VMAN Premiere: Philadelphia’s The Dawn Drapes Release Video for “Facts”

VMAN Premiere: Philadelphia’s The Dawn Drapes Release Video for “Facts”

VMAN Premiere: Philadelphia’s The Dawn Drapes Release Video for “Facts”

Indie rockers Michael Sanzo and Daniel Rice of The Dawn Drapes talked to VMAN about their newest music video.

Indie rockers Michael Sanzo and Daniel Rice of The Dawn Drapes talked to VMAN about their newest music video.

Text: Sam Ford

The Dawn Drapes are fronted by Michael Sanzo and Daniel Rice, with Noah Skaroff on bass and Keaton Thandi on drums. Sanzo and Rice relocated to Philadelphia from Virginia a couple years after releasing their first tracks as The Dawn Drapes in 2014, and have since been crafting indie-rock jams in Philly’s music scene.

Their sound is dominantly rock-focused, but with groove-based rhythms and essences of folk, The Dawn Drapes have a discography that “bounces around from release to release and from song to song,” Sanzo told VMAN

Comparing the band’s earlier, more acoustic-folk tracks to their newest single “Facts”, one would easily agree with Sanzo’s definition of The Dawn Drapes’ sound. “Facts” was released earlier this month, and will be joined by a music video, produced and edited by COMM/UNION, that’s officially releasing on Friday, but you can watch it exclusively here alongside VMAN’s conversation with Sanzo and Rice.

VMAN How has Philly’s warm embrace of the Dawn Drapes helped you two thrive in the city’s music scene? What prompted you to relocate from Virginia in the first place?

Michael Sanzo So we initially moved up here right at the end of 2016, beginning of 2017. At the time we had been touring nonstop around the country for about three years and Philadelphia had sort of become a second home for us. I think one of the coolest things about the Philly scene is just the layout of the city itself. Philly is still large enough to have a huge diversity of arts and culture and large enough population to support tons and tons of creatives. At the same time, it really is a city of neighborhoods and as a result you get artists and musicians living geographically close to each other. That drives collaboration and the artistic process.

Daniel Rice The music scene here is definitely very welcoming and has felt that way to us. We toured pretty extensively with a band called Up the Chain and those dudes pretty much sold us on the city and helped convince us to move here. I think that made our transition easier because we were immediately introduced personally to a ton of Philly musicians. I specifically remember Reed Kendall bringing us to Fergies to play an open mic and introducing us to Ali Wadsworth; the rest is history. Noah Skaroff, from Up the Chain, actually plays bass with us now and has brought so much to the band. Couldn’t be more grateful for the people we’ve met and played with in the city. 

VMAN The music video for “Facts” uses vintage clips; some are prominent political figures speaking to reporters and others are of prominent stories or events, which could go to speak volumes about the America we know from history and the one we see right now. So what were some influences for the video’s themes?

MS Well, with regard to the lyrics of the tune, my intention was to explore the idea of the “death of objectivity” in our current political and global environment. I think that if we no longer have a baseline of objective facts to rely on then everything becomes a circus. The four of us—myself, Daniel, Keaton and Noah—worked hard to place those dark lyrics over a musical circus. The video, which was conceptualized by Eric Ashleigh of COMM/UNION, was intended to be an extension of that theme. We wanted clips that played into that idea of truth, the manipulation of truth, etc....

DR The song’s chorus of “your facts, my facts…” is supposed to make you feel a little uncomfortable or crazy in a way. Like you’re in an argument with someone who you know is wrong but they just won’t admit it. That’s where the idea for psych ward footage came from. The vintage look of the footage was Eric’s idea but I think it fits the message of the song. 

VMAN How do you think the track and it’s accompanying visuals in the video feed off or contribute to each other?

MS I wanted the song to have an almost dark ironic tongue and cheek feel. These dark themes over an upbeat funky jam. I wanted it to be this banger dance party that broke out at the funeral for the world. This video is what should be played up on the projector at that dance party. 

DR Totally second what Mike said. Funeral Dance. Dance Funeral. Haunted Funeral Groove. Haunted Funeral Grove is actually where my dreams go to die. 

VMAN What message do you hope the video and track sends to the world right now?

MS The lyrical themes of the song include the death of objectivity and how there is no longer a consensus of what is “Factual” in the world. Don’t get me wrong, there have been truth and science deniers for as long as people have been around, but something about the current environment feels different to me. As far as a lyrical message goes, I wasn’t really trying to push or pull anyone in a specific direction. If the video or song makes you think about those concepts differently I think that’s great; if they make you hate us I think that’s great; and if they make you love us I think that’s great. I guess what I’m saying is that, as with anything you create, you hope that it evokes SOME type of emotion. 

VMAN It’s noted that some of your musical influences are Animal Collective and Pink Floyd. In what ways do you incorporate those influences into your own music? Who or what are some of your other influences?

MS It’s funny, that list is probably a few years old now. I think our sound has changed pretty drastically over the course of the years. I definitely can’t see anyone listening to us and making a comparison to either of those bands as of right now but both have definitely influenced our tastes growing up, I was a huge Animal Collective freak when I was in high school. Mostly I think we are kind of doing our own thing, we’ve never gone out there and said, “Hey let’s try and make it sound like this band,” you know? We just went out and played whatever we had and it sort of melded into this thing over time. At the end of the day we are a live rock band.

DR People at live shows have often compared our music to other bands and I think whenever that has happened Mike and I kinda look at each other and smile in a wry kind of way. Because usually we’ve never even listened to the band they are referring to or they just don’t factor into our musical process. Those bands you mentioned we have obviously listened to but honestly, I never listened to Pink Floyd in any thoughtful kind of way until I was 21. I’d definitely say Neil Young is my biggest musical influence. Been crushing Zuma a lot lately. 

VMAN Your Spotify bio reads that “The Dawn Drapes make thoughtful indie-pop music.” But with groove-based rhythms and hints of folk heard as well, do you think those sounds take your music out of the indie-pop box? Why or why not?

MS I think our sound bounces around from release to release and from song to song. Hopefully there is an overall “Dawn Drapeness” that holds it all together. Certainly our 2019 release “Slow Spin” fell more into the “indie rock” genre. That record was a bit of a throwback to how me and Dan used to write because we initially started off as just an acoustic folk duo. “Facts”, which is the first in a series of four singles we recorded with our friend Shane Woods, definitely explores an entirely different aspect of our sound. However, I wouldn’t necessarily say that it is something new for us. If you go back and listen to some of our earlier records, there’s plenty of heavier hitting rock tunes. Again, it just depends on what the band is currently writing. The addition of Keaton Thandi and Noah Skaroff to the group over the last two and half years has made a huge difference in our sound as well. Their influence on these new recordings was huge

DR People always need something to identify with before they listen. I hate writing those tags or descriptions because I don’t think I’ve ever read one that coincides with anyones music. I guess those words are kind of the way to describe the music we make but really you just need to listen and make your own mind up. Like Mike said, we have a lot of different songs and it just depends on our current writing. Usually, if I hear something new from a band I’ve never heard, I know if I’m into it or not within 20 seconds. But definitely play this one on repeat regardless. 

VMAN What else are the Dawn Drapes cooking up for the rest of 2020? 

MS We will be releasing all four of the singles I mentioned earlier throughout the summer and into the fall. Hopefully by that time, things will have calmed down a bit and we can start thinking about a record and spring tour. I would love to get in and record an album or an EP as soon as we can. The newest material we have been writing as a four piece has been really exciting so I’ve been itching to get into a studio and get some stuff tracked.

DR I’m super excited about our new material that we are currently writing and so proud of the singles we will be releasing next. Definitely can’t wait to tour again but we understand that might take a while and there will be new changes we will all have to adapt to. We are gonna get back in the studio and keep the songs coming. I also have to mention Eric Ashleigh again at COMM/UNION because he has a lot of amazing ideas we are working on together to bring to everybody. Navigating this new musical landscape is something we look forward to doing over the next year.

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