Daymoths on Selling Handmade Soaps at Shows: "The Worse the Bar Smells, the Better the Soap Sells"
For such a chilly state, Minnesota has produced many a hot musical act. You've got the Replacements, Prince, and, well, Tay Zonday... Yup, that's right, the fucking "Chocolate Rain" guy is from Minnesota. Breathe that in.
Anyway, the state is also home to indie pop duo Daymoths, composed of keyboardist and vocalist Emily Dantuma and drummer and vocalist Ollie Dodge. This husband and wife pair are performing in Lake Worth tonight at Speakeasy Lounge. Ben Pachter, frontman of Boca rock act Montage and past show-mate, calls the group "a great studio band and an even greater live band." So, we thought we'd ring the St. Paul scene veterans and chat about Steve Rullman and the handmade soaps they sling at their merch table.
New Times: I read in an interview that you guys sell hand-crafted soaps at your merch table. Can you tell us more about how that got started?
Emily Dantuma: About five years ago, we made soap for holiday presents. We got hooked on it and started selling it at craft sales. Then, a friend of ours who has a record label back home said "Why aren't you selling your soap at the shows?" And I thought, "Well, I don't know, cause it's kinda weird." Then we gave it a try and it's turned out pretty successful. We like to say, "The worse the bar smells, the better the soap sells."
What's in it?
We use olive oil, coconut oil, soybean oil, essential oils (for scenting), and herbs. We make it in our garage at home.
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Are you guys very craft-oriented? Have you done anything like this previously?
In general, we're pretty into organic, minimalistic ingredients. That type of crafter, DIY mentality is what we're into. The soap is really the only craft we do. Ollie's a big cook. I'm into vegetable gardening. We like that sort of substantial, sustainable model for living.
Back in Time was released in December 2011. You guys had some fellow Twin Cities musicians featured on the record. What was it like making the album and what does it mean to you as a band?
The biggest change was working with Dustin Kiel, the guitarist on the album. I had written all the string parts. Ollie had written all the bass parts. We gave him what we had, and he basically took it to the next level by writing the most perfect guitar parts for every song. It just felt like he opened the sound up and put everything right in the pocket. He didn't change the feel of the songs, he just made them better. For live shows, we're actually using samples of his guitar parts. We're hoping to work with him in writing the next album.
Do you have any connections to South Florida? What have shows down here been like for you?
This will be our third time down in South Florida. Two years ago, we actually got really lucky on our first winter tour. I was trying to book some shows in South Carolina and I was coming up with nothing. I happened to come across Steve Rullman (PureHoney and the Honeycomb) and sent him an email. He wrote back saying, "I really like your music. Let me see what I can do for you." He got us two gigs, put us on other local shows, and was super helpful. Basically, we rerouted that whole leg to come down to South Florida because Steve was so kind. And we've been coming back ever since.
How has the two-piece setup and the fact that you're married affected the way you play live?
I think it's more helpful that we're married. We're not leaving our significant other at home when we go out on tour for months, which makes it a lot less stressful. We've been together for 15 years (and married for five years) so we already have a trust and a deep love and appreciation for each other. I think that only benefits our live shows.
What's next? More touring, working on a follow up record?
People can definitely expect an EP late fall. We're playing three new songs on this tour. The goal is a little heavier, more danceable, but still with the same Daymoths sound. And we'll be coming back down to South Florida in January or February.
Daymoths will be playing with Montage and Casey Hopkins Duo at Speakeasy Lounge, 129 North Federal Highway, Lake Worth tonight, at 9 p.m.
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