The Dare Is Picking Up Where Dance Punk Left Off
Photo: Kiernan “Knives” Francis
If you haven't heard of The Dare by now, where the hell have you been? Harrison Patrick Smith is the multi-instrumentalist brainchild of the rapidly-growing project. The NYC-based artist has gone through a metamorphosis that can only be described as transcendental, having gone from a raging indie rocker to a dance-inducing, genre-blending force of nature. Here's what we know to catch you up on this need-to-know artist.
While studying English Literature at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, Smith first made his mark with the indie rock project Turtlenecked. In August 2016, the project released its debut album Pure Plush Bone Cage LP, with twelve tracks that span a variety of raging and solipsistic emotions and sonics. Notable efforts at this point were songs like "Mondrian" and "I Always Suspected I Was Watching Television," which foreshadowed Smith's intuitive musicality and knack for writing witty and engaging lyrics. In 2017, Turtlenecked released their sophomore album Vulture, which Pitchfork described as "often charming, but the navel-gazing can just as easily turn insufferable." I don't know. I mean, I think it's rad, but maybe I just don't have taste. I'm not gonna stay up at night thinking about it.
Shortly after Vulture, in April 2018, they released High Scores of the Heart. The eight-track body of work landed him a mention in NPR Illinois' "Songs We Love" feature. The rest of the year was spent releasing music centered around their EP Springtime in Hell and eventually making a pivotal move to New York City. In 2020, we saw the last of Turtlenecked, for now anyway, with the release of the high-octane Kapow! The album is a stylish and energetic collection of work with talk vocals, pulsing basses, and fuzzed-out guitar solos akin to LCD Soundsystem, with tracks like "She's an Artist" and "Flirtation" becoming some personal favorites. Finally, Smith ended the year with the release of his last EP Cherish, which continues to show off Smith's passion and growing skills as a songwriter and a producer, packing the punch of an LP in just twenty minutes.
Fast forward to August 2022—The Dare was born. Although under a new name and with more pop-oriented sensibilities, Smith's intoxicating sonics and vigor remained a staple of his debut single, "Girls." The track is dance-punk at its finest, bringing to the forefront a cocky, anthemic blend of pop, house, and techno that captures the chaos of a night out in NYC. The accompanying music video is an equally nostalgic visual that updates the hectic, dizzying atmosphere of New York's bloghouse heyday with all the queer, fashionable vibes that reflect the city's current party landscape.
"Jake Lazovick (Powered by Wind) shot the video at Home Sweet Home, where I DJ weekly, in order to capture a real downtown NYC party," The Dare says of the music video to Paper. "We invited all of our friends and told them to go crazy while I DJ'd and ran around. A lot of the people in it are fellow musicians or collaborators, and some of them are girls." This iteration of Smith is here to stay and has been welcome with open arms. The barely two-minute, dance-inducing single has garnered close to a million Spotify streams at the time of this article and is only a taste of what's to come from this radar-worthy artist.