Asbury Park surf rock/pop band Dentist “combines the freedom of the beach atmosphere and urgency of the city into a fuzzed out, surf punk-tinged brand…with hooks and infectious melodies to spare.” Made up of Emily Bornemann on vocals and bass, Justin Bornemann on guitar, and Matt Hockenjos on drums, Dentist released their latest album, Night Swimming, via Cleopatra records and are currently on tour promoting their record across the US. Between shows at Tree Fort Fest, Dentist took the time to answer some of our questions about their latest record and going to the actual dentist.
You are all from Asbury Park; what’s the music scene there like?
We have lots of bands and lots of venues, but it still feels like you know everyone. Everyone is supportive of each other, and we’ve made a lot of friends from playing music.
That’s great! What are your favorite venues to play in Asbury Park?
Asbury Park Yacht Club, and The Saint.
How did you all come together and meet?
Emily and I (Justin) have known each other since 2008. We actually met at a Friday’s restaurant (our favorite punk venue). We started Dentist as a serious thing around 2013. We’ve gone through various lineups, but have been a three-piece since 2017. Matt was someone we knew a little and I randomly got into a conversation with him one night at a bar, and he started playing drums with us.
How’d you come up with the band name Dentist?
The name Dentist has no significance aside from the fact we thought it was funny. When we originally started the band, we weren’t taking it too seriously and didn’t consider Google or anything. Now that we take it seriously, we have to deal with it.
Haha, damn, Google! Hopefully people realize you just have to add “band” to the end of the search. Do you all like going to the actual dentist? Had braces before?
No, I don’t think so. Braces, yes.
If you could meet any musician (dead or alive) who would it be and what would you ask them?
EB: Isaac Brock. “How’d it feel to become successful in the mainstream after years in the underground?”
MH: Jeff Buckley. “Did you foresee your death?”
JB: Billy Joe Armstrong. “Can you tell me some stories about the “Kerplunk Tour?”
What are some of your favorite band activities when you have free time on tour?
Hacky-sack and Frisbee.
Love hacking that sack. What do you all travel in on the road?
We travel in a Honda Odyssey. It’s like going to a soccer game every day.
The suburban dream! If your band could have a lifetime supply of any snack food, what would it be and why?
EB: Mashed Potatoes
You just released your third album, Night Swimming. Is there a theme to the record or a vibe you were going for when writing this record?
Night Swimming is about the two different sides to the band. We try and write catchy surf punk songs, but our lyrics are usually dark or filled with melancholy. Not all the time, but often. We also get heavier and aggressive sometimes, too. We wanted to do an album that shows all of our sides. When you think of swimming, it usually brings an image of fun in the sun etc., but we aren’t just that; we have a darker side too. Hence, Night Swimming. One of the overall themes on the album is social anxiety.
If you could open for any band (past or present) who would it be?
There are a lot of bands we’d love to open for. Modest Mouse, Alvvays, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Wavves.
Any other news you’d like to share with the readers?
We are currently on our SXSW/Treefort Festival tour. We just released a new video for our song “Alone in the Garden.” Check it out! Also, there are just a few copies of our album Night Swimming available on our Bandcamp page.
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, Dentist!
Check out their latest video for “Alone in the Garden,” visit them on tour, but most importantly, grab their latest record “Night Swimming” via Cleopatra Records below: