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Tamara Dey and Shadowclub drummer Isaac Klawansky revealed their new project, Death By Misadventure, at Oppikoppi earlier this month. Therese Owen believes it’s going to be the next big thing in dance music.
‘This is a classic case of rock star drummer secretly makes beats,” smiles Tamara Dey.
She is referring to her boyfriend and partner in Death By Misadventure (or DbyM as they prefer to call it), Isaac Klawansky. They describe their music as dark dance. Is that a genre? Tamara pauses before she answers emphatically: “Well, it is now.”
Their performance at Oppikoppi was one of the many highlights of this year’s festival. Tamara is singing better than ever and has forsaken those pesky fans who are so much a part of her act with Flash Republic.
She also wore a cape on stage and gave a commanding performance. Isaac took his intensity from Shadowclub and stood next to her beating on the electric drums. Together, they had found a perfect, harmonious place for their talent.
Both agree that the DbyM process was organic.
“I was making beats in my headphones and Tamara asked me to show her what I was doing,” explains Isaac.
“We live together and what do you do when your boyfriend is making sick beats in the spare room?” asks Tamara. “You’re gonna go and sing. We both love dark dance music. We were having a jol.”
But then something went horribly wrong. Tamara developed polyps on her vocal cords and had to undergo three operations.
“Isaac wanted to do a band from our work, but he never told me. We had loads of material and it was a few days to go before the operation. We approached our dream South African producer, Peach van Pletzen. He was so booked up, but we managed to persuade him to give us three days. I think he felt sorry for me because of my polyps.”
It was during the December holidays and Isaac and Tamara were visiting family in Tzaneen. Peach was sending them songs over the internet.
It was only when they heard the finished product that they realised how big DbyM could be. Their mutual record company, Just Music, was just as impressed.
“We played it to the owner, Karl Anderson, and he loved it and decided to release it. It was important to be released by Just Music as both Shadowclub and Flash Republic are signed to the label,” says Isaac.
But with DbyM set to take on a larger life force, are there not going to be clashes between their bands? They are both unfazed by the prospect.
“You can’t live your musical dreams through one thing,” says Tamara.
Clearly, a lot of thought has been put into DbyM, including the name, which was taken from a coroner’s report.
“If you die by accident it is called ‘death by misadventure’,” says Isaac. “The album is a discussion on that concept.”
The album is called Dumb Dumb and the title track was the last song they wrote.
“It really is the most out there track I have ever written,” confesses Tamara. “The album is a commentary on the excess of humans in all their forms. We consume too much, and too much of a good thing will kill you.”
The music has strong elements of early Eighties bands. Think Tears for Fears, Cocteau Twins, Sixousie and the Banshees. It sometimes borders on gothic, a look the two of them have embraced.
At Oppikoppi Tamara appeared in a pink cape. “Any excuse to wear a cape,” she smiles. “If you make dark dance music you’re allowed to wear a cape.”
The cape also features in one of two videos they have made. The first video, Thrill, which deals with the excess of teenage love, was produced by themselves.
It was made in their flat in Craighall Park and contains footage of strobes and Tamara crawling around on a carpet.
For Cold Hard Fact, which is a song about marital abuse, Tamara is seen in a pink bubble bath. In the end she kills her abusive husband then drinks herself to death with her jewels. Macabre enough for you?
It would appear they’re just getting started.
They say they are quite particular about their visuals and have done all the styling themselves. They are constantly working on new material and are conscious of the move to digitally consumed music.
On their website they have free downloads, their music videos and gig guides. They will be releasing a new track every month by sending it to fans’ inboxes. Go to www.weardbym.com.
In terms of Shadowclub, except their long-awaited second album to release towards the end of the year.