Blood On The Dance Floor
Blood On The Dance Floor
Dahvie Vanity – Vocals, Keys, Guitar, Bass
Jayy Von Monroe – Vocals
It’s all too common these days to dwell on the negative, whether it’s a past relationship, a faltering economy or schoolyard bullies keeping you down, but with a little hope and positivity, anyone’s fortunes can change in an instant. It may not always be easy to find that all-important ray of sunlight, but in the end, it’s the love we give to the world that really matters, and the more we give, the more we get in return.
Spreading this message has become the personal mission of Blood On The Dance Floor, and is the guiding theme of the electro-rock duo’s new full-length, Evolution. Moving away from the group’s prior efforts as musical provocateurs, the album captures a spiritual journey drawn from myriad influences in history, spirituality and literature.
“The whole point of this group has shifted from when I first started it. I’m in this whole love and attraction mode now,” explains frontman Dahvie Vanity. “People need to understand this wisdom that was passed down by great philosophers, like Aristotle, Beethoven, Shakespeare, Einstein…All these people understood the law of love, and they were so successful because they believed in it. I went on this whole wisdom trip and read all these books and gained all this knowledge, and now I want to pass it on through music.”
Blood On The Dance Floor—which also includes vocalist Jayy Von Monroe—formed in Orlando, Fla. in 2007, originally as a trio with Vanity, Christopher Mongillo and Rebecca Fugate, leading to the 2008 full-length debut, Let’s Start A Riot. Mongillo and Fugate departed not long after, but Vanity soon found a new collaborator in Garrett Ecstasy, and the two created BOTDF’s 2008 follow-up, It's Hard To Be A Diamond In A Rhinestone World. The pair then recorded three 2009 EPs—I Scream I Scream; OMFG Sneak Peak; and Extended Play—before Ecstasy moved on. Vanity then enlisted Von Monroe, and BOTDF was born again, issuing the 2010 full-length Epic, charting at #5 on Billboard’s dance/electronic chart. Firing on all cylinders, the duo relocated to Chandler, Ariz. and soon issued a fourth full-length, All The Rage, in 2011, which peaked at #13 on the Billboard Top Electronic Albums chart. BOTDF embarked on extensive gigging in support, including a high-profile run on the 2011 Vans Warped Tour.
For this latest stint in the studio, Vanity and Von Monroe pushed themselves to greater levels of song-craft and performance. Each track was carefully constructed to convey its underlying message, and the pair worked tirelessly during tracking to capture the spontaneous magic. As opposed to so many of their contemporaries, BOTDF refused to rely on the infamous autotune for the new recordings.
“We decided to record the entire album without autotune. It was really brave; I think that takes courage,” says Vanity. “It really wasn’t easy—we spent hours recording just one verse, because I believed in myself. I knew I could do it and hit every single note because I had the gift in me, the talent in me, and the ability to do it. I think it’s more challenging to enunciate every word or syllable correctly, and to do it without vocal synthesizers or manipulation of the heart. When you project the note, or words, coming out of you, the simplest things are the most altering.”
In fact, every aspect of Evolution is intended to evoke the greatest emotional effect. For Vanity, spreading his message of love and goodwill even comes down to actual frequencies, which are harnessed and projected within the recordings, just as they are in the outside world. When paired with the darker leanings of bandmate/collaborator Von Monroe, the necessary musical yin and yang is complete.
“It’s been scientifically proven that human emotions are measured in frequencies: What if every time you had a thought, a frequency comes out of you? When you send out something bad, you attract it, it comes back to you. But if you send out something good, it comes back to you as well,” says Vanity. “In the end, love truly conquers all: Love is the frequency that is limitless. There are no boundaries to it. We’re exploring the spectrum of light and darkness for this new album. It’s giving people the understanding of both sides, but at the end, love conquers all.”
A pivotal moment on Evolution is the anti-bullying anthem “Rise And Shine,” which features singer/rapper Deuce (formerly with Hollywood Undead) lending his unmistakable voice to the proceedings, which hearken back to Vanity’s childhood. “’Rise and Shine’ comes from a really dark period, back in 7th grade, when I used to get bullied and picked on because I was different. I wasn’t like every other kid out there, because of the music I listened to,” says Vanity. “Growing up, I was picked on, punched, abused, and I finally said, ‘Fuck this shit. I’m gonna stand up for what I believe in. I’m taking back what is mine.’ God gave you a right to protect yourself, embrace your dreams, defend your honor and not be taken advantage of.”
“I stood up to the bully and punched him right across the head and I gave him a big lump. He never fucked with me again—he avoided me, he ran away from me. I realized my own inner strength and belief in myself,” Vanity continues. “That’s the point of ‘Rise and Shine.’ A lot of kids are being victimized; they’re getting picked on and abused, and if the school system’s not going to do anything about it, if teachers are sitting there, we have a serious problem in our society. I will kick this into my grave until I make a difference. No one should live in fear. Don’t be a coward—be a hero, and stand up and fight back. I don’t believe in being cornered and abused.”
Another unforgettable moment comes with the track “Incomplete And All Alone,” which was co-written with Good Charlotte’s Joel Madden, and features Madden on guest vocals. Inspired by the cult-classic film Edward Scissorhands, the song uses the movie’s protagonist as a metaphor for Vanity’s own personal struggles with romantic heartache and loss.
“I grew up a big fan of Edward Scissorhands and that was the movie that really inspired me,” says Vanity. “When I wrote it, it was after I lost my first love, and I really felt like Edward Scissorhands. That was the only way to explain it to people so they’d get it really vividly. Originally it was called ‘Destroy Everything You Touch,’ but it felt like ‘Incomplete And All Alone’ was really the sum of the whole song. Joel [Madden] was instantly excited when he heard it, and he helped me write the chorus for the melodies, and some of the verse melodies. It was really exciting to have a song we wrote together. I’m so proud of it.”
BOTDF are ready to share their message of love and courage to the world in 2012, and with a full slate of touring planned behind the release—including the upcoming Fight To Unite Tour with Brokencyde, Deuce, William Control, New Years Day, The Bunny The Bear, Polkdot Cadaver and Haley Rose—their much-needed words are guaranteed to reach more ears than ever. Not only will fans witness a band that’s evolved, but BOTDF also hope the album will spur personal, individual growth among everyone who listens.
“Evolution is an evolution of the mind and the heart. We’ve reached this level where we think we can help the world, that we can bring more good and more power to people,” says Vanity. “If we’re going to be the voice of the people, we want to create an evolution in everyone. We can’t change people; we’re trying to give people hope, knowledge to put in their minds, so they can wake up every single day and say, ‘Today’s going to be a good day.’ We’re trying to encourage people to have courage, so they can set their dreams free.”
New Years Day
New Years Day formed in 2005 after bassist Adam Lohrbach left the band Home Grown. Home Grown's final EP, 2004's When it All Comes Down, had diverged from the band's previous style of humorous pop punk and incorporated many emotional elements that Lohrbach carried over into New Years Day. Meeting with vocalist Ashley Costello and guitarist/keyboardist Keith Drover, the three began rehearsing songs that Costello and Lorhbach had written. These songs were heavily influenced by the members' shared emotional experiences, as Lohrbach and Costello had both recently been through difficult relationship break-ups.
The group soon added guitarist Mike Schoolden (formerly of Wakefield) and drummer Russell Dixon and took the name New Years Day.
The band began building a reputation through promotion and posting songs on the MySpace social networking website, and were featured on the MySpace Records Volume 1 compilation CD and in the soundtrack of the video game Saints Row. After considering an offer from the Pete Wentz-run Decaydance Records label, the band signed to TVT Records and released a debut self-titled EP in 2006. Originally referred to as the Razor EP, it was primarily a digital release made available through download services such as iTunes, though CD copies were also available at the band's performances. They also performed at the South by Southwest music festival that same year.
From 2006–2007 New Years Day self-financed and self-produced their debut album My Dear, recorded over an eight-month period at the home of producer Eugene Perreras. The album was released on May 8, 2007 and includes collaborations with members of Reel Big Fish and Motion City Soundtrack. The band's debut music video for the lead single "I Was Right" won an MTVU "Freshman Face" poll and was added to the channel's playlist.
The band started writing new material in early 2009. Around September 2009, NYD posted two new songs on their MySpace page. When asked about a new EP, vocalist Ashley Costello said, "The EP is in its demo phase right now and we are still writing for it and recording it at the same time. The EP should be out in the spring of 2010."
On March 12, 2010, Alternative Press announced that New Year's Day have been added on the Warped Tour's summer dates. New Year's Day released their Japanese debut album called "Headlines & Headstones" on July 2nd, 2010 under Spinning Inc. The album contains music from their first EP, their first LP "My Dear", a Lady Gaga cover and new songs from their upcoming 2nd full-length US album.