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Please Please You & Brudenell Presents: Dana Gavanski
May 30 @ 7:30 pm - 11:00 pm
Born in Vancouver to a Serbian family, but relocating to Montreal to attend university, Dana originally planned to pursue a career in film. However, she shifted her attention back to music when her then ex-partner left her his guitar before moving to NYC. Having known only how to play ‘Diamonds and Rust’ by Joan Baez, Dana picked up a Travis Picking technique book and started re-learning how to play. When in the Summer of 2016, she took a job with her father as a producer’s assistant on a horror film in the Laurentians, she made enough to focus solely on developing her music for a year. With that came her first EP, Spring Demos. In 2019, Dana signed with Full Time Hobby and released two 7″ singles (“One By One”, “Catch”) and announced her debut album “Yesterday Is Gone”, a co-production between Sam Gleason, Tunng’s Mike Lindsay and Dana herself. The critically acclaimed album was released in March 2020, followed by an EP of covers titled “Wind Songs”, released in August of the same year.
Dana’s second album “When It Comes” was released in April 2022, followed by headline tours around UK, Europe and north America, and is followed by third album LATE SLAP, due for release in April 2024.
LATE SLAP: There’s a party in Dana Gavanski’s head and everyone’s invited – well, kind of. Late Slap, Gavanski’s third album, gives voice to the highs and lows of the mindscape in all its joys and terrors, injecting some much-needed playfulness into the process of writing about emotionally hard things. “The album holds together the seemingly disparate aspects of my character that I have sometimes tried to repress,” says Dana. “With this album I’m letting them into the room, celebrating them for all their strangeness – a strangeness which I think we all, on some level, share.” Having (literally) lost her voice during the writing of her previous album, When It Comes, Late Slap finds Dana in magisterial mode, displaying a newfound confidence and energy—in both her writing and singing—borne, paradoxically, from embracing feelings of discomfort. “I realized,” says Dana, “that in order to become stronger I needed to get used to being uncomfortable.” It’s appropriate, then, that the album opens with ‘How to Feel Uncomfortable,’ a quick sonic punch of a song, which bemoans the growing distances between people in the digital landscapes where we spend so much time wandering aimlessly: “stand too close, face in your phone/ it’s scrambling your mind/ tired of your zombie glow/soaking up your eyes.”. The song attests to the difficulty of sitting with yourself, in boredom, insecurity and indecision—and the important emotional and spiritual rewards of doing so. Or, as Susan Sontag, a major influence on the album, puts it in “Regarding the Pain of Others: “It is passivity that dulls feeling. The states described as apathy, moral or emotional anaesthesia, are full of feelings; the feelings are rage and frustration…” In the writing of Late Slap, Gavanski swapped out the familiar for the new, training herself to use Logic Pro rather than just her usual guitar-and-voice approach. If composing somewhat neo-Luddite anthems on a Macbook seems a little contradictory, well, that’s kind of the point: “21st century life is so full of contradictions and headfucks that it can be hard to do anything with conviction—you could cynic your way out of doing or believing anything.” Initially overwhelmed by its seemingly limitless possibilities, Dana began to create demos and collages of small sound worlds across various influences, at times orchestral pop, art rock and new wave, again embracing difference and variety. “Whenever I’m stuck in a certain way of working, it helps to try something new, to challenge myself in a different way. Like when you learn a new instrument: you’re excited by it and less concerned with perfection.” Gavanski fleshed out the demos with her band before taking the album—and the band—to Mike Lindsay (Tunng, LUMP) at MESS, the producer’s studio in Margate. The five-piece, which includes Gavanski’s fellow co-producer James Howard (Rozi Plain, Alabaster dePlume), tracked the record over five days. “I knew Mike could help me find the range of sound I was looking for; he has an amazing attention to sonic detail and we’ve worked well together on previous records.” Lindsay acquired a Yamaha DX7 synth at Dana’s request just for the album, and they used it to conjure an atmosphere of digital warmth that recalls the Beverly Glenn-Copeland’s meditative masterpiece Keyboard Fantasies.