A massively impressive emerging songwriter Dana Gavanski‘s debut 7″ ‘One by One’ is out now on Full Time Hobby.
Stately and wistful there’s a touch of class to Gavanski’s songwriting, with ‘One by One’ where spindling hooks and her fantastic and dulcet vocal tones are framed with twinkling notes in the mid-distance. The song has elegantly balanced introspective verses, with melodies that dance on the head of a pin. She reels you into her captivating world of isolation and vulnerability.
Flipside ‘Do You?’ is just as good, graceful and dreamy, like a gull floating on an ocean breeze. We caught up with the Toronto-based artist, in an effort to get to know her better.
Hi, how are you today?
Good! Thanks. You?
What was the first song you ever wrote? What was it like?
The first song I remember really writing and finishing was a song about my then recently deceased cat Marcel. It was in open E and called ‘Love Song for Marcel’
What do most of your songs tend to be about?
Letting things go. Relationships. They seem to translate as love songs most of the time, which is a classic form I guess, but they’re never really ever about one person, but about the feeling that a certain relationship has sent me delving into, or a concept. Sometimes I have a person in my mind but then the thought of them often opens up to the rest of the world and my curiosity of how things are what they are.
What was the first thing you released?
My debut EP Spring Demos In September 2017.
Can you tell us about your new 7″ One By One?! How did it start life?
Well, it’s two songs, both written during moments of big change. I wrote ‘Do You?’ when I first arrived in Toronto in the autumn of 2017. I was spending a lot of time alone, feeling all the excitement of moving but also scared and bored and confused. I was really looking for a way to ground myself somehow but found it really hard to focus. That’s what the song is about I guess. ‘One by One’ I wrote during my three-month stay in Belgrade at the end of last year… a love song of sorts. I recorded both songs with Mike Lindsay in Margate, UK. I took the train out there from London and we spent the weekend tracking these songs and it was a really great experience. Mike’s a wizard.
What’s the music scene like back home?
It’s great! I mean, I’ve been living in Toronto since September 2017 so I haven’t been here for a long time, but the reason I moved was partly because I wanted to be closer to the scene here. The Weather Station and Jennifer Castle were a big reason why I chose to move here then. The music they make has been a huge inspiration.
Was music important growing up?
For sure. I was a radio and Big Shiny Tunes kid. I did own a few CDs like Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas, Destiny Child’s Survivor and Brandy’s Never Say Never that were on constant repeat. Music was always on my mind in some form or another. My mother always had the radio on in the house. Mostly CBC classical. Lots of opera, which I hated at the time. And I spent a lot of time singing to the radio and recording myself on a tape machine. I did try my hand at studying music- taking voice and piano lessons – but was super insecure and shy about it and so I let it go for a while…
Which artists do you admire?
Oh so many. This is gonna be hard. Just musicians? I’m gonna list the first that come to mind because there are so many. Georgia O’Keeffe, Judee Sill, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Gena Rowlands, Ingmar Bergman, Liv Ullmann, The Weather Station, Cate le Bon, Tim Presley, H. Hawkline, Nico, The Velvet Underground, Diane Cluck, Bill Callahan, David Bowie, Connie Converse, Leonard Cohen, Julia Holter, Nina Simone, Jennifer Castle, Brian Eno…
What would be your dream collaboration?
Hmmm. Just one person? Maybe a dream-team collab? Can we bring people back from the dead for this? Ok, maybe Todd Rundgren, and maybe a bit of early King Crimson, The Roches, and Brian Eno?
What are your views on sexism in the music industry?
I mean, so many feelings…and know so many people who have ample crap experience. But in mine, I have to say, I have generally been surrounded by very open-minded, considerate people who work pretty actively to counteract their prejudices. For me, in not only the music industry, it’s often a nuanced thing, hard to perceive until it’s gotten under your skin…
What’s the best act you have played with so far?
I mean I’ve almost only ever played with amazing musicians. A highlight for sure was opening for Diane Cluck in 2017, whose music I have loved for a long time. But I’ve played with sooo many wonderful musicians, to name a few: Ryan Driver, Dana Sipos, Thanya Iyer, Merival, Yves Jarvis...
Are you working on songs for a debut album?
Yes! Currently working on it in post. Really looking forward to sharing it !
Have you got any shows/festivals coming up?
I’m playing some shows in May in the UK, supporting Tomberlin and Chris Cohen, both of which I’m super excited for!
Thanks for your time
21st May Yes (basement), Manchester, UK w/ Tomberlin
22nd May Brudenell Social Club, Community Room, Leeds, UK w/ Tomberlin
23rd May The Hug & Pint, Glasgow, UK w/ Tomberlin
24th May The Lexington, London, UK w/ Tomberlin
26th May The Happiness Hotel, Edinburgh
27th May The Hug & Pint, Glasgow w/ Chris Cohen
30th May The Green Door Store, Brighton w/ Chris Cohen