My Life in Music: Martina Sorbara of Dragonette

My Life in Music: Martina Sorbara of Dragonette | Soho House

Martina Sorbara of Dragonette just called to say hello from the Camp Tamakwa weekender with Soho House Toronto. Situated on South Tea Lake in Algonquin Park, a short drive north of Toronto, Camp Tamakwa offered the perfect balance between R&R and peak party time for the members who attended, with performances from DJ Young Teesh, DJ Jenno Christian and a headline set from Dragonette. 
Best known for dance bangers ‘Summer Thing’ and ‘Hello’, Dragonette is fronted by Canadian singer Martina Sorbara. She spoke exclusively to Soho House following the set. 
Soho House: Can you plot the exact moment when you first discovered your love for music? 
‘I have memories of laying on the floor of my parents' shag carpeted living room listening to vinyl records when I was very young. That hardly seems out of the ordinary, but those are really clear and beautiful memories for me. When I was 12, I was given the double CD set of The Phantom Of The Opera. I put it in the player and I literally started involuntarily writhing on the floor with ecstasy. It was such a visceral feeling. I still love The Phantom Of The Opera with a fanatic passion.’
What was the first album you ever bought? Do you still listen to it?
‘Indigo Girls Strange Fire and I remember the weird little cube-shaped CD player I played it on. I do not listen to it anymore. But I just put it on Spotify right now. Wow, it's been a while.’
Were your parents into music? If so, what did they listen to? 
‘I think they were. But not intensely. There wasn’t music playing constantly in our house, but we were a musical family in that we enjoyed singing together and we learned to play some kind of instrument. My mom would sing me and my twin brother to sleep most nights when I was little so I have to assume that a lot of my musical brain formed around that tradition.’
Do you ever listen back to your own music? If so, which track means the most to you and why? 
‘I don’t actually do that very much. Well I do, but I listen to songs that aren’t yet released and are sitting on my hard drive. I guess I like to imagine what to do with them, who to send them to for a collaboration or how to finish them or to see if they’re still worth working on. I’ve got a lot of unreleased songs laying around.’  
Who are your key musical inspirations?
‘Oh, I have no idea where to begin. It comes from everywhere. Lyrically, I'm inspired a lot by movies and turns of phrase I hear in everyday conversation. I have whole Notes pages on my phone filled up with that stuff. But vibes wise and musically, it’s always from really random and disparate sources. Ya know, I can hear an old country song and think like, “What if it was like this but moulded into a house music template….” I mean, my influences are so broad and if I tried to show you the line from A to B, we’d all definitely get lost along the way.’ 
If you could play one musical instrument that you don’t currently play, what would it be? 
‘Banjo. How fun would that be? Dolly Parton shreds on banjo and anything I can do to be more like Dolly…’
What’s your favourite gig memory?
‘In about 2010, I think, I wrote a song for a track I was sent from Kaskade called ‘Fire In Your New Shoes’. It ended up being a pretty huge song that year. I also released my second album called Fixin’ To Thrill. We got added to the line-up of Lollapalooza in Chicago that year, and my feeling was that we were just a tiny little band and we’d be playing to 45 people in some puppet tent on the periphery. But the stage was big and the audience was huge, excited and singing along, and that was really the first time in the band I felt the momentum of all the creative energy I put into Dragonette really feeding me beyond all my expectation.’
If you had to pick a soundtrack to your life, what would it be? 
‘It would be Lucinda Williams and Nick Lowe and Kate Bush and Paul Simon and Portishead and Ella Fitzgerald… Should I go on?’
Who are you listening to most right now? What’s top of your most played list?
‘A little while ago, I discovered this Norwegian artist called Augustine and he really is taking over my airwaves. His album fits all moods.’
What’s your pre-performance ritual?
‘I like to be sitting on site drinking a tequila soda, humming to myself, hanging with the band and crew and not doing too much entertaining of anyone, quieting my mind to think about avenues to connect with the audience. I get pretty tired before I go on stage. I think it's my body conserving energy. But outside of that, there's not much pre-show ritual.’

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