Dove Armitage started her music career started unlike most – by playing video games. Bouncing between the console and her grandma’s electric piano, Dove would try to play the video game melodies, stopping only when she figured out exactly how they came out on the piano. These video game theme songs still hold a place in her music, a deeply embedded nostalgia.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Dove, and with the recent release of her new EP Concernless, I wanted to know more about the artists that influence her music and live in her sound. Bjork and Atoms for Peace were the first artists that came to mind, with an obvious connection to her stewing, pensive sound. What felt more obvious, though, with the threads of electropop weaved into her songs, was the reference to SOPHIE and Arca as major influences in her music.
Deeper than just sound alone, Dove is also inspired by SOPHIE’s approach to production. She cited an interview with SOPHIE about visualizing a song, saying “imagine a grand piano on the side of a mountain – what does that look like?” Dove comes up with an example on the fly, explaining that she might first imagine an ethereal forest where everything is miniature except the leaves. This would ultimately become the mental image for a new song. She calls this “world building” – which reminds her of those early days playing video games.
With her new EP comes an even deeper, more matured style, that Dove calls “shadowy avant-pop glitch rock” in her Instagram bio. But rather than focus too much on labels, she yearns to evoke emotion in the listener. A hard lesson for artists, she says that “once you give birth to your music it’s not your responsibility how the listener interprets it.” Even with this in mind, she hopes that others relate to her music, and ultimately understand her as a person – to “stir an emotion in them and make them think of something.”
I selfishly asked Dove about my favorite song on the EP, which is “Brittle,” and she explained to me the mental image, the “world building,” that came to be this song. “It’s a neighborhood, but no one lives there anymore,” she starts, explaining that it’s transient, with a cul-de-sac in the middle of a sea of uniform houses. “Brittle” was the first song she made with producer Liam Hall, and she reveals that at the start of this first production cycle they asked each other “what would happen if we didn’t limit ourselves?” The song, just as the ones that would follow, came out of a process of Dove and Hall “flipping [the song] back on its head” again and again.
Her visuals, namely for “Sex on Display,” are equally thoughtful and “concernless.” Dove notes that the visuals and music go hand in hand, even before the creation of any music videos, because of her “world building.” For this video, she imagined a crow collecting little shiny things, making a “conglomerate of treasures.” Her writing style, like her creative process for visual creation, is like a stream of consciousness – she’s constantly writing. Ultimately, she wants to “fit the words and build a story around the sonic feeling.”
Concernless is a sexy and pensive collection of songs – you could play it at your next party or listen to it alone in the car. Just like Dove, her music is versatile. Be sure to listen to the EP, you won’t regret it. And, as always, tune into VandyRadio for all things recent in music.