1131 S. Broad Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19147

The Dø

The Dø


Tue, June 9, 2015

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

The Boot & Saddle

Philadelphia, PA


This event is 21 and over

The Dø
The Dø
Powerful, intense, coherent. “Shake, Shook, Shaken” is the very special odyssey of The Dø. Olivia Merilahti and Dan Levy always favored risk-taking rather than comfort and compromise. With this third album, the Franco-Finnish duo offers a radical change - a futuristic turn carried along by a syncopated electronic beat.

After the wonderfully accidental “A Mouthful” (2008) and the organically experimental “Both Ways Open Jaws” (2011), “Shake, Shook, Shaken” responds with a new requirement elevated as “dogma” in the opinion of those concerned: Dan and Olivia deliberately opted out of acoustic instruments to focus on synthetic dance sounds and percussion. “When we started writing these songs,” they said, “we used only a laptop and a keyboard. We quickly became obsessed with this set-up; this form of minimalism banning ‘real’ instruments to the point of creating a new work ethic: guitars, which had been almost over-used previously, have intentionally been set aside. Our aim with ‘Shake, Shook, Shaken’ was to take ownership of the sounds that had previously been undervalued, while going with a more pop aesthetic.”

From their studio a pastoral 18th-century water tower, they conducted their research. Between self-restraint and purity lies transcendence. Says Dan, “We were very hard on ourselves. Once something became too convoluted, we would chop it down with an ax. We wanted a very epic album, with elements of heroism, comedy and manga. An album with superheroes. It wasn’t about sounding contemplative or naturalistic. I have never been so affected by synthetic sounds in the middle of those fields.”

Olivia also talks about her family roots when it comes to explaining another founding principle of “Shake, Shook, Shaken.” “In Finland, there is the ‘Sisu,’ a sense of resilience and bravery that is a common, ancestral value to the Finns. Whatever happens, we don’t let go, we keep moving on, we never feel sorry for ourselves. This followed us while writing the album. We wanted to make a luminous record to reach as many people as possible, without having it fall in on itself. “I don’t mind where I land as long as I’m in trustful hands,” she says in the second song on the album. “My lyrics are more or less surreal poems, but I don’t mind being very down to earth sometimes, like in this song, ‘Trustful Hands.’ I talk a lot about finding oneself in chaos, which can also be comfortable, and knowing how to live with it.”

“Shake, Shook, Shaken” has its share of unifying hymns, from the introductory “Keep Your Lips Sealed,” and the solemn “A Mess Like This,” to the vibrant “Despair, Hangover & Ecstasy” and the appropriately named “Miracles (Back in Time)” - considered by the duo as a “pillar” of these twelve songs (“by listening, we knew we were finally on the right track”). The music of The Dø takes its audience between military rhythms (“Going Through Walls”), tribal vibes and cosmic depths while Olivia’s voice takes on a new dimension. “Just as we wanted to create short fragments without chitchat,” she interprets, “I wanted to avoid vocal acrobatics. The message should be hitting you from the start to the finish.” Abundant, emotionally strong, full of surprises and other sonic innovations, “Shake, Shook, Shaken” is not inferior in strength to the duo’s previous albums. “We wanted to get it right, but through innovations in instrumentation,” says Dan.

“Throughout the year-long development of this record, we listened to a lot of hip-hop, club music and aggressive techno - these are the sounds that are the most innovative at the moment. It all changes very quickly, it’s very challenging. I am fascinated by the complete freedom of
a band like Die Antwoord, and also how Beyonce and Kanye West are revolutionizing popular music, from the highest peaks of mainstream music.”

True to what they have always been, Olivia and Dan have once again worked in an almost self-sufficient process, only supported additionally by the mixing engineer Fab Dupont. “He was able to create space in our rich, dense compositions, polishing and providing this clarity that we aimed for. It was the only help from outside that we allowed ourselves, but it was crucial.”

Olivia and Dan succeed in making music both cerebral and visceral, building bridges between the present and the future. Varied in its approach and essentially uncompromising, “Shake, Shook, Shaken” lays the foundation for unprecedented experimentation to conquer unexplored territories.
Most people would listen to my songs and assume it’s about boy meets girl, boy breaks girl’s heart, girl cries. But these songs are actually about my family and the crippling confusion and heartbreak addiction causes."

Under the moniker APHRA(pronounced AF-RA), Philadelphia’s Rebecca Waychunas has meticulously crafted a left-of-pop persona that infuses experiences of personal struggle with both the grit of the DIY/ punk scene and the layered instrumentation of her electronica contemporaries -recalling the likes of a Coexist era The xx mixed with Mitski. Sadness is a Gesture took over two years to write, record, and produce. In both the songs’ evolution and physical manifestation, they trace a journey working through confusion by way of repeated mental and emotional breakdowns to immense personal growth and clarity.

Waychunas started writing songs in high school as a way to make sense of the instability around her. Her openness about the traumatizing effect that drug and alcohol addiction has had on familial and personal relationships serves as the foundation for the sonically diverse tracks. "All of these songs were actually written with a particular person or relationship in mind in which addiction played a huge part,” Waychunas explains. “I don’t personally struggle with any substance issues, but I have realized that I am quite drawn to people who suffer from them. I’ve learned who I am, and who I am in relation to the people closest to me, most intimately through the process of recording this project."

She considers herself lucky to live in a city that offers such supportive underground music scene. Philadelphia has allowed Waychunas to grow as both a songwriter and performer, and collaborate with artists across several different mediums. Her immersion in these communities has helped hone her proficiency in video production and dance choreography. The release of Sadness is a Gesture serves as both a reflection and expression of APHRA’s deeply personal and creative pursuits.
Venue Information:
The Boot & Saddle
1131 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19147