Martina Sorbara, lead singer of Dragonette, is a sexual powerhouse performer but in her personal life hides behind knitting dolls for protection.
By Jen McNeely
We chatted with Sorbara about friendships that turn crazy, girls with small tits and why she prefers to morph into a man than dress like Lady Gaga.
SDTC: What do you like to do when you return home from your current London dwelling:
SORBARA: When I’m in London I never buy any clothing – I don’t know why, I think it’s because I’m still converting pounds into dollars. I’m a Value Village freak. I also go to Carte Blanche. (Like Nelly Furtado, Sorbara also chooses colouful prints from Toronto’s Queen West boutique to make an impact on stage.)
The video for your new song Pick Up The Phone is quite sexual, like you had a hot fling in high school with a girl? We especially like the Laundromat scene. Are we right in assuming this is about a friendship that was…um…a little more than a friendship?
It was a friendship that I had and I lost, ’cause it went out of control. It’s also like, not being manipulated but convinced to go further than you want to, and then shit happens, and there’s a breakdown. It was a relationship that started in high school and carried on until…well, this song.
So…it ended when she didn’t pick up the phone?
(Laughter) No comment.
You do sexy differently than most. What turns you on?
Sexy? I like a sexy girl who has like a really adorable tank top on and no boobs and no bra on.
Nipples. No bra. Hot. So, Heidi Montag doesn’t do it for you?
I’m not particularly turned on by, like, People Magazine or the Hollywood version of what sexy is. I try to twist it. People think Dragonette is really sexual because when we are overtly sexual it somehow looks really different, so it sticks out. People are so used to seeing Shakira writhing around and Lady Gaga in almost nothing. I think we stick out because I’m consciously trying to flip it around.
You like to play with gender stereotypes and in the new video Fixin’ To Thrill you look like a man. Where does this stem from?
Sexy to me is interesting. Often an interesting thing to do is to put a little bit of masculinity into it. I grew up as one of the guys – I have a twin brother and we had the same clothes. I was a tomboy. The boy thing comes naturally to me because it has always been there.
Who are your style icons, you sexy woman who we want to pounce?
David Bowie, Annie Lennox, Grace Jones – people that you have to look twice at because you don’t quite know what’s going on.
Moving away from sex, what does happiness look like to you?
I am happy when I’m creating something and whatever it is that I’m creating is exciting me, inspiring me, and making me stay up until 4am working on it, whether it’s making a song, knitting a hat or sewing a dress. I just like making shit.
So when you aren’t working on your music you are knitting?
I’m always making something. Often if there are people coming over or if I’m going somewhere I’ll bring something that I’m working on and then disappear. It’s my protection. I knit a lot, but I’m trying to branch out from that.
Why do you have a knitting addiction?
I have a whole collection of dolls that I’ve made for people and I want to give them away but then I put their eyes on and I fall in love with them and I’m like ‘No, you’re not going anywhere’. I’ve also been carving wax rings in silver and gold.
What was the music you first heard as a child that had you dancing in the living room?
I was really into Sinead O’Connor and I dunno, I remember listening to Frank Zappa. Later on I was a total hippie. I didn’t listen to the radio.
Did you have dreadlocks, wear Grateful Dead shirts and have barf stained Converse one-stars like us?
I was more into folk. Ani DiFranco and the Indigo Girls – sometimes I love putting on the Indigo Girls but I haven’t listened to Ani DiFranco recently, she did not travel well for me.
Dragonette’s new album is called Fixin To Thrill, and they’re playing at The Mod Club in Toronto on Oct.8th. Go check them out and see if you fall for Martina Sorbara like we clearly have-full tour dates here: http://www.myspace.com/dragonette