There's nothing more exciting than seeing a band grow in an organic fashion. And that's exactly what Drop Dead, Gorgeous are doing. The Denver, Colorado band, whose eldest member clocks in at the ripe age of 20, are starting from the ground up, at the grassroots level, and winning over one fan at a time, thanks to the intense, screamy post-hardcore found on In Vogue, their first full length through Rise Records.
They've already accumulated 76,000 friends on their MySpace page (www.myspace.com/dropdeadgorgeous, have enjoyed 2.6 million plays of their songs on MySpace, and they're top 10 in all of their genres (#5 on screamo, #4 on hardcore, and #7 on metal). On the PureVolume side of things, they've garnered nearly half a million plays, and have landed at #7 on the hardcore chart and at #10 on the screamo chart. Clearly, Drop Dead, Gorgeous are quickly becoming recognizable and the word is spreading virally.
One of the reasons why Drop Dead, Gorgeous, who've been together for almost two years, although drummer Danny Cooper and guitarist Kyle Browning have been jamming together since they were in middle school, are catching on like wildfire is due to their unique sound. Lots of bands are playing music that's heavier than a slab of granite, but Drop Dead, Gorgeous like to keep things interesting and unpredictable, thanks to their use of keyboards and pianos, which give the album plenty of rich dynamics. The album is dissonant, but melodies are omnipresent. The keyboards also set DD,G apart from the oversaturated, overcrowded, dime-a-dozen pack.
We've always loved keyboards, but we were worried about how well it would work," says 19-year-old singer Danny Stillman. "And there are not that many keyboardists out there, so there are not a lot to choose from. But we knew we wanted to have that element in our sound, and we knew we could make it work, and we did. Having keys separates us from similar-sounding bands and it adds more melody to the whole sound." Indeed, keyboards are quite atypical for such an aggressive, extreme band to use, but DD,G make it work and as a result, In Vogue is a well-oiled machine.
"I'm not sure how we make it work," keyboardist Arron Rothe. "It just does. We all have our individual tastes that we bring to the band and that helps." In fact, the band's deft use of keys serves to make the heavy parts sound heavier, thanks to the contrast. "We use string effects to add texture to the music, and to make it different," finished Stillman. Mission certainly accomplished, in terms of making it different, on In Vogue. In Vogue was produced by Kris Crummett (Fear Before The Mach Of Flames, Anatomy Of A Ghost) and has sold over 10,000 copies since its May 2006 release.
DD,G, who've toured with Scars Of Tomorrow, Inked In Blood, Folly, Look What I Did, Eighteen Visions, and Bullet For My Valentine, have played to over 5,000 fans as part of 2006's DirtFest, a Michigan festival featuring Silverstein, Every Time I Die, and Black Dahlia Murder on the bill, and will play Bamboozle Left as well as the East Coast's Saints And Sinners Fest, which will be held in New Jersey and boasts a lineup featuring From First To Last, Every Time I Die, and Chiodos to start, are enjoying a hard, fast education in the music scene, and the music business, as they hit the road. Their young age isn't a hindrance; in fact, it helps. It's one of the key reasons they relate to their fans, and vice versa. "If anything, it's a benefit. Our fans are young, so it works out for us. The business side, well, we have learned a lot, and we've have managers and tour managers who take care of the business aspects, so we can just do our thing and rock out," says Stillman.
When DD,G rock out, they focus on issues common to teenagers, about boys, girls, the scene, friends, problems, all things that have plagues all of us at one point or another in our lives. The massively popular "Knife Vs. Face Round I" addresses things like angst and jealousy in human relationships. That's a typical message in DD,G songs, which focus on teenage issues and adolescence. But an older fan can relate, as well, because of how tightly constructed and thoroughly moshable the music is. "Dressed For Friend Requests" has a similar theme, as well. "It's about the repetitiveness of relationships, and about how the same cycle can end up repeating itself, and how peers can be vain and silly," Stillman reveals.
Although the members of DD,G look good and present themselves in a stylish manner, that stuff is all secondary. "We care about our style, but it's not a big deal," Stillman says. Displaying wisdom beyond his years, he finishes, "Everyone cares how they look, but that's not the most important thing. The music is most important." And that's the very attitude that will help Drop Dead, Gorgeous grow and develop into one of the underground screamo scene's brightest stars.
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