Ella Riot

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Ella Riot
(previously My Dear Disco)
My Dear Disco feat. Michelle Chamuel.jpg
My Dear Disco in 2010
Background information
Origin Michigan, USA
Genres Electro-pop, funk, rock, techno
Years active 2007–2011
Associated acts Toolbox
Website dancethink.com
Past members Tyler Duncan (founder)
Michelle Chamuel (vocals)
Aaron Gold (percussion)
Theo Katzman (guitar)
Christian Carpenter (bass)
Robert Lester / Robert Lux (guitar)
Joey Dosik (keyboards)
Mike Shea (percussion)
Joe Dart (bass)
Matt Henninger (bass)

Ella Riot is a musical group based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Founded in 2007 by Tyler Duncan as My Dear Disco, the name change came in March 2011.[1]

The band first released the eponymous EP My Dear Disco in 2007, releasing its first album Dancethink LP in January 2009. The album fused electro-pop, funk, rock, and techno into a distinctive sound the band members have dubbed "DanceThink". The band released two more EPs in 2010 and their last EP Love Child in March 2011, before going into an "indefinite hiatus" in October 2011.[1][2] In 2013, band vocalist Michelle Chamuel took part in the fourth season of The Voice and finished in second place.[3]


Sample from the 2009 Dancethink LP

Sample from the 2011 Love Child EP

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Ella Riot, originally called My Dear Disco, evolved from founding member Duncan's 2005 instrumental endeavor, Toolbox.[4][5] Duncan who played bagpipe, with percussionist Aaron Gold, guitarist Theo Katzman, and bassist Christian Carpenter, all undergraduate students at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor,[6] developed experimental tracks using Irish bagpipe as the lead instrument and a laptop to mix bass music and techno drum beats.[4][7] Later guitarist Robert "DJ Body-Rock" Lester and keyboardist Joey Dosik joined the group.[8] Michelle Chamuel, a classmate of Duncan, recorded a track named "My Dear Disco" with Lester independent of the Toolbox project.[9] Later she worked with the band on a track named "White Lies". The band was impressed with her vocals and asked her to join. My Dear Disco was officially founded with her inclusion in 2007.[1][10]

Duncan switched from bagpipe to synthesizer, but occasionally played bagpipe during live performances. The band members area of study at the University of Michigan ranged from classical drum to jazz to performance and technology.[10] They graduated in 2008.[11] The lineup changed with Mike Shea replacing Gold on drums.[12]

Named one of the most promising college bands in the nation by the New American Music Union, My Dear Disco was invited to perform at the 2008 A.E. Music Festival hosted by Anthony Kiedis.[11][13] In the summer of 2008, the band performed at BlissFest,[11] Hoxeyville, Dunegrass,[7] Feel Good Festival, and Jazz Aspen Snowmass.[citation needed]

The band's debut album, Dancethink LP, was co-produced by Mark Saunders.[11][14] It was released in January 2009.[10] An album review characterized the music as having diverse influences and called the album "a trance album with a rock and roll spine".[15] The newly released techno-pop tracks earned the band a spot on the rosters of 2009 Wakarusa Festival, 10,000 Lakes Festival and South by Southwest, where they performed alongside Dave Matthews Band, Wilco, Widespread Panic and others.[6][16] In October 2009 the band appeared on Fox 5 television show Fearless Music in Episode 8-02.[17] The band was named BMI's Pick of the Month artist in November 2009.[8][18] In 2009 the band performed over 150 live shows.[5][19]

In September 2009 Dosik left the band and relocated to California.[20] Soon after guitarist Katzman and then in September 2010 bassist Carpenter left to pursue solo careers.[8][21] Joe Dart filled in for Carpenter.[5] Dart played bass on the 2011 Love Child EP. After Dart's departure from the group, in 2011 Matt Henninger became the next bass player.[1] Katzman's departure in early 2010 marked the group's change from a seven piece to a five piece band.

The band's remix of Kanye West's "Love Lockdown" earned high praise from Arjanwrites music blog, citing the use of live instruments as a reason.[22] The band's remix of Todd Edwards' "I Might Be" was made for and released on a Scion A/V remix collection.[23][24] The two tracks were later released on the 2010 The Remixes EP. As of July 2010 the band had performed over 250 live shows in a two-year period.[25] In August 2010 the band performed at Lollapalooza music festival.[1][26] In December 2010, the band completed work on their second studio release Love Child EP. It was engineered by Oliver Strauss and recorded at Mission Sound studio in New York.[5][27]

In March 2011, My Dear Disco changed its name to Ella Riot, citing legal concerns and the old name's implied genre.[28] The new name was in part a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald. In Greek, "Ella" means bright light or torch, and "Ella Riot" was a tribute to the goals and image of the band.[28] Shortly after the name change, the Love Child EP was released in March 2011. Being a studio recording and final release, it was the band's second definitive work. An album review characterized the music as pop influenced by funk, techno and house, and called the approach "hardly doctrinaire".[29] The band released a music video of the EP's fourth track "It Could Be".[30]

In September 2011, the band announced the decision to put Ella Riot on an indefinite hiatus,[2][31] citing the need to develop other aspects of their lives.[6] Soon after, Duncan and Chamuel as a duo released an album titled s/he.[2][32] The album credits contributions by all then current band members. As of July 2013, eight band members have continued to make music as independent artists – Duncan, Lester, Chamuel, Katzman, Dosik, Dart, Carpenter and Gold.[33]


The band referred to its musical style as "DanceThink Music". Their music "combines elements from rock, dance, electronic, soul, punk, pop, and jazz music to engage the body and the mind".[1] Although made for dance and live performance, the band's objective was to make music that could stand and be enjoyed on its own merits.[7] According to an AllMusic album review, "This is fine, well-crafted music from a group with a mind of its own".[29] According to band guitarist Lester, "It's about writing music that's as satisfying for your body as it is for your mind".[34]

In 2008 engineer Mark Saunders, who had developed Grammy-nominated albums with Shiny Toy Guns and The Cure, co-produced the band's debut album named Dancethink [11][14] in the Beat360 Studios in New York City.[35]

In visual media[edit]

In November 2009, the song "My Dear Disco" was used in a promotional commercial for Season 1 Episode 9 of Melrose Place.[6][36] In 2009 the song "White Lies" was used in Season 1 Episode 11 of the online television series Little White Lie.[37] Chamuel performed the vocals on the series' theme song "Caught In the Lie".[38] In 2010 the song "My Dear Disco" was used in Season 1 Episode 7 of the television series Fly Girls[39] and the song "M.Y.F. (Move Your Feet)" was used in Episode 8.[40] In 2011 the two songs "My Dear Disco" and "Madame Eon - Part One" were used in the independent film Mooz-lum.[41] In 2011 the song "White Lies" was used in Season 1 Episode 5 of the television series The Lying Game.[42]

Band as business[edit]

Upon their formation in 2007, band members saw themselves as a business entity, a business to support them financially.[10][43] In an October 2011 interview, band founder Duncan expressed pride in the fact that they "created a business and a band that toured from Alaska to Texas to Cozumel to Maine," and that they ran the business themselves.[6]

Michelle Chamuel[edit]

Main article: Michelle Chamuel

Michelle Jacqueline Chamuel[44] (born 1986), the vocalist and former member of the band took part in the fourth season of reality television singing competition The Voice, broadcast on NBC. She was part of "Team Usher" and finished in second place. Chamuel lives in Amherst, Massachusetts and uses the artistic trade name "The Reverb Junkie".[3][45]


Studio albums
Extended plays
  • My Dear Disco (2007)  (as My Dear Disco)
  • Over the Noise (2010)  (as My Dear Disco)
  • The Remixes (2010)  (as My Dear Disco)
  • Love Child (2011)  (as Ella Riot)
  • "Black Eyed Peas - I Gotta Feeling (Ella Riot Remix)" (2011)[46]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Ann Arbor band Ella Riot is blazing a new trail". The Blade. August 25, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "Taking a break from Ella Riot". AnnArbor.com. November 8, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Voice runner-up Michelle Chamuel". masslive.com. June 20, 2013. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "The Ann Arbor Spotlight: The Toolbox Trio". The Michigan Daily. September 15, 2005. Retrieved July 14, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Eventful 2010 raises profile of My Dear Disco". Detroit Free Press. February 3, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Exit interview: Ella Riot’s Tyler Duncan". A.V.Club. October 11, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c "My Dear Disco". The Graphic Weekly. July 3, 2008. Archived from the original on March 8, 2013. Retrieved July 13, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c "Former My Dear Disco guitarist finding own sound". The Herald Palladium. February 18, 2010. Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  9. ^ "New Music On the Block (2006)". blockrecords.com. Retrieved September 3, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c d "Local Band Spotlight: My Dear Disco". Detroit Free Press. February 11, 2009. Archived from the original on November 5, 2013. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c d e "My Dear Disco makes right moves". mlive.com. October 9, 2008. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  12. ^ "My Dear Disco’s Michelle Chamuel: The New Gay Interview". thenewgaydc.blogspot.com. February 18, 2009. Retrieved September 3, 2013. 
  13. ^ "American Eagle Outfitter Announces Summer Music Festival". Business Wire. May 15, 2008. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  14. ^ a b "Interview: My Dear Disco". Azltron Music Blog. December 8, 2008. Retrieved July 31, 2013. 
  15. ^ "My Dear Disco - Dancethink - CD Review". Racket Magazine. February 23, 2009. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Busy back home well-traveled My Dear Disco". mlive.com. April 5, 2009. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Fearless Music Episodes". fearlessmusic.com. Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  18. ^ "BMI Taps My Dear Disco". bmi.com. November 24, 2009. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Lollapalooza 2010: Opportunity Knocks, Part One". popmaters.com. August 4, 2010. Retrieved November 17, 2013. 
  20. ^ "My Dear Disco announcement - Farewell Yosef Dosik". Ella Riot. September 12, 2009. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Goodbye Christian Carpenter". Ella Riot. September 12, 2010. Retrieved August 3, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Listen to Kanye West - Love Lockdown (MDD remix)". arjanwrites.com. January 13, 2009. Retrieved August 3, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Todd Edwards - Scion A/V". Allmusic.com. Retrieved June 29, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Todd Edwards 'I Might Be' (My Dear Disco)". Twentyseven Views. April 8, 2010. Retrieved June 29, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Unsigned Finds: My Dear Disco". Seventeen.com. July 8, 2010. Retrieved July 15, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Lollapalooza Friday 2010: A day of glam". popwreckoning.com. August 10, 2010. Archived from the original on December 7, 2011. Retrieved July 15, 2013. 
  27. ^ "On The Record: Ella Riot Make 'Love Child' At Mission Sound". sonicscoop.com. April 17, 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2013. 
  28. ^ a b "My Dear Disco has new name – Ella Riot". AnnArbor.com. March 23, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  29. ^ a b "Love Child - Ella Riot Review". Allmusic.com. Retrieved July 15, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Ella Riot - It Could Be". YouTube Channel Ella Riot. March 20, 2011. Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  31. ^ "DanceThink: The hiatus announcement". Ella Riot. September 7, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  32. ^ "s/he (2011) album review". andnowinstereo.co.uk. March 31, 2013. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  33. ^ Band members, independent works:
  34. ^ "Ella Riot fires up with DanceThink music". The Michigan Daily. July 7, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  35. ^ "Beat360 Studios Debut Blog". beat360.com. March 31, 2009. Retrieved July 31, 2013. 
  36. ^ "Melrose Place 1.09 Promo". YouTube Channel BetoPoter. November 4, 2009. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Little White Lie, Episode 1.11 Soundtracks". IMDb.com. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  38. ^ "Little White Lie, Episode 1.1 Soundtracks". IMDb.com. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  39. ^ "Fly Girls - The Third Wheel Soundtracks". IMDb.com. Retrieved August 23, 2013. 
  40. ^ "Fly Girls - Unexpected Departures Soundtracks". IMDb.com. Retrieved August 23, 2013. 
  41. ^ "Mooz-lum Soundtracks". IMDb.com. Retrieved August 20, 2013. 
  42. ^ "The Lying Game - Over Exposed Soundtracks". IMDb.com. Retrieved August 20, 2013. 
  43. ^ "The Spirit of Music Business Success: Ella Riot Speaks". usmusicscholar.wordpress.com. March 24, 2011. Retrieved August 23, 2013. 
  44. ^ "Twitter: @MichelleChamuel". twitter.com. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  45. ^ "Twitter: @thereverbjunkie". twitter.com. Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  46. ^ "Black Eyed Peas - I Gotta Feeling (Ella Riot Remix)". soundcloud.com. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 

External links[edit]