Connections, connections, connections. That’s what the music industry is all about. For up and coming musicians, connections are vital to their success, but can be nearly impossible to make. Without large record companies or a thriving independent music scene, making musical connections in a town like D.C. can be difficult.
Many bands in this situation are forced to take the do-it-yourself approach by booking their own shows, promoting their own music and being their own street team. Take, for example, the Prince Georges’ County band The Dance Party. Formed in 2004, TDP has worked relentlessly to get their music and their name out to the public (the lead singer is even listed as the contact for booking shows).
TDP is a collection of four average guys from the suburbs of D.C. who simply love to have fun. To support their musical endeavors, everyone in the band has steady, normal jobs. Lead singer Mick Coogan is an AP English teacher, bassist Danny Hoag works for the State Department, drummer Jeff David teaches special education at an elementary school, and guitarist Kevin Bayly is a law student at Catholic. Despite having day jobs, the band continues to manage themselves and recently booked their first show at the 9:30 Club with other local band Middle Distance Runner.
“I didn’t think we’d ever play there,” said bassist Danny Hoag. Hoag isn’t all serious though, adding, “Now that we have a show there, we plan on kicking a lot of ass.”
TDP has developed a high-energy, dance-party style live show over the past two years. Lead singer Coogan promised their first large-venue show will be no different. “We want the show to be the most fun time ever,” he said. “A show is a chance for us to flip out and party.”
The night before our interview, the band was handing out copies of their EP outside of the Lily Allen show at the 9:30 Club. Their “The Dance Party EP” was released last spring at a show with D.C. superstars Washington Social Club. The popularity of WSC brought tons of audience members, bloggers and music reporters to the show. Afterwards, buzz around the EP led to several shows at DC9, Iota, the Black Cat and a recurring gig at the Velvet Lounge where they played their first club show just three months earlier.
The EP also garnered great, and well deserved, reviews from The Washington Post and the City Paper. The five-track disc, playing at just over 11 minutes, is a well-tuned debut record exemplifying the band’s fun style. “Daniel LaRusso’s Gonna Fight” is a hilarious, yet quintessential indie-pop hit and ode to the karate kid. The light-hearted tracks “Hot Sh*t” and “Do You Party?” epitomize the bands’ fun, dancey style.
The future looks promising for TDP. After their show at 9:30 Club tomorrow night, they will play Arlene’s Grocery, one of New York’s premier independent venues, in April. Also, the band is in the studio recording their first full-length album set to release later this spring.
The guys in TDP say they’re going to keep with the same fun-loving style for the new record. “We don’t have a super serious message. We’re not trying to change the world,” Coogan said. “If you like rock and partying, you’re going to like us.”
The Dance Party will play the 9:30 Club tomorrow night with Middle Distance Runner. Tickets are $10 and doors open at 10 p.m.