Toronto’s ardent art-dance sibling trio DOOMSQUAD have shared the video for their new single ‘Dorian’s Closet’, a track honouring legendary drag queen Dorian Corey, best known for her role in the film Paris Is Burning. ‘Dorian’s Closet’ is the second single from DOOMSQUAD’s new LP “Let Yourself Be Seen”, out 10 May via Bella Union, and is accompanied by a video featuring the celebrated Chilean drag queen Anna Balmanica.
“Dorian Corey was at the heart of the NYC ballroom / vogue scene in the early 80s. She was a role-model and matriarchal figure for a lot of queer POC youth. When she passed away, due to AIDS, they discovered a mummified body in her closet dating back to 15 years ago. The body was of an ex-con who was believed to be a controlling and abusive ex-lover, and she carried the body around with her from apartment to apartment over all those years.
“We wanted to tell a much softer and gentler story about a drag queen. One where drag culture has become fully normalized and accepted by society. Where people can feel safe and empowered leaving the house in the middle of the afternoon in drag and carrying out normal day-to-day tasks. Removing the idea around drag culture being exclusively for the night, and carried out in ballrooms, and clubs.”
Due for release on 10 May via Bella Union, Let Yourself Be Seen is the most assertive, ambitious, groove-sodden declaration of intent yet from Trevor, Jaclyn and Allie Blumas: the sound of dance floor believers and thinkers firing on all personal and political fronts, at a time when we need it most.
Even if DOOMSQUAD never lacked the courage of their convictions, Let Yourself Be Seen ups the stakes.On 2016’s Total Time, the trio issued invitations to free your mind, body and spirit over dirty bass-lines and hypnotic disco jams. And yet, their reliance on unspoken sibling intuition left them fearing that much of its “message and meaning” had gone unheard.Thus, the trio took a more forthright approach for their third album, aiming to“crystallise what DOOMSQUAD is and what it means to us. What we always knew but put at the forefront of this record is that DOOMSQUAD is a project of protest, catharsis and emotional and spiritual reconnection through music and, especially, through dance-music culture. It’s about activating the body on the most fundamental level, into states of change,release and reunion.”
Richly steeped in the influences of acid house, West African disco, spiritual jazz, NYC no-wave and new-age ambient music, Let Yourself Be Seen hums with a sense of vigorous, invigorating purpose. After the overture of ‘Spandrel’, ‘General Hum’ sends out a buoyant new-wave rallying cry for maximised engagement just when the world seems intent on stifling it. “Is there a place for spirit anymore?” it asks. Kicking in with a percussive bustle that all but defies you to try and stand still, ‘Aimless’ answers in the affirmative.
The result is an album for fraught political times, charged by the impetus to bring “music back to the body”. Close-to-home influences on that score include Tanya Tagaq and Peaches, both of whom DOOMSQUAD have toured with;further afield, Peter Gabriel, Diamanda Galás, Genesis P-Orridge and Underworld numbered among inspirations. Meanwhile, as the trio’s creative process took them from a lakeside cabin to a studio in Toronto, they benefited from the input of kindred spirits such as Ejji Smith, whose virtuoso guitar-shredding propels ‘Let It Go’. Israeli jazz composer Itamar Erez adds watery synths to‘Emma’, while a key studio collaborator was producer/artist Sandro Perri, whose credits include Barzin.
DOOMSQUAD’s second album “Let Yourself be Seen” is due for release on 10May via Bella Union. The band have confirmed UK live dates, including TheVictoria in London on 23 May.