Preparations are underway for Dirty/Clean’s show at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. Joshua Egeland, who makes up one half of the duo (drummer Jay Madewell is the other half) will be performing at the Boonshoft in little over 24 hours from when I meet with him at Ghostlight Coffee. The special event will be in the museum’s Science on a Sphere room, and will incorporate a choreographed light show featuring digital projection synced to the live music.
Egeland was running a little late to our meeting at the coffee house, but he had a good excuse: throughout the morning, he had been assisting local photographer Jennifer Clarke at the show’s location. The two wanted to get a sense of how the lighting in the room, along with the multiple projections, would come into play when snapping shots of the performance. The lighting situation in particular was going to be a little tricky, due to the darkness of the space. Just a few days prior, Egeland received more exciting news entailing the event: documentary filmmaker Steve Bognar would be coming and shooting some video during the performance. Bognar, an Academy Award nominee, is well known for his work on 2009’s The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant—the stunning and powerful look into the collapse of the GM factory in Moraine. To say that the chronicling of this upcoming show will be a special event would be an understatement.
A couple of years ago, Egeland met Madewell at a party and began exchanging their thoughts on music—planting seeds for a possible collaboration. At what was then Canal Street Tavern, during a Duran Duran tribute show, Egeland and Madewell officially made their debut as Dirty/Clean. The original lineup of Dirty/Clean featured six people, including Alessandro Cortez, Tim Flanagan, Al Holbrook, and Jason Weber; over the following year, the band slimmed down to just Madewell and Egeland—with the other bandmates venturing into separate projects (Cortez joined A Shade of Red; Flanagan formed Curious Animals; Weber moved to Michigan to work for Psychopathic Records; and Holbrook continued to front his own band). The lineup changes allowed Madewell and Egeland to explore the possibilities of being a two man group.
The duo shared similar interests for music of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. This passion for vintage music sparked Dirty/Clean’s interest in showcasing some of their favorite tracks: one such project emerged in 2012 as the weekly “Thank God It’s Thursday” at One Eyed Jacks in Fairborn. Egeland would spin retro tunes from a range of genres, while Madewell drummed to the beat of the songs throughout the evening. Go-go dancing and a light show would also accompany the event. Such under-appreciated endeavors were short lived; however, the pleasure of working side by side propelled Egeland and Madewell to begin writing their own music.
Dirty/Clean released their first album digitally in May, with a vinyl pressing slated for later in 2014. The album, titled Welt Am Draht (German translation: World on a Wire) was inspired by Egeland’s deep appreciation for the German film director Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s sci-fi masterpiece of the same name. Dirty/Clean recorded Welt Am Draht between August and September of last year at BHA studios, in downtown Dayton. Egeland brought his original compositions to early rehearsals, and Madewell fleshed them out with percussion styles and sequences that Egeland says he would never thought of incorporating. The end result is an album that features dazzling new wave synth rock, alongside Egeland’s signature eerie, trembling vocals. There is a mix of Madewell’s masterful drum play that is part hollow and part homage to disco, adding to the atmospheric tone which defines the album. “It’s pulling from some of the Brian Eno/David Bowie stuff from the late 70s,” Egeland added. Welt Am Draht is unique and it stands out on its own.