BBC 6Music’s album of the week, Yesterday is Gone by Serbian-Canadian songwriter Dana Gavanski could just be the sustenance we need to get through another week of being holed-up.
Currently sitting out the pandemic in Serbia, Dana kindly agreed to give us some extra insights into those songs that she and collaborators Sam Gleason, Mike Lindsay, Evan Cartwright, Ted Crosby, Aaron Hoffman and Charles James worked so hard on and which she should be sharing on tour right now in the UK. You can join her virtually this Friday, March 27th to celebrate the release of this special album, with a live stream at 5pm GMT and 3pm EST on Instagram Live (via @danagavanski).
Yesterday Is Gone
(words: Dana Gavanski)
One by One
I wrote most of this song in Serbia and finished it in Margate, UK just before Mike Lindsay and I recorded it. At the time I was living in Belgrade, Serbia and would be for about 3 months. I really enjoyed writing this one, but found it quite difficult to come up with a chorus, even though the one you hear in the song is the only chorus I came up with! I initially thought it was just too ‘out there’, but now I’m happy I kept it. Also, working on this song and ‘Do You?’ with Mike Lindsay was my first actual experience being in a studio developing tunes and I really loved it.
I wrote this song maybe a month before we recorded the album and finished writing it the week prior. If I hadn’t had tonsillitis and then cancelled my recording session a few months before, it’s funny to think that I probably wouldn’t have written this song… As the recording date was approaching, I felt I needed more songs – that something was missing. I ended up borrowing this super-heavy and huge keyboard from one of my co-producers, Sam Gleason and wrote it on there. Truthfully, the keyboard kinda sucked, but it was helpful to write with a different instrument.
Good Instead of Bad
This one has always been my favourite to sing on the album. I started writing it after a break-up, but it took me months to finish. I wrote this one at a confusing time in my life, when I was experiencing a lot of change, living in a new city, moving apartments and going on my first legit mini-tour in Scotland. In it, I tried to express a plethora of feelings (which I think is my overall aim throughout the album) whereas in this song I’m trying to express the way we sometimes pigeonhole our emotions and expectations, as in “how can I be good instead of bad?” In a way, I’m drawing attention to the ease at which we fall into these dichotomies and how it takes away from the complexity of feeling multiple emotions.
…is a defiant, kind of cheeky song. It’s about not always being so heavy-handed with my feelings.
What We Had
I wrote this one in tandem with ‘Catch‘ on the huge synth I mentioned, above. It’s also one of my favourites. I wanted to write a dreamy, waltzy tune. I loved working on this one in post-production. It was really fun to add layers of synths and voices to it to make it this wonky beast!
I started writing this one in Belgrade, around the same time as ‘Yesterday is Gone’ and ‘One by One’. I guess this song has (another theme of the album) an attitude of defiance, of feeling ‘big’ and in control of my emotions. It’s also a song about hyperbole and over-performing. In my earlier songs I used to feel uncomfortable about being overt. Here, and throughout the album, I’m learning more about what being overt actually means to me.
Yesterday is Gone
When I was writing this one, I was really trying to write a ‘classic’ song and trying to understand what makes a song classic. I was listening to a lot of ’60s tunes (you know, with good riffs and stand out lines). Lots of Velvet Underground, Francois Hardy, and early Leonard Cohen. With this song I was learning how to relax and be more upfront in my writing, while also tending to feelings hard to describe.
Everything That Bleeds
This is my attempt at a rock song. And being big. And semi-furious.
I’ve only come to like this one recently. For a while I was quite uncomfortable with the overt poppiness of it. But, developing it in post-production was eye-opening and helped me embrace it and see it from another angle.
Memories of Winter
This song is an homage to Connie Converse. I was finding it really hard to write at the time and was listening to a lot of Connie. So, as an experiment decided to write a song in a similar style. The whole song came out pretty quickly, which is unusual for me.
Yesterday Is Gone is released on 27th March, via Full Time Hobby (UK and Europe) and Flemish Eye (US/CAN)