The Fantasy Defender
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The Fantasy Defender

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Band Pop Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Former Tuuli, Flairs Members Form The Fantasy Defender"

Ex-Tuuli and former Flairs member Dawn Mandarino has started a new band called The Fantasy Defender.

The unsigned band have been playing shows in and around Toronto this year, including stints at the 2009 Indie Week and the Nu Music Nite at the Horseshoe Tavern.

Mandarino sings and plays guitar in The Fantasy Defender, while former Tuuli member Claire Tuuli (who went by the name Claire Blake in her Tuuli days) plays keys and sings back-up vocals. The band also includes bassist Joe Gervasi and drummer Grant Scott.

The Fantasy Defender describe their sound as a mix of "melodic ’80s pop sensibilities with a goth-glam sound to darken the mix." The band have a pretty wide assortment of songs on their MySpace page that you can listen to right now.

You can see The Fantasy Defender at Toronto’s Rivoli on Thursday as part of the International Pop Overthrow Festival.
- Chart Attack

"CMW Preview: The Fantasy Defender (interview, MP3)"

Toronto's The Fantasy Defender are out to put some glam back into indie rock. You can hear that for yourself on their track "Give It Up".

In anticipation of their Canadian Music Week performance, I had the opportunity to ask lead singer Dawn Mandarino about their music. Check it out:

T.O. Snob: First off, thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us. You’re playing Velvet Underground on March 12th as part of Canadian Music Week. For people who haven’t seen The Fantasy Defender before what can they expect?

DM: Playing live is what we’re the most passionate about so expect to see a lot of fun with some sassiness mixed in. Our songs are pretty upbeat so if you want to dance, it’s highly encouraged.

T.O. Snob: What inspires a Fantasy Defender song?

DM: Whatever seems to be going on in my life at the time. I think I’d be officially crazy if I didn’t have writing songs as a way of figuring out my true feelings. It’s definitely therapeutic.

T.O. Snob: Your Myspace page describes the band as Cyndi Lauper meets Garbage, which sounds like an odd combination. How did that sound develop?

DM: I find it always hard to describe our sound especially because there are so many influences. We’ve got a lot of synth in our songs but still manage to keep a rock ‘n’ roll edge which is similar to what Garbage does. Although I have always dreamt of having a sultry voice like Shirley Manson, it has turned out that I am a more natural pop singer in the vein of Pat Benetar or Cyndi Lauper. The one comment I get a lot about our songs is that they are really eclectic. There are a few that you feel the punk influence since I have been obsessed with The Ramones from childhood and there are others that are more stripped down but still have an edge, kind of like Veruca Salt.

T.O. Snob: When can we expect an album from the band?

DM: Funny you should ask as we just finished it! It’s getting mastered now and we had the cover illustration done by an amazing artist from France called CandyBird. We’re just doing digital distribution for now so it should be available on ITunes, Napster, etc. in mid-April. It’s called ‘Lick the Poison’.

T.O. Snob: What does a festival like CMW mean to up-and-coming bands? What do you hope to get out of the experience?

DM: I think festivals are exciting because they bring out so many more people. There is this buzz around the city and people are looking to seek out new music. I hope that we can expose more people to our music and maybe they’ll like what we do.

T.O. Snob: Are there any band’s you’re looking forward to seeing at the festival?

DM: I’m looking forward to seeing State of Things, Darlings of Chelsea, Val Halla, and Beast. And come on, who isn’t excited to see Platinum Blonde!

T.O. Snob: I noticed there is no Wikipedia entry yet for The Fantasy Defender. If you were writing one how would you start it?

DM: Well, inevitably it would probably start with our prior experience in other bands since we’ve all been playing in bands for awhile. Claire and I started in Tuuli and then I was in The Flairs for 6 years so we gained so much touring, recording, and performing experience.

T.O. Snob: If someone were to look at your CD collection (or iPod playlist) what would they find that would surprise them?

DM: I’m looking through now and none of it surprises me but maybe, Type O Negative, Loverboy, Jay-Z, Slipknot, Rihanna. Are those surprising? I have no idea!

CMW performance:
Date: Mar 12th
Time: 8:00pm
Venue: Velvet Underground
- Snob's Music


Lick the Poison - April 2010 (included track 'Red Lights' featured on Degrassi: The Next Generation)

Currently recording next album scheduled for release in 2013



The Fantasy Defender is a project started by Dawn Mandarino (The Flairs/Tuuli) after wanting to create a new sound that mixed melodic 80's pop sensibilities with a goth-glam sound to darken the mix.think Cyndi Lauper meets Garbage!

In her previous punk/rock bands, Mandarino shared the stage with such legends as Cheap Trick, David Lee Roth and The Buzzcocks and actively toured across Canada, the U.S., France, and Indonesia playing in front of a staggering 90,000 people. She gave highly praised performances at Vancouver's New Music West festival, Toronto's NXNE and Canadian Music Week, New York City's esteemed punk rock venues CBGBs and The Continental, Los Angeles' International Pop Overthrow Festival and the ROCKRGRL Music Conference in Seattle.

The Fantasy Defender takes Mandarino in a new direction which utilizes her melodic pop instincts while keeping the rock n roll edge. The debut album "Lick the Poison" is clever, catchy, intoxicating, and undeniably fun. Currently in motion is the 2nd album scheduled for release in 2013.

Band Members