Site & Sound: The Dø from VanLou Media on Vimeo.
Wearing black Wayfarer sunglasses and a grimace, Dan Levy hurried around The Bell House's performance space on a recent fall afternoon, dispensing commands in purposeful French and punctuating conversations with dramatic arm movements. Amid stacks of tour cases and an increasingly beleaguered road crew, Olivia Merilahti quietly blew on a cup of hot tea. Back in the green room after a prolonged sound check, Dan and Olivia, the D and O of the The Dø (pronounced "doe," as in Do-Re-Mi), teased each other about their differences in temperament. Levy, a fan of John Coltrane and Frank Zappa, professed his love for "the heat of the studio." Before he could finish his assessment of Merilahti's go-with-the-flow nature, she cut him off, saying, "I'm not a hippy!"
The Paris-based pop duo had come to The Bell House, located in the industrial Gowanus section of Brooklyn, on the second stop of a large-scale tour that would test their draw among North American audiences. Their debut album "A Mouthful" was released in Europe in 2008 and reached the top of the French charts in its first week, making The Dø the first French act ever to reach #1 with an English language album. "French music is too intellectual, not animalistic enough," Merilahti told Interview recently when asked about the group's decision to record in English.
As they performed before a rowdy crowd containing a large number of French expats that night, it was easy to see how they'd been drawn to the animalistic urges of American music. Levy's dense, hip-shaking compositions served as the perfect foil for Merilahti's emotional, often idiosyncratic, songwriting. This video includes a performance of "On My Shoulders," the lead single from "A Mouthful."