From New York to Portland with Dana Buoy
>>Songwriter, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist Dana Janssen and long-time collaborator Justin Miller are Dana Buoy. They created Ice Glitter Gold on the coast of Oregon, their surroundings and the weather an inspiration for the extremely danceable pop music. This album was recorded in both Portland and New York with production by Janssen, John Morgan Askew and Abe Seiferth at Flora Recording & Playback, Scenic Burrows, and Transmitter Park Studios. Janssen and Miller’s digital/analog mix creates its own language using electronics, guitars and inspiring dance by providing you with exuberance, open-heartedness, and hallucinatory introspection.
You recorded Ice Glitter Gold in both Portland and New York. Why both?
What’s the difference?
I have many relationships with people that I like to collaborate with for
creative reasons. In NYC I have a friend that I've known since I was a
teenager. His name is Abe Seiferth. We have always worked really well
together and I value his input a ton so I always like having him involved
in my projects. In Portland, I have a studio in my house that I do a lot of
my recording at and I have met new engineers here that I wanted to start a
relationship with so I decided to take advantage of that this time around.
There were some elements of the record that I didn't have the time to get
to in NYC and when it became apparent that I had plenty of time to address
these here in Portland I decided to do so with John Askew.
Which fits your sound better?
The sounds are meant to be bigger than any one place. More of a universal
vibe to it. In the age of the internet, people can work from pretty much
anywhere and the same can be said of my music. You can listen and vibe with
it from anywhere.
You’ve got a vibe that bounces from The White Stripes to Walk the Moon to Porter Robinson. Who are some of your influences that led to that sound?
Of these references, I actually am only familiar with the White Stripes...
but you should also know that I only just discovered how great Depeche Mode
is this year... I know I know, I have a lot to catch up on. My influences
are pretty wide and varied. I love Jeff Parker and Tortoise. A lot of those
late 90's early 2000's Thrill Jockey bands have always been huge for me.
And I love dance music like Daft Punk and LCD Soundsystem. The dance
element was an aspect that I really wanted to bring out in this record so I
pushed a lot in that direction. Every song started with a 4 on the floor
beat and was sculpted from there. And I began collecting synthesizers so
having new instruments to create with was a big inspiration for me.
How much Robert DeLong did you listen to while writing Colors Out?
I'm not familiar with this artist. I'm sorry! You're definitely giving me a
great list of recommended listening here.
Who’s your dream collab? Your dream tour partner?
I would love to do a song with Mos Def doing some verses, the hook being
sung by myself and Bjork, and Kanye West producing it. That might be fun.
For a tour, I'd be way into touring with Solange. That would be a fun bill.
You’ve got a lot of sound going on for two people. Is your live show more stripped-down, or do you work with backing tracks?
The other member of the band actually has just moved on. So these days its
just me. I use and have been using, samplers and synths on stage. I use
the Octatrack as my main brain and control a bunch of synths with midi.
Getting the solo set together has been a lot of long days and nights
staring at screens and programming twists and turns on my Octatrack. It’s a
great tool and it has the capability to give the performance a good live
feel. Trig conditions are my favorite!!
A lot of your lyrics are based on the ups and downs of relationships, but you’ve got some that comment on other people’s relationships. What led to that?
I think I just really respond to stories. And if it’s not mine I still want
to offer a take on it so that’s been a good way of being creative in
writing. Multiple perspectives in situations leading to a fuller view kind
of vibe. If I only ever draw from my own experience I feel I would either
go crazy and throw it all out or just get bored with writing. Haha. So I
need to be able to look around and at least offer my takes on what I see
happening around me.
What’s your songwriting process? Lyrics first, music first, do some
shrooms and wake up with a full album?
A lot of times in the past I would do music first and then try to fit words into the structures I wrote. This would sometimes be great in helping me find a good rhyme scheme that fits the cadence of the song. But lately I've
taken to writing words first and then crafting sounds around these words. I try to remain open to new and different ways of writing too. For example, I do the 20 song game with my friends occasionally and this has led to a bunch of great starts of songs for me to work with. The 20 song game works like this:
1. The members start the day split up, working in their separate homes or studios. Each lodge member then attempts to conceive, write, and record as many new songs as possible before the day is over.
2. In theory, they are all aiming for 20 new songs. In practice, anything can happen. Making it to the 20th song is not the real point. The game is more about breaking free of inhibitions, playing and exploring, and entering a state a creative frenzy.
3. The members do not use previously written material in their session,although broad details such as genre, mood, key, lyrical subject matter, or time signatures can be planned ahead. Song titles can also be planned
4. If the game is being played by multiple players, in the evening there will be a meeting. At a set time all participants get together to listen to the music that they created for the meeting, and to swap session stories. This is how lodges of the ICS play the game.
5. This game can also be played alone. A common method for solo players is to interact with other players online ("virtual lodges").
What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you on tour?
We once did a trans-Canadian tour starting in Victoria BC and drove all the
way out to Halifax in February with a van that had no heat. That was crazy.
We stopped at a Canadian tire and bought those hand warmer packets that you
crack open and put in your gloves and we used them in our sleeping bags
while we wore them in the car. We also bought a little propane heater meant
for ice fishing cabins for in the car but.... that was a bit too precarious
to use in the van. We survived with only one member of the touring party
getting bronchitis. The rest of us had colds.
It’s been four years since your last release, Preacher, which was
definitely more psychedelic. What changed?
I wanted to dance more. Although I feel like the psychedelic aspects
haven't been lost. Definitely still a big part of what I'm into and still a
big influence on me and my music.
You’ve got a lyric video out from "Ice Glitter Gold", but no full-fledged
music videos. Can we expect some off this album?
Yes! We are currently editing a video for the title track as we speak. It
should be coming out within the next couple of months. Psychedelic vibes
You’ve got some tour dates planned out for the spring, but what’s next?
We are working on putting together more dates in support of the record. I
plan on being on the road playing this music for people for as long as
people will be into partying with me. This is a fun experience and I want
to get out there and share it with the peoples. Let’s make fun together!
Do you have new music ideas formulating, or are you just focused on Ice
Glitter Gold right now?
I always have more ideas and songs brewing. Currently working on a couple
pieces that are pretty fun jammers. Keep producing art ya dig.
What would you say to yourself six years ago, right before your first
album, about getting into music?
I would remind myself that it’s worth it. Things get hard at times but you
gotta power thru it and stay motivated. This can be hard for everyone
sometimes I imagine. <<
Dana Buoy Tour Dates:
04.20 - Seattle, WA - Fred Wildlife Refuge
04.21 - Bainbridge Island, WA - Space Craft
04.23 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge
04.28 - San Francisco, CA - Swedish American Hall
04.29 - Los Angeles, CA - Resident