Since Sept. 11, a very tough spot

Pop Music

March 17, 2002|By Knight Ridder / Tribune

One thing New York-based dance-pop duo I Am the World Trade Center had considered recently: a name change.

For the past two years, vocalist Amy Dykes and multi-instrumentalist Dan Geller have been touring and recording under that name, attracting fans to the Austin, Texas, spring music festival, South by Southwest, in 2000 and 2001 solely on the uniqueness of it.

After Sept. 11, though, Geller says, the pair received a string of e-mails from people not associated with the group demanding they change the name. It didn't help matters that there's a song on the band's debut CD, Out of the Loop, recorded before the tragedy, called "September." On top of that, the song is track 11.

After lying low for the past several months, the couple (and they really are a couple) decided to keep the name. They're now finishing up their second record for hip indie label Kindercore called "The Tight Connection." Their show at South by Southwest this past week was their first since the Sept. 11 attacks.

"We're very attached to the name, that's why we didn't change it," Geller says. "It has special meaning to us. I thought of it after thinking I wanted a name with a location in it, and me and Amy could see the World Trade Center from my place in Brooklyn. And in a way, the Trade Center represented us -- the two of us trying to do one thing together."

That one thing is playing upbeat but exquisitely crafted dance music that's similar to the trip-hop designs of St. Etienne, the Cardigans and Portishead.

"It's all about dancing and partying and having a good time," Geller says. "Once people hear this band, they'll realize we don't mean any ill will. At this point, getting rid of the name would be more insulting than keeping it."

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