After seeing Monarchy perform at Coachella in 2011 Dita Von Teese started tweeting about them. The first one was “Currently listening to Monarchy and Cut Copy. What music are you listening to that doesn't suck?”. They began emailing. Dita described herself as a “super-fan”, and she invited Monarchy to DJ at one of her private events in London in October 2011. They chatted for an hour.
It's late December 2011 and Dita invites Andrew from Monarchy to spend five days over Christmas with her and her friends, staying at her flat in Paris. Less than 24 hours later, Andrew is stepping off a plane in Charles De Gaulle airport. These invitations don't come every year.
The days consisted of private tours of Musee D'Orsay, dinner up the Eiffel Tower, the circus, Crazy Horse, and Christmas day with the likes of Diane Pernet, Ali Mahdavi, Mr Pearl, Catherine Baba and Eric Szmanda along with various other designers, artists and a dominatrix. It was during those Christmas days that the idea was hatched for Dita to feature on a Monarchy single. It would be the first time she has provided vocals on a release.
Returning to London, Andrew and Ra wrote a track for Dita called ‘Disintegration’. It’s a song about losing the self in a moment, in a love affair, in a partner, drawing from a metaphor of “le petit mort”, that post sex moment where the mind goes blank, as a symbol of the larger loss of self in a relationship. The track meshes jazz influenced melodies in Dita's breathy Marilyn Monroe-esq delivery with hard electronic production, and Ra's soaring vocals for the chorus response - and a “church of synthesizer” breakdown. Energetic, experimental in parts, and emotional, it is both classic and current.
The video is shot by Roy Raz, who previously directed Monarchy's “I Won't Let Go” video, and features Dita extensively as the classic 1950's housewife escaping the monotony of her marriage through sexual fantasy. The voice over introduction is provided by Eric Szmanda, who initially introduced Dita to Monarchy's music, and is one of the lead characters from CSI. The photos are taken by Ali Mahdavi, the former creative director at Crazy Horse, and an exceptional fashion and portrait photographer. Here is a song and collaboration born out of creativity and mutual adoration. Dita Von Teese playing the perfect muse and femme fatale to Monarchy, a love triangle with no resolve.
DITA VON TEESE:
Born Heather Sweet in West Branch, Michigan, Dita Von Teese grew up fascinated by the Golden Age of Cinema, pin-up imagery, and vintage lingerie. This mid-western girl then transformed herself into a glamour girl like those she admired. Performing striptease since 1992, she is the biggest name in burlesque since Gypsy Rose Lee and is credited with bringing the art form back in to the spotlight with a new sense of elegance and sophistication.
Taking audiences on a journey into fantasy and spectacle, Dita is renowned for her ornate sets and dazzling haute-couture performance costumes adorned with hundreds of thousands of Swarovski crystals. This “Burlesque Superheroine” (Vanity Fair) is the performer of choice at high profile events including those for designers such as Marc Jacobs, Christian Louboutin, Louis Vuitton, Chopard, and Cartier, and was the first guest star in history at Paris’ famed Crazy Horse (established in 1951) where she has performed several sold-out runs. In 2011, Dita brought burlesque to prime time television in the States when she appeared as a guest star on CSI and performed her classic Martini Glass show in an episode billed as “too hot to handle.”
Monarchy were launched in September 2009, with one song and one image on a blank myspace page. Less than 24 hours later they were on all the major blogs. They went on to release on Neon Gold records, appeared on Kitsune, remixing the likes of Kelis, Kylie, OMD, Jamiroquai, Ellie Goulding, Lady Gaga amongst many others.
Their first performance was in Cape Canaveral, beamed live into space, making them the first band ever to broadcast a live performance into space. Gigs at Melt Festival, Bestival, Big Chill, LoveBox, Coachella, Folsom Street Fair, sold out shows in LA, San Francisco, Madrid, Barcelona, London, Paris, New York and right across Europe and the US followed.
Their debut album “Around the Sun” was critically acclaimed. Their singles were accompanied by superb videos and remixes from the likes of Azari and III, Michael Woods, Benni Benassi, and Bag Raiders. A firm favourite on blogs, Monarchy have consistently topped the HypeMachine “Most Popular” artist charts.
Now they are returning with this single featuring Dita Von Teese, and album number two close behind.