Interview: The Know thrive in isolation, put Dancing Man front in center of new video

The Know

I’m a narcissist, so naturally I have Google Alerts set for my name. A few weeks ago, I got a notification that my name came up in a feature on LA-based shoegazey indie pop husband-wife duo The Know. A few years ago, I had written a feature on LA staple Howard Mordoh, who many people know as “Dancing Man” or “LA Rocker” — you see him all over town with his long gray hair and spinning dance moves, it’s impossible to miss him.

The Know’s Jennifer Farmer had seen Mordoh dancing at fellow LA band Kitten’s show at The Roxy — which her husband Daniel Knowles was working the sound for. She tracked down his information through my LA Weekly story on him and got in touch with him to be in their music video for their song “Someday Maybe”. After seeing it for myself, I went into a wormhole of listening to their music, found it was totally in my wheelhouse (Beach House meets ’60s doo-wop) and I had to reach out.

We are obviously in a crazy time, but you could say The Know is used to isolation. In fact, the band was born out of it somewhat. Instead of going home to their respective families one holiday season, they stayed in Los Angeles and made music with each other. If you’ve ever spent the holidays in Los Angeles, it’s not completely unlike how it is in quarantine times.

For “Someday Maybe”, Farmer reached out to Mordoh to be in the video, thinking he had been in music videos before. Oddly, this was the first one.

“The plot of the video was he was showing up at a party looking for a love interest or something and they weren’t there so he was like, ‘Fuck it, I’m just gonna dance,’ Farmer told me over a Zoom call. “And everyone else is like, who is this guy and they’re like he’s awesome and they join in.”

Farmer told me that when she got in touch with Howard, they were on the phone for an hour and he was super excited about being in a music video for the first time. Anyone who has ever interacted with Howard knows he is an interesting character, and it comes through in the video.

“We did it at the end of February, and it was done and edited pretty quickly. I directed the videos and the guy who shoots them sent me a rough edit and then I put it together the way I wanted it.”

Farmer had never been a singer before — she came to LA for acting actually and recalls how she had fear when it came to singing.

“It was something I always wanted to do but never had the courage to do,” Farmer told me. “They made us sing in acting school and I would literally cry every time. I would have panic attacks, so I never did it. Then I worked in the music industry and worked with artists. And it just kind of turned into this thing. It just sort of happened. And I love dream pop and Dan has a shoegaze/dream pop background.”

Keeping it in the shoegaze/dream pop family, The Know recently released an excellent cover of Jesus & Mary Chain’s “Sometimes Always”, which you can listen to below. Not to be confused with their original track “Someday Maybe”.

As we navigate this weird quarantine time, you can find some calm in The Know’s tunes. Give them a listen and keep them on your radar, this is only just the beginning.