The French popsters pull out all the smooth moves and grooves

Style setter: Becky Ninkovic
The lead singer of You Say Party! We Say Die! Chats with FLARE’s Laura Lanktree about the new album, the image, and the ups and downs of indie-life

Out of Abbottsford, B.C. comes You Say Party! We Say Die!, a wicked ensemble being touted as the latest dance-punk sensation. After spending the last three years tirelessly proving their worth out on the road, the band settled down this past January to plug away at a second full-length album, Lose All Time.

Laura Lanktree: You ended up being banned from the U.S. for five years because of a problem at the border with paperwork. How much has that affected the band?

Becky Ninkiovic: It’s been a bummer for us, but it has had it’s positives as well. Because of everything happening politically right now with the American government, places like Britain and Europe find it very appealing that we’re not allowed into the US – they love that about us. It’s ironic that it has kind of worked for us on that level, but it is too bad. We’d love to go back to South By South West [in Austin, Texas] because we had so much fun there [last year]. But, there are fun festivals in other places. Plus, there are still people in the States that are interested and contacting us despite the ban. So, who knows? I try to look at it positively.

LL: How important has MySpace been for you? Does the network make it harder to stand out as an indie band since, really, anyone can post an MP3 and call themselves one?

BN: MySpace has been really rad and a lot of our fan base has developed through it. It’s a really good network for people to find out about bands so, even though it’s kind of high school at times, it’s totally worth it. But, on some level, you can feel like a little fish in a big sea. It’s kind of a toss up.

LL: Do you use styling as a method to stand apart from other bands?

BN: Well, we’re self-styled, so everyone wears what they want to wear. I really love clothes and fabric and I would love to play around with costumes some more, but it’s hard when you’re on the road and you only have one very small suitcase.

LL: As the front woman, do you feel extra pressure to set the image for the band?

BN: I don’t feel it as an external pressure, because I don’t focus on what others expect of me, but personally I love to dress up, dance around and be a performer, so the pressure comes from inside. Still, it is definitely a world where, unfortunately, for females in bands, there is still the automatic sex-symbol thing. People say that my dancing is sexy, but I’m certainly not up there thinking ‘oh I’m so sexy right now’ –  I’m just dancing. 

LL: Well you have certainly stood apart through your music. Unlike lots of bands out there, You Say Party! has a unique sound that marries modern dance music with hard-edged punk and the lyrics that accompany it are very unique too, dealing with scientific and extra-terrestrial content. What’s the origin of those lyrics?

BN: I’m fascinated with health and the human body and I also really enjoy being a woman. Plus, I’m a pretty spiritual person and I believe that there are things going on around us that we can’t see. I often feel things before I know them and that comes out in my lyrics. A lot of times, I don’t really know what I’m writing about until it’s down on paper. When people ask what I’m singing about, I don’t exactly know how to explain it. I often sense my lyrics on a more internal level before I actually process them with my mind. I just try not to force anything.

LL: Tell me about the album title Lose All Time.

BN: I pulled Lose All Time out of a lyric in ‘5 Year Plan’, the first song on the album, and I guess, for me and for the rest of the band, we related to that title because being on the road and in this band, we lose all time. We really lose all sense of what month it is, what day it is, what time it is – we’re just in this little bubble of our own. Even though we do have a general schedule from our label [Paperbag Records], it doesn’t really come into our daily lives. It’s a different life now, but it’s kind of romantic to me. I think it’s the kind of life that I’ll look back on and think ‘wow, that was incredible that we got to see the world in that way and do it through our art’.

For more information on You Say Party! We Say Die! visit their website at www.yousaypartywesaydie.ca.

*photo courtesy of Paperbag Records