professional voice for our brand, but we made the mistake early on of sharing our account information with a fourth member who we then had to kick out of the band. Ever since, we've been unable to shut him out, and so not only does he update as he sees fit, he's also posted our login info across the web, inviting creeps and weirdos of all stripes to post as us. It's a bit of a nightmare to be honest.
OT You invent characters who inhabit your tweets/updates. What’s behind that?
WD Again, those aren't characters, except for Mr. Demon, who is a character but we didn't invent him. Anyone familiar with the dark triad -- exhibition of the personality traits narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy at a subclinical level -- and its big brother the dark tetrad will recognize Mr. Demon as the angrier alter ego of Tod, who we kicked out of the band. Besides Tod, we seem to get regular posts from: Rita, a big fan of junior bluesman Quinn Sullivan; Victor, who uses our social media accounts to write personal messages to his roommate/jam buddy Mark; and, some anonymous poster who has a problem with LetsGrubMKE. Just to be clear, the only posts you'll see coming from us will be directly related to band business. (Full disclosure: with the collapse of the record industry, in 2014 bands are forced to look elsewhere for revenue streams. As a result, we've taken several opportunities to promote products we believe in and feel strongly about through paid advertorial posts on our social media accounts.)
OT Milwaukee is sometimes described as Chicago’s little sister. Thoughts?
WD That seems fair.
OT Any plans to tour?
WD We're planning a brief tour this summer and hopefully more beyond that.
OT What are you looking forward to about performing at Chicago’s Empty Bottle?
WD We're looking forward to playing in our big sister.
OT Who’s your dream audience member/listener?
WD We're not that picky about this -- we'll take pretty much whatever, but dream of one day being able to provide state of the art ear protection for dogs so that they can safely enjoy our music in a live setting.
OT What are you working on next?
WD We're going to try to get better.
A writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum freelances for sites like Pop Matters and
afterellen.com Her debut novel, “Herself When She’s Missing," was called “poetic and heartrending” by ALA Booklist. Sarah is also a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago’s StoryStudio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She's kind of looking forward to it actually.
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