The way Damn the Witch Siren chanteuse Bobbi Kitten tells it, her meeting with now-bandmate Z Wolf some four years ago was fated to happen. And given its inevitability, the brassy singer and multi-instrumentalist felt little compunction about offering fate a helping hand.
“We were in different bands, and I wanted to steal him away,” says Kitten with a laugh. “I was really impressed with his songwriting, and I was in a band with a bunch of dudes who were kind of misogynistic. So I kind of sabotaged the band he was in.
“But we ended up having a really strong connection. When we started making music together, we were inspired by each other. And we’ve been working off that inspiration ever since.”
That inspiration is palpable, inasmuch as the duo have released one EP and three full-length albums in the short years since, with the latest being 2018’s “Red Magic.” Across those four releases, DTWS’s stock in trade has been electro-pop — infectiously danceable electro-pop, rendered with skill an verve, and distinguished by Kitten’s sexy, sinuous vocal and considerable performance chops.
But unlike many of their like-minded peers, who tend to concentrate on a narrow field of electronic endeavor, DTWS are unafraid to mine the increasingly vast territory that comprises electro-pop and EDM. Listening to one of their albums is almost like listening to a sampler platter of tech-savvy dance music from across the decades — hints of Missing Persons mixed with Depeche Mode mingling with the Cocteau Twins from the 1980s, echoes of Divinyls and Dee-lite from the 1990s, the whole of it shadowed by modern DJ-driven EDM influences and flavored with post-millennial rock courtesy of Karen O and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
It all makes for fun, free-wheeling musical sprawl. But Wolf and Kitten say that, having been together four years now, they’re beginning to hone DWTS to a finer point. “This most recent record is our most cohesive,” Wolf says. “I think we’ve finally found our sound. This record turned out just like we wanted it to, as a dark, dance-y, sexy club record.”
“Our early music had a very heavy-bass-centric sound,” Kitten says. “Our focus now is just to write the most energetic music that we can. At the same time, this is also some of our darkest music; it’s grittier than anything we’ve done before.”
Live, DTWS are unlike conventional rock bands in that they rely more on electronics than on live instrumentation. Both Wolf and Kitten are burdened with multiple responsibilities — drum machines, synths, keyboards — when they’re onstage, in their efforts to faithfully reproduce DTWS’s dense recordings in concert.
Ordinarily, none of that bodes well for creating a kinetic live performance. But Wolf says over the course of their time together, he and Kitten have learned to adapt their methods and their set-up to make for live shows that are as galvanizing as their albums.
“It’s different from most electronic bands,” he says. “It feels more like you’re watching a rock band play, as opposed to a DJ. We’re very busy, but it’s still chaotic and rowdy and exciting.”
“I like to do a lot when I’m on stage,” Kitten says. “But there have been times in the past where that meant I couldn’t connect with the audience as much as I wanted. (Wolf) stripped things down so I could connect more, so I could actually go out into the audience when I want to.”
Damn the Witch Siren will play Preservation Pub Friday, Feb. 23 at 10 p.m.