INTERVIEW: DANSI | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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“Before we’d even got a band together we’d booked in a recording,” drummer John Lambeth says. That was how eager the members of Dansi were to finally release their self-titled debut EP, after spending four years crafting their sound. Dansi’s CV reads like a who’s who of the North East scene; the core members have played with Pikey Beatz, Baghdaddies, The Fiona Clayton Band, Charlie Dancer and Coquin Migale amongst others. Working with a diverse spectrum of bands has been beneficial to Dansi’s gradual development (“there’s a lot you can learn from others,” says John) but vocalist and guitarist Wilf Stone says it also left them with “shitloads of ideas.”

The word Dansi means ‘rhythm’ in Kiswahili, and the word epitomises the band’s sonic journey. “We wanted it to have a pulse, we wanted it to be accessible but not conformative.” Wilf says. “We didn’t just want to be another party band.” Being able to play to large audiences was still a key factor in their sound’s development. “We have always tried to make a big thing of the live performance in previous bands, so we were specific about wanting to be an upbeat band and wanting to fill slots at festivals,” John says.

We wanted it to have a pulse, we wanted it to be accessible but not conformative

The resulting EP is one that’s constantly energetic, with pulsating drums and folk-inspired acoustic guitars running throughout. Folk On The Hillside and Rocks of Lime both have anthemic, sing-along choruses and closer We All Fall gradually builds its clattering drums and meaty riffs to a euphoric climax. It’s all underpinned by Wilf’s sensitive yet powerful vocals that convey the very personal nature of the lyrics. “It’s about my well-spent misspent youth, about a particular girlfriend that I had and how I got over that,” he explains. There are also some pretty hefty themes underpinning the opening track. “Clearly is about struggling with depression and getting over it.”

One thing that’s curiously missing from the mix is electric guitar, which has been replaced by brass. “It was just the tone, it just seems to make people dance,” John explains. Having played for them in the past, he recruited Nigel and Ziad from the Baghdaddies to play on Clearly and Folk On The Hillside. “They brought so many ideas from a brass point of view,” Wilf admits, and as a result both tracks swell with danceable trumpets and trombones with a mariachi flavour.

With the EP being designed to play live, the pair can’t wait to get out on the live circuit. “Because of the amount of preparation we’ve put into it, we’ve been chomping at the bit for ages just to get on stage and play a gig!” Wilf says. “We’re confident in how much effort and time we’ve put in. Blood sweat and tears. All we need is the audience!”

Dansi release their self-titled EP on 18th April. They play at The Cluny, Newcastle on Saturday 23rd April.

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