Initially blending punky guitars and new wave synths in much the same way as fellow early MTV revivalists the Epoxies or Controller.Controller, the Canadian five-piece You Say Party! We Say Die! leaned more toward the dance-rock side of the equation; indeed, with their two female singers and prominent thumping beats, they occasionally came across as a Martha & the Muffins for the new millennium. Maturity, and then tragedy, led them to a more sophisticated and dark sound as their career progressed. It also led to a name change as they dropped the second half of their moniker in 2010 in response to a death within the band.
You Say Party! We Say Die! were formed in late 2003 in the small border city of Abbotsford, British Columbia, by singer Becky Ninkovic, keyboardist Krista Loewen, and bassist Stephen O'Shea, friends looking for something to do indoors during the region's inhospitable winters. Adding drummer Bruce Dyck, guitarist Jason Nicholas, and second keyboardist Carissa Ropponen, You Say Party! We Say Die! began touring the western provinces and released their debut EP, Danskwad (pronounced "dance squad"), in 2004. A lineup shuffle saw Ropponen exit the band, leaving Loewen the sole keyboard player, while Nicholas and Dyck were replaced by Derek Adam and Devon Clifford, respectively.
You Say Party! We Say Die! signed to the Vancouver indie label Sound Document Records in 2005, releasing their full-length debut album, Hit the Floor! (in keeping with the band name and album title, the song titles were liberally peppered with perky exclamation points), in the fall of that year. Two singles from the album, "You Did It!" and "The Gap Between the Rich and the Poor," were released on British indie labels in 2006 as You Say Party! We Say Die! toured Europe and North America. That October, after attempting to cross the border without proper visas, the band was banned from touring the States until 2011 and encouraged fans to write their congresspersons and sign an online petition. In March 2007, the group released its sophomore album, Lose All Time.
During the tour of Canada and Europe that followed the album's release, the group members found themselves breaking apart, almost to the point where they disbanded. They found the inspiration to carry on during a successful 2008 tour of Japan and China, and after some time spent getting their personal lives in order, regrouped to begin writing the songs that made up their next album, 2010's XXXX. Just as everything was getting back on track, the band was hit with another hardship on April 17, 2010 when drummer Devon Clifford passed away after collapsing on-stage in Vancouver. After a few months of soul-searching and taking into account their belief that Clifford would have wanted the band to continue, they decided (minus Krista Loewen, who retired from the rock & roll lifestyle) to carry on under the new name You Say Party. Keyboardist Robert Andow and drummer Bobby Siadat from fellow Vancouver band Gang Violence were brought in to fill out the lineup as they geared up for more touring.
After playing shows in the U.K., then releasing a remix album titled REMIXXXX and a split single with the Duloks, the band decided to go on hiatus, significantly almost a year to the date of Clifford's passing. The break only lasted a little more than a year, and with Loewen back in the fold, the quartet issued "Friend," a single in tribute to Clifford. Now performing with a drum machine and a darker, more gloomily atmospheric sound, the group released its fourth album, the self-titled You Say Party, in early 2016. ~ Stewart Mason