Spotlight On... Dancer

Ahead of releasing their debut album, 10 Songs I Hate About You, we shine a spotlight on Glasgow quartet Dancer

Feature by Tallah Brash | 14 Mar 2024
  • Dancer

Made up of members of Nightshift, Current Affairs and Robert Sotelo, Glasgow post-punks Dancer are coming in hot and heavy with their explosive debut album 10 Songs I Hate About You. Due for release on Friday 15 March via Madrid label Meritorio Records, punchy and assured vocalist Gemma Fleet leads the charge over jangling discordant guitar from Chris Taylor, perky shuffling drums by Gavin Murdoch and rubbery bass from Andrew Doig.

As we put the final touches on this week's Spotlight On... feature, the four-piece have just been announced as support for Dry Cleaning on a couple of their forthcoming tour dates and, to be perfectly honest, we can't imagine a much better pairing. Ahead of releasing their debut tomorrow, we're delighted to be shining a spotlight on one of Glasgow's most exciting new bands.

You started releasing music as Dancer last year – how did you end up making music together?
Gemma Fleet: Me and (Andrew) Doig moved into Chris’s flat where he was having a nice peaceful life and were basically like, "you can continue to live here, but we will make your life a living misery if you don’t work for us in the band." Gavin comes from Motherwell. 

Andrew Doig: Three of us played as Order of the Toad in the years prior to Dancer. Maybe we reached a natural break point with that band and trying something new came easy and excitingly. Essentially Chris started playing guitar rather than drums. We knew he was good but maybe weren't quite prepared for HOW good haha. I was introduced to Gavin at a house gig the week I first moved to Glasgow and I have been his biggest drumming fan ever since.

Following the release of two EPs on GoldMold Records, your debut EP is coming out on Friday via Madrid label Meritorio Records – how did this come about?
GF: We have been really lucky to get local support from GoldMold and the legendary Gary [Taylor]. I love the Glasgow scene but we went with Meritorio for the album as hopefully we can get to go to Spain at some point, that would be amazing! 

AD: Simple but boring answer, we just emailed them as fans of the label! Pretty much anything you want as a band is achievable by email if you are consistently persistent haha.

I love the playfulness of the album and its title – 10 Songs I Hate About You. Like the film 10 Things I Hate About You, is there any connection to Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew? If not, can you tell us how you decided on the album’s title?
Chris Taylor: We had the name before the album was finished. With the album being more of an opening statement showing the different things we do rather than one big concept, we just needed something that was memorable and denoted a collection of songs. I like Escher sentences and we thought this was funny so this is what it ended up being. Scott Jason Smith, who does all of our artwork, was going with the Taming of the Shrew theme for a while but changed it up for the final version of the sleeve.

GF: Aww thanks!! The album title came from Chris. I’m not sure if there is a Shakespeare connection, I’d like to do a Shakespeare-inspired song though called: What, you egg! [he stabs him] 

When it comes to the music, there’s a really beautiful warm energy to the record; I love how tight but off-kilter everything is and I’m obsessed with Gemma introducing the songs, as well as the live in the room feel that comes from the fact it was recorded live to tape. Can you tell us more about the recording process and how you achieved this warmth and depth?
AD: Ronan [Fay] at Green Door and recording to tape achieved the warmth. Being relatively tight as a band doesn't hurt in getting a nice performance and vibe. Gemma singing live too gave it an edge. There are practically no overdubs at all on the record.

GF: I love recording live; for a singer, I want to record along with the band, not in isolation afterwards in a separate little booth! Horrible. It’s the music and the feel of it live that helps get the best out of the performance for me and we are lucky that Ronan at Green Door has been able to capture that.

You say the record was inspired by memories of the 90s, the technological breakdown of our modern age and the simplicity of love in a time of madness. Can you tell us more about these different themes?
GF: For me I was thinking back to music I liked growing up and what drew me to want to make songs in the first place. I loved The Jam, The Cure, X-ray Spex, Squeeze, The Smiths, Elvis Costello – the best of the best for a straight-up lyrically pleasing Britishness. Rein It In is a cautionary tale about looking with sort of rose-tinted nostalgia, I grew up in the 90s and 00s and it was problematic to say the least. It’s too easy to say, "It was better back in my day." People used to say that when I was a teenager in the 90s about the 70s and it was so yawn. 

There’s also a surrealist thread that runs through the record in songs like International Birdman and When I Was a Teenage Horse, which I’m really drawn to. Can you tell us more about these more surreal moments?
GF: When I Was a Teenage Horse is a reference to Hole’s Teenage Whore. Doig told me a story that when he was at school he had the CD of the single and played it over and over and used to sing it with his friend Adam. However, to avoid a telling off from their parents they changed the word ‘whore’ to ‘horse’. I just imagined what if I was actually a horse. International Birdman is a real contest where people try to fly off a pier. This song is about someone preparing their bird costume all year only for the competition to be cancelled due to COVID-19. Imagine the disappointment.

With the record release just around the corner, what does the rest of the year have in store for Dancer?
AD: Continue to consistently and persistently email everyone. But also, we have already recorded our next release so there's that too. 

GF: I want to go about a bit, I love going to different cities and meeting new bands; plus seeing old friends. We have another cheeky release later in the year too so watch this space – ssssshhhhhh.


10 Songs I Hate About You is released on 15 Mar via Meritorio Records
Dancer play Monorail, Glasgow, 20 Mar, and support Dry Cleaning at Saint Luke's, Glasgow, 5 Apr and The Grove, Newcastle, 6 Apr