By Features Editor: Jenn McNaughton
When you hear the name DENTATA, no matter what gruesome images of toothy womanly reproductive areas come into your mind, put them aside; the girls of DENTATA are recreating this powerful figure into a metal, hardcore band making even the weirdest creature seem minuscule. The band consists of 2 talented girls: Dana and Tamsen. They’re all about having a good time and putting on theatrics. Creating more and more buzz in the city, DENTATA’s unique vibe is soon to be all the rage. We chatted about the band and their take on the scene in Toronto.
J: Jenn | T: Tamsen | D: Dentata
J How long has the band been together and when/how you guys first form?
T We formed about 2 years ago – During the summer, Dana and I started jamming with some girls, who didn’t end up staying with the band, but that’s where we started out. Dana and I were also friends before that knew we wanted to start our own girls band. Before, playing in bands was always sort of a “sausage fest”.
J Are you currently signed to any labels?
T We work a lot with Blue Fog, a local label in the city. They are really laidback and don’t require us to officially sign any contracts. They prefer to sincerely help bands starting out and try to promote them. Being based in the city has its advantages; there is more opportunity for shows, and networking such as blogging, small magazines, and Facebook.
J Where did the name DENTATA come from?
D The word Dentata actually originated from a Greek
mythological creature; a vagina with teeth.
J Is the band very close? What do you guys like to do when you aren’t playing?
T We are very close and we believe it’s important to have a friendship between band mates; it’s kind of like a relationship! We like to party, hangout, and drink together.
J Describe one of DENTATA’s shows – visually, and musically.
T The music is very loud and rockin’. At our shows we are very theatrical by using props, lots of fake blood, and just about anything we can get our hands on; it’s different every time. One time we had a giant upright coffin onstage with us, covered in black velvet with a lace vagina sewn over top. During our song, about giving birth to the anti-christ, we had Satan crawl out from the vagina and dance onstage with us.
J Where do you play most of your shows? Favourite venues?
T The majority of our shows are played in Toronto; we’ve only played one out of town that was in London, and the scene/vibe just wasn’t the same. We love playing in Toronto at parties, especially after parties. We played one last year at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) after the Fubar premiere. We like to pick venues which are featuring other bands similar to our style, so we sort of match. We play at many locations across the city; we try to be different and find unique bars and venues.
J Is hardcore and metal music becoming more or less popular do you think?
T I think it’s really “in” right now, whether it’s in music or in fashion. Everything is generally becoming more hardcore; you see studs on everything now a day as if it’s no big deal. Metal music has been around for a long time now but recently has picked up.
J Musical/Non-musical Influences?
T Black Sabbath is a huge influence on the band and myself. Personally, I love all kinds of music: 70’s, 80’s metal, rock and roll, and 90’s grunge.
J What does DENTATA hope their fans get out of their music?
T Loving the music is the most important. Not only do we want them to have a good time at the shows, but to actually like the songs. We’ve developed a great fan base and see familiar faces out here all the time!
J Local artists you love?
T Annagram – we’ve played a few shows with them and they are an amazing band. Also, Blood Ceremony! We were supposed to do a show with them but it fell through. We would love to play with them and they are doing really well for themselves in the city. The Gen Nuns and Black Absynthe are also based outta toronto and they RULE!
J Has DENTATA’s style evolved at all?
T When we first started out we wore our own clothes just as is, and now we still wear our own clothes but try to make them as dramatic and amped up as possible. We’re a lot more rockin’ now and upbeat with our music, whereas before we used to play slower songs. The two kind of go hand in hand.
J What kind of outfits do you wear on stage?
T We dress to kill.
J In the future you hope to be…
T TOURING! We want to tour so bad but have to wait until our album comes out, so that we have something to sell. We’re not sure when it will come out but we’re hoping before 2012.
If you’re looking for a good time be sure to check out these sexy, hardcore, and extremely talented ladies and support local music in Toronto. DENTATA is playing in a few weeks at the POP Montreal festival for musicians and artists, and check out their myspace page for tour dates and new releases!
Dana in an Emily Woudenberg piece
Sissi: How did you get started in fashion design while you are attending school for graphic design at the York/Sheridan Joint Program in Design?
Emily: I went to Cawthra Park Secondary School, it was a high school in Mississauga that had an Arts program. There I met with another designer, Anastasiya, and we had been making videos and putting fashion shows together. It was nothing expensive, very sort of low end fashion shows, the high school ones. It was in the gym with the lights down and risers at the end. Then we graduated and we thought, what now? So then we just continued with it. Anastasiya’s at Ryerson University now for the Fashion Design program.
Sissi: So, did you always have an interest in fashion? Since you started in high school, was fashion something you wanted to pursue as a little girl?
Emily: Well I didn’t really fit into the fashion scene in high school, well the people that were the ‘fashion kind’. I wasn’t really into that, I was kind of tomboy-ish. I’m still tomboyish but I guess with a fashion edge. I guess I kind of just got thrown into it. It’s very addicting to do the shows, you know, making the pieces and then showing the pieces. I like the amount of work that goes into it, from sketching, then actually designing it, then starting to look at how you actually end up manufacturing, and then how that works. It’s interesting, like there’s so many levels.
Sissi: So you enjoy both the artistic and creative side of fashion as well as the business side?
Emily: I think so. I’m just dabbling, I’m just treading water right now, trying not to sink. I don’t really think I’m adept at business yet but I want to learn it. I think it’s interesting because really good fashion brands integrate the business into their art form. I’m interested in the creative form of business.
Sissi: So how did you learn to make clothes? Is everything self taught?
Emily: I improved..like when I first started back in grade 10-11, I was just throwing fabric together. I would take shorts I already had and just trace them, but hemming and all of that I had no idea what I was doing. Then I got into just measuring and creating shapes, so it was more like puzzle pieces for the body. Then I got one of those judy/mannequins, he adjustable and they’re so helpful. Now I use blocks and draping.
Sissi: Did you receive help from Anastasiya, since she went to Ryerson?
Emily: She doesn’t live here, I do most of my sewing at home so to get access to her all the time and for her to show me do thing wasn’t really an option. I will do a lot of googling if there’s any big issues. There’s always little thing I have to figure out. It’s nice when you’re at school because they show you all the professional ways to do things. In my case, it’s like all the rules are thrown out of the window and I’m just going to try and survive.
Sissi: Your pieces look really well made and professional!
Emily: I am a sticker. I really like to hold myself to professional standard. That’s pretty much the whole thing, if I don’t see a piece being professional, then I don’t use it. So there’s a lot of commercial comments. I like to make clothes for other people, I’m always envisioning other people wearing my clothes. If there are more runway pieces, I’ll just use them for the runway, I won’t even show them in the look book. But that’s my own personal vision for runway, if I don’t see other people wearing it.
Sissi: What is the purpose for your designs? Is it more of a self expression, that says something about yourself, or the other side of design that allows people to experiment with their appearance?
Emily: I’m definitely playing with images. Not so much in the last collection. I’m still learning how to sew and still learning how to express myself with clothes. If you’re not adept in doing it, then it’s really hard to express what you’re trying to say in the first go. So i’m just keep trying, trying and trying to make clothes that ‘feel good.’ Getting to that point is a slow process, I’m hoping that every collection I just get closer and closer to the ultimate ‘Emily’ collection.
Sissi: So right now you are just experimenting with your designs?
Emily: Yes, like my last collection is totally different from the one that’s coming out for Spring/Summer. My last collection was called PENROSE and this one is going to be called BUFF. So even the names are totally off. It’s more androgynous, more casual wear and a lot of jersey….it’s more street. We’ll see what people think when it comes out, it’s got a lot of interesting little elements to it.
Sissi: Is that going to be something you will be working on once school starts?
Emily: I worked ahead so I wouldn’t have to do it during school. I’m way ahead.
Sissi: How do you manage your time so well?
Emily: I wasn’t sure if I was going to go back to York this year, so I didn’t work I just interned. I was interning two days a week and then I have the rest of the week to sort of do my own thing (which was super beneficial). I have a client base now of people who I’m kind of creating work with and also I have a solid thing going on and I know where I’m going with it, which is really nice.
Sissi: So are you just working solo right now, or do you have a team that you work with?
Emily: I’m not just doing clothes, I’m also doing the photo shoot and the videos, so I’m always working with a team of at least 5 people with that kind of stuff. But I am designing myself, and the sewing.
Sissi: Are there any designers or celebrities you keep up with in terms of style?
Emily: With designers, I’m very eclectic. I will be going through style.com and have pictures all over my wall that I printed, and in my phone and my sketchbook. I’m really picking and choosing little things from all kinds of designers, like i’m talking graphic designers, jewelry designers, industrial designers, random photography stuff like videos.. so I wouldn’t say it’s one designer. I mean, I really like the Canadian design scene so I’m really like political based, I look at other designers for inspiration. It really builds my visual library.
Sissi: Are there any ways you deal with the comments you get from the public and media about your work?
Emily: I’ve got videos of myself as a child sitting there making beads. Like it’s not like I just decided one day I”m gonna do design. I’m never going to stop, it’s just something i have to do. I would like to take a break, but i’ll probably only take a week.. until I start wanting to make things. Everyone has taste and different ideas about what fashion should and could be. The FAT community sort of has its own crowd and audience, and are very accepting. But the LG sort of higher up crowd can definitely have their own opinions about what should and should not be. Sometimes I’ve had a few publicists not like me. It’s kind of like, you know what? This is who I am.. you can’t dedicate your whole personality to design. Like just because you are a designer, it doesn’t mean you need to like certain things…
Sissi: How would you describe your style?
Emily: I would think it’s street-city, androgynous, uni-sex. Minimal, kind of, not always. It’ll probably change so I’m not committing too much yet. I’m not old enough to have one style…
Sissi: Do you adopt any sustainability into your designs?
Emily: I do definitely look at how much fabric I am using for my designs, I do not use any eco fabrics as of right now, just based on cost. They are so expensive, it would double the cost to my collection. Right now with tuition, not an option. I buy most of my fabrics on Queen St. I’m only making each piece for the runway, I very rarely make to sell to the stores. If they order it, then I’ll make it. I’m not really doing a whole lot of mass production, and if i do, I just do it ‘in house’ in my basement. That just keeps cost low and pay tuition, and then get out of school and move on with my life kind of thing. If i do manufacture, I’ll probably order eco fabrics because it just feels so much nicer.
Sissi: What are you next goals?
Emily: I want to start making my jewelry art more a business.. and take it more seriously. Then I would like to start developing the women’s wear towards it. I want to start selling my pieces at a bigger scale. I’m planning to email or contract to stores but for now, you can buy my jewelry online.