Provocative queer duo COMANAVAGO enter their villain era

Provocative LGBT+ electro-pop duo COMANAVAGO (pronounced “come and have a go”) once again bring their genre-bending sound to new single “Leave Him” – out via Ultra Music.

Following on from their viral cover of Sylvester’s ‘70s disco classic “You Make Me Feel” with Solardo – which saw key support come through for the duo from Attitude Magazine, Kiss FM and HITS Pride Radio – the duo are ready to explore their ‘villain era’ on this latest powerhouse release. Consisting of Ben Dunkerley (they/them) and Gabriel Swarbrick (he/him), “Leave Him” mixes eccentric hyperpop with retro infused disco riffs – further packing out the shimmering track with epic guitars and triumphant, unexpected synth explosions. With a thumping bassline, backed by rockstar attitude, “Leave Him” captures an inescapably bodacious sense of rebellious coolness.

In a statement about the single, the band say: “We went into a Zoom session with our friend Shane Bauman in the midst of the pandemic. We played with this idea of jealousy, ex-lovers and red flags, but we thought it would be a fun twist to play the villain. It only took a few hours, and we had the track basically done. A few more production tweaks from Ben and “Leave Him” was complete. Sometimes it’s fun to play the villain. Jealousy looks good on us. Slay.”

Having already worked with the likes of Tim Powell (Cher, MK, Little Mix, Pet Shop Boys) and Duane Harden (#1 dance hits with Armand Van Helden and Powerhouse), COMANAVAGO marked a new chapter of their careers in the post-Covid world by signing to the famed Ultra Music (Calvin Harris, deadmau5, Sofi Tukker). Now with plans to relaunch their exquisite dance-pop debut Heart Failure later this year, 2022 is set to be a definitive year for the pair as accompanying new music, September 28th will see their infamously exuberant live set brought back to fans at Peckham Audio – previously sold out by the pair alongside another show at The Brink.

Undeniably knocking on the doors of stardom, COMANAVAGO’s braggadocios artistry harkens to the days of Prince strutting on stage. On a mission to bring back this lost aura devoid of gender norms, cultural inhibitions and the ultimate desire to be your true self, the pop landscape has been waiting for an act like COMANAVAGO to break through – stay tuned for much more this year.

How would you describe COMANAVAGO and how do you identify?

COMANAVAGO is the amalgamation of all the amazing pop music we’ve ever heard mashed up into one huge queer pop party explosion! We typically identify outside of a binary gendered system.

What does COMANAVAGO mean and when did COMANAVAGO come to life?

Our musical partnership started when we both met on the same degree at Surrey Uni: Creative Music Technology. COMANAVAGO came from the first song we ever wrote together: the hook was “Come and have a go, if you think you’re hard enough”. Then the name became an invitation to the party we wanted our listeners to come to and also turned out to be a really fun crowd chant. 

How would you describe your new music? What are your inspirations?

Our new music is pop music turned up to 11, “Spinal Tap” style. We’re just having fun with whatever genre we feel like dipping into because if we’re having fun, then the audience can join in. We love a lot of different artists and touchstones but we draw specifically from SOPHIE, Lady Gaga, Prince, and the London Queer rave scene. We love the way they all push pop as far as they can. And this is not to mention all the cheesy noughties films/series that inspire us – The Matrix, Charlie’s Angels, Totally Spies… a lot of secret agent vibes going on

Do you like to be provocative?

We love to provoke- the best pop should! It’s important to spread messages like universal Trans Rights, Black Lives Matter, down with the Tories etc. We want to show people we really stand for that stuff so provocation is the best step forward! We’ll bare it all in the name of good! As soon as we get really big we’re gonna cause (justified) chaos on twitter.

Who are the people that you admire?

We always talk about SOPHIE’s impact on our musical and personal identities- SOPHIE taught us all a lot about what music and queer identity and pop culture COULD be in their tragically short time on Earth, so we really want to try and keep up with them as much as we can (although no one can really recreate what SOPHIE did). 

What kind of music do you listen to?

We both listen to a lot of pop music overall but Ben (our primary producer) listens to a lot of Hard Techno and Rave music mostly- They live in a club in their mind most of the time. Gabe (our vocalist) listens mostly to Grunge and 90s rock- a lot more guitars and growls than our material would suggest. This explains a lot of the harder edges of our music because, although we’re doing pop, there’s no calm in our storm. We’re literally sluts for brostep though, we don’t even care. BRING. IT. BACK.

How is the music sector embracing queer artists?

You can gradually see this happening! We’re seeing more and more visibility for queer artists in soundtrack placements and in festivals and on label rosters. Also radio stations look like they’re putting in more work now to have queer DJs to spin records and have shows dedicated to LGBTQIA+ music. But it’s still pretty rough when you look at the Charts. It feels like it’s rare to see openly queer acts hitting those numbers when we all know of so many who deserve the spotlight! We’d love to see more intersectionality when it comes to charts representation. Queer music is for everyone, not just the East London gays lol.

What are your future plans?

We want to be the biggest rock stars this side of the century. We want to change pop and pop culture- bring back some of the chaos of the Noughties! We’re aiming for stardom and we’re going to play the part until it’s true. Skimpy clothes, high glam, hard parties, scandal: put us in the papers! Britney, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan era PLEASE! Pop needs us and we’re coming.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s