Roller derby plus funk rock plus drag equals Dank. The Atlanta-based punk band’s latest music video for “Get Up” (the title track of their June 2016 EP) features all four band members, faces painted in makeup and full of roller-girl attitude.
Filmed alongside the Classic City Rollergirls team at Fun Galaxy Athens in Georgia, Dank guitarist Jimmy Bones says the idea to dress as ladies came from their video director, Travis Ward. He threw out the idea whilst meeting on the shores of Charleston, SC, a while back.
“As you can probably imagine, it was a candid affair,” Bones quips, “and the idea came up just so, with all of us immediately agreeing to it.”
It’s certainly fun to watch Bones strutting … er … rolling around in knee-highs and spanks, making cat eyes to the camera with bandmates Eddie Speaker (vocals, bass), Matt Henderson (piano, organ, synths), and Josh Birmingham (drums). It reflects the light-hearted nature of a funky rock song like “Get Up” (with a touch of ‘70s roller disco), as well as Dank themselves.
“I think we surprised ourselves that we took to the idea so quickly—almost flippantly,” Bones adds, “but months later there we were, skating around in drag.”
While they may not be dressed for the roller rink as they tour their latest EP, Dank is bringing the dance party to North Carolina. They’ll be playing at The Whiskey in downtown Wilmington on September 15.
While “Get Up” is full of pop vocals, funk guitar and synthesizers like its title track, tunes like “Baby’s Diamonds” slow the beat but not the overall mood of the collection. “Bend the Time” picks back up with pop rock, but doesn’t simply fall back into nostalgic funk like “Get Up.”
encore spoke with Bones last week to chat more about gettin’ down with “Get Up,” growing nuances with songs on the road and the “danceability” of live Dank shows.
encore (e): Tell our readers more about “Get Up” and how this EP reflects what you’ve been working toward thus far.
Jimmy Bones (JB): The “Get Up” EP has been a maturation pattern toward more concise arrangements and hooks, and better production quality of our music. This was an important part for us. With our previous album, “Dank,” we went in a total DIY direction, recording it ourselves, on our own equipment, in our own studio space (the upstairs of a garage). It was a great experience, but we felt like the end result did a bit of a disservice to the songs we had crafted, leading up to the sessions. Going into “Get Up,” we wanted to make sure the songs were getting the proper treatment they deserved, from the first microphones that were placed to the final versions on the EP.
e: How has the band developed/grown musically together and how (if at all) does “Get Up” reflect that growth?
JB: Musically, we have become better and better at sonic delegation, if you will, wherein each of us know our roles within the songs and improvisations and how not to be stepping on each other’s toes as we play them; honing in on the intricacies of each other’s parts and how we can fit them altogether like Legos.
We have also been heavily involved with making sure we don’t have any “filler” during both our songs and improvisations, trying to find ways to keep things fresh and alive at every moment during our show. This attitude definitely found its way onto “Get Up,” where we wanted to have every part of every song be a moment of its own and have its own two legs to stand on.
e: Have any of you found that these songs adopt new nuances on the road that they didn’t have in the studio?
JB: With “Get Up,” for example, we have taken to extending the Moog [synthesizer] breakdown at the end before going back to the final chorus. We also like to extend the intro of “Bend the Time” [live], giving the drums and Moog a moment of interplay that is only heard for a brief moment on the record. The ending of that song has also been slightly changed to reflect this, where we have kind of lopped off the former outro in place of another Moog and drums section.
On the whole though, and a funny thing for us, we have kept these songs very much the same as they were recorded. I think it is a testament to how much work we did arranging and playing these songs before and during the recording process that we have not changed too much, which is where you want to be honestly.
e: Aside from the EP, are you road testing any other songs on tour?
JB: I don’t think we would stay sane for very long if we didn’t start working in new material on the road, which could mean a new song as much as it could a new improvisation that we throw in the set or insert into a section of an existing song.
e: Could there be a full-length album on the horizon?
JB: I can tell you that the idea of a full-length is something we are intrigued by, though currently we are still finding new audiences to share “Get Up” with and will continue to do so.
e: Is there anything else you’d like to add about the “Get Up” EP or upcoming show in Wilmington?
JB: Our live show is all about energy, danceability and fun. It’s where we get to stretch our legs out as individual musicians and as a band. I have heard our live show be variously described as a “party” or a “gathering,” and we very much try to keep that spirit alive in every city we visit, no matter how many friends or how many fans we have there. We are trying to have just as good a time as the audience. Bring your friends and let’s do this!