Straylings recently released their second album Wild Medicine. Straylings are a London duo formed of ex-The Veils guitarist Oliver Drake and Bahrain born Dana Zeera (on bass, piano, vocals, synths) their sound runs the gamut of noise pop, with an edge: laced with a psychedelic stomp and Zeera’s thrilling vocals.
Their debut album Entertainment On Foreign Grounds was released in 2012. Dana Zeera of Straylings has fielded our 20 Questions below:
Hi, how are you today and what’s the weather like?
A. All is good, thanks. We’re in the Netherlands right now, and it’s icy. The canals have been freezing up. There’s talk of ice skating.
Where did the name Straylings come from?
A. Can’t remember the exact moment it came up, I think we were just playing with words, and this seemed to conjure up the right spirit. People think we’re saying “The Australians” a lot, which is funny.
How do most of your songs start life? A lyric? A chord? Or melody?
A. It’s always different, a lot of times it’s just ideas that are persistent and won’t go away.
Have you ever been starstruck?
A. Not sure about starstruck… I’ve met Jimmy Page by chance a couple of times though and he has a wonderful presence.
The Royal Family: should they stay or should they go?
A. They’re not something I think about much really. I think there are things going on in the world right now that worry me more!
Do you have any pets?
A. Two feral Bengal cats (perfectly adequate substitutes for dogs).
If you weren’t doing this, what would you like to be?
A. I was studying naturopathic medicine for a while, so maybe something along those lines.
What’s your favourite book?
A. Mans Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, or Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm by Stephen Harrod Buhner are a couple.
What were you like at school?
A. Quiet, intense and very bored.
What’s the music scene like back home?
A. I’m not sure we have much of a scene really, the country is the size of a pin, but I’m told there is a strong metal scene. There’s a lot of anger raging at the moment – and metal’s probably a good outlet for it.
Best gig you’ve played so far?
A. Hard to say, I’d probably go for the Scala a few years back.
What’s your favourite song?
A. It’s not really possible to have one favourite song, is it? Tim Buckley’s ‘Phantasmagoria In Two’ is one that’s definitely on repeat at the moment.
What do you listen to in your tour van?
A. We don’t have a tour van, but our car playlist doesn’t stay the same, we’ve been listening to Cate Le Bon’s ‘Mug Museum’ which is really great, a lot of Nick Drake, The Zombies, and Alan Watts audiobooks.
What were your favourite artists growing up?
A. My brother gave me a Joan Baez record which I was very obsessed with. No one could ever compare with The Beatles though, which hasn’t really changed much. We didn’t have many artists come to play in the country when I was growing up, you really had to search the good stuff out. The only ones who ventured there were Mel C and the Gypsy Kings, from what I recall!
Who would you want to play you in the film of your life?
A. Cillian Murphy, can I choose him?
Vinyl, CD, Download or stream?
A. Vinyl definitely… But we’d love to see a better, more viable route forward for streaming.
What’s the best cover version you have ever heard?
A. I’m going to have to go for an obvious one here, probably Hendrix’s All Along The Watchtower.
Tell us about your recent release?
A. It’s our second album, Wild Medicine, out February 23rd on our label Deadpan Records. We ended up recording, producing, and mixing it ourselves – a first for us, so it was quite a journey. We’re excited to finally have it out soon.
Any hopes for 2018?
A. Just to play some great, meaningful shows, cover a bit more geographical ground with them perhaps, and put out some good energy…. vibe-fluffing our way around! Wherever that may be.