Rising Artists: Dance for the Dying


Interviewed By: Elliott Wallace

What should you expect from Dance for the Dying’s new EP, Puzzles for the Traveler ?

“I think our recording process was more refined, and we had a clearer goal when making Puzzles for the Traveler,” says the band’s frontwoman M.C. Wolfe, adding that the new EP (which was released on Oct 2nd) better represents the band live, “especially if you play it through some bassy speakers.”

Dance for the Dying owns the type of sound that pop music needs to be: memorable, exciting, sexy and a little dark. However, that sound took a little time to really come into fruition.

“When I came into the group, the songs Chris Link (drums/percussion) and Josh Hunter (guitarist/synth) had been working on fit a scattered mix of genres,” says Wolfe, adding that their sounds was a bit more ominous in the beginning. “My personal fantasy was to create bright, dance-y, fast-paced tunes, which was mostly a new style for all of us to play”.

The band’s inception began when Link took a trip to India, where he found his musical inspiration that quickly lead to starting his own band. Through Craigslist, Link recruited Hunter and bassist Brad Cantor, while Wolfe was introduced later to the band by a mutual acquaintance of Hunter.

The musical chemistry among the quartet was organic, and by the time the band recorded their first self-titled EP (released in July 2011) , Cantor said their sound at that point “was formed by all of us- bringing out our own influences and ideas to the songwriting process.”

The EP proved to be a successful debut for the band, and had several songs featured on the Xbox and Playstation 3 gaming systems. Tracks like the chilling but spirited “Kitty Fight Song,” the delightfully pop-centric new-wave of “Echoes,” and the morbidly fascinating “Death in the Garden,” were a commercial success.  “The last time we got an update, they have been downloading our tracks in seven countries for gameplay,” Wolfe says.

Not only has the game increased their album sales, but fans have even created YouTube videos of their songs, further propelling their popularity. Outside of the studio, the band also began to see a strong regional following.

“In the past months, we’ve been in cities like Baltimore, New York City, Boston and Richmond,” says Wolfe, adding that the turnout has been pretty exciting. “We often head into new places with lot of uncertainty, and our apprehensions are rapidly defused when we get to the stage.”

With the success they’ve seen on their last EP, the band decided once again to take the plunge of releasing a new record. After recording Puzzles for the Traveler, they set-up a fundraiser with Indiegogo, and not only hit their goal-but also exceeded it.

“It was a little scary to ask for help, but [the fans] pulled it out and have been so supportive,” Wolfe says. “When we play live, some of the best moments are seeing people singing along to songs that haven’t been recorded yet and practically bouncing out of their shoes.”

While the band has kicked around the possibility of doing their first full-length album, right now they are focusing on touring through the fall and winter. That doesn’t mean that a full-length is not on the horizon-YET. Wolfe reassures that “We don’t want to put anything out that is poor quality or not truly representative of us”.

In the meantime, the band has scored several high profile gigs, including a spot at the CMJ Music Marathon Festival in New York City in October. With additional press for their new release from outlets like NYLON Magazine, it looks like a bright future ahead for the synth-rock quartet.

Listen to Puzzles for the Traveler Below: