Forming in 2008, British electropunk mash-up TEETH is a synth-heavy dance trio that creates notable tunes soothing in spirit but exploding with spunky beats. With the humble beginnings of making music on a laptop and an electronic drum kit, the edgy trio recently drew acclaim in underground circles with the release of its debut LP Whatever, landing fans at Pitchfork and singles (“Flowers” and “See Spaces”) on heavy rotation in online radio. Building a global following by playing warehouses and nightclubs, TEETH drives naysayers to the dance floor with untried sets mixing arcade bites and distorted fuzz with the riot-grrrl vocals of Veronica So. Music bloggers draw similarities with TEETH and art house DIY bands such as Born Gold. Media outlet Dazed and Confused called TEETH “artier than Crystal Castles and more epic than Battles.” Fittingly so, Teeth’s low-budget art house video Care Bear blends punk and vintage fashion, obscuring gender roles to allow equal opportunity in the arena of dress-up. Dance fans seeking to grind their teeth on hooky digital beats may rest assured: TEETH provides catchy dance music not just sweet, but filling.
Lead singer Veronica So took a few minutes to speak with This Week in Sarasota.
TWIS: As evidenced by your videos, you seem to be a British fan of all things random. What are your thoughts on The Spice Girls reunion?
Veronica So: (laughs) Right! They got together for the Olympics. I was in the sixth grade when The Spice Girls were cool. I used to go to an all-Chinese private school. I remember someone telling me that the Spice Girls were evil and I shouldn’t listen to that “devil music.” So I always considered them a guilty pleasure. I remember acting out songs with friends. I was always Sporty Spice. So if the band is back, that’s great, but I try not to get my hopes up about these things.
Veronica: It kind of started off as a joke. I basically met laptop Simon in a coatroom in a gay bar called The Ghetto. It’s a really famous fashion haven. We started making experimental music in a basement. We put out a message on MySpace for a drummer. Drummer Simon got in touch. We were just three really oddly-matched people getting together to make music every weekend.
TWIS: Tell us a little about the sound. There’s an arcade-like quality to many of the tunes. Does gaming have an influence on the band?
Veronica: I am really into making music that sounds like a video game soundtrack. I would like my music to be in video games. Simon used to sample a lot of sounds from the 8-bit era. It shows in the songs.
TWIS: The band has a growing reputation for playing left-of-center venues. What’s the most random gig you’ve played?
Veronica: We went on a short West Coast tour and stopped by this valley called Wolf Creek and visited a fairy commune. The fairies live in the forest and make art. We had a concert in the summer barn surrounded by all these hermit fairy people. It was awesome.
TWIS: Is there a difference between British and American crowds?
Veronica: In America, the crowd is more willing to come up after the show and talk to you. In England, people are more hesitant unless they don’t like the music.
TWIS: The LP Whatever seems to lean more toward the dance floor than the mosh pits. Was that that plan during the recording?
Veronica: Yes. We like to create a subversive edge to pop music. I don’t think any of us are very punk. We are all big dorks and nerds who happen to be really rough around the edges. I think the punk thing has to do with the live show. Some crowds have massive moshing capabilities.
TWIS: There’s word of early 2013 sophomore release. What can we expect?
Veronica: It’s going to be more dance-driven. We are going to try to make it more catchy and polished. We are collaborating with Kerry from Tamion 12 Inch. That band has been a huge inspiration on us. All in all, we just hope to make people dance.
Listen: “Flowers” by TEETH
Go: Ringling Underground at the Ringling Museum
TEETH with The Send Offs and BWEDGE
Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012
8 – 11 p.m.
Free for students with I.D., $10.oo for adults