An Interview with Dengue Fever.

Dengue Fever’s new album, “Cannibal Courtship,” comes out today, April 19, 2011. The band’s Ethan Holtzman recently stopped by to talk about the release.

Q – Real quick, how did the name Dengue Fever come about?

A - I first heard the music in the late ‘90s. I was riding in the back of a pick up truck from Siam Reap, where Angkor Watt is located, to Phnom Penh. It was a long dirt road and all of the bridges had been blown up from war. I sat scrunched up in a little ball with thirty something villagers, some of them holding their carsick babies, others grasping on to their rooster in this rusty old truck with bald tires. The driver drove fast. My friend was up front sick with Dengue Fever. Every time I poked my head in to see how he felt, I caught sound of the driver’s cassette tape that was looped for the eight- hour drive to the capital. The sounds were amazing and I asked him to write down the artists so I could purchase some of them from the local market.

Q – For those unfamiliar with your music, what can people expect from a live show or album?

A - They can expect to get goose bumps from Chhom Nimol’s voice. They might get a little sweaty and slip into a trance because our sounds and vibrations have been known to be mind altering.

Q – The new album, “Cannibal Courtship,” comes out today. This is the band’s fifth studio release. How is this album different than previous ones?

A – “Cannibal Courtship” has a lot more English. We collaborated with the Living Sisters so our backing vocals are much richer. Generally, we took our time on this album - made the record that we wanted to make.

Q – Which song(s) do you like playing live the best and why?

A - I enjoy playing “Only A Friend” because it has so many different parts for the keys and horns. It’s a fun song to perform that has an “Afro-Beatles” kind of flavor.

Q – With the musical landscape filled with pop music and progressive metal, how does Dengue Fever go about finding their niche in the industry?

A - We make fans by being on the road and by getting on film soundtracks. Little by little we steadily reach more and more people and take it to a higher level.

Q – Aside from merchandise, what do you want fans to take with them after leaving a Dengue Fever show? Is there a message with your music?

A - There is a message behind our music. We are a band that started off influenced by a body of work created by Cambodian musicians in the ‘60s. These musicians/singers were killed for playing music by the Khmer Rouge. We try to shine a light on this and make sure nothing like this will ever happen again.

Q – Thanks for taking the time. Is there anything you wanted to add?

A - I think no matter how large or small of an audience you have, there is power in doing something good for mankind or our planet. We try to do what we can by working with Wildlife Alliance to stop animal poaching in SE Asia. We also work closely with Cambodian Living Arts to help preserve the traditions of song and dance unique to Cambodia. We all can make a difference if we try.


Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Email Jason at
Share |



'Like' Us on Facebook:

Zoiks Online on Facebook

Kevin Smith Pimps Zoiks!: