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

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Image by Clementine Schneidermann

After two years spent kicking the can down the road, this month finally sees Dana Gavanski’s long-awaited return to the North East, for a show originally scheduled in Spring 2020. Booked on a promotional run in support of her acclaimed debut album Yesterday Is Gone, the eventual gig at Bobik’s on Saturday 5th March will instead offer a preview of its successor, with new effort When It Comes due to arrive in April. “In a way, it’s like we’re starting again,” the London-based Canadian-Serbian artist reflects. “It’s been two years, and in that time I’ve lost touch with that old album, so this feels like a bit of a rebirth.”

While Yesterday Is Gone earned favourable comparisons to the likes of Cate Le Bon and Julia Jacklin, the new record undoubtedly represents a more idiosyncratic and playful collection; an adventurous development from a songwriter bent on discovering her own niche.
“I was feeling a bit depressed with everything that was going on, but I was also having issues with my voice and was a little bored with my approach to the guitar,” she recalls, of the period following Yesterday
Is Gone’s release. “I was searching for inspiration…I wanted to be more myself – to be quirkier, weirder and not follow trends. It was about becoming more at ease – both with myself and my music, and discovering ways the two can connect.”

During all the time that’s elapsed, I’ve been questioning music and whether I still want to do it – and ultimately realised that I want more from it

One of the key catalysts in When It Comes’ genesis was the healing of those “lost” vocal cords, an unfortunate factor which further hindered her emergence. “When you have restrictions you want to push them, so when I was having vocal problems I was both working with and against them,” Dana reveals. “I became obsessed with my voice; sometimes I was accepting of my limitations, but on other occasions I didn’t want to and it became quite a moody mix.”

There were instrumental breakthroughs too – notably the introduction of Moog synth and Dana’s embrace of fresher, more playful melodic flourishes. These culminate in an array of illuminating highlights, from the twinkling, almost childlike music box sweetness of opener I Kiss The Night to the stuttering arpeggio rhythms underpinning recent single Indigo Highway. “We had a lot of fun with the Moog and trying to embrace not knowing,” she recalls. “The sound is a little more funky and experimental, but really it was all about exploring and trying to find what each song wanted.”

With last November’s jaunt supporting Porridge Radio their only extended run since pre-Covid times, Dana and her four-piece band are likewise keen to highlight a much-changed live show since their previous visit to Bobik’s in 2019. “During all the time that’s elapsed, I’ve been questioning music and whether I still want to do it – and ultimately realised that I want more from it. I’ve been watching lots of David Bowie and mime stuff, and I’ve been really enjoying those kinds of performative methods. We’re in the middle of rehearsals now and we’re having costumes made. When we first started out I would just spend our shows hiding behind my guitar. I may still do a bit of that…but in my mind at least my approach has changed a lot!”

Dana Gavanski plays Bobik’s on Saturday 5
th March. When It Comes is released on 29th April.


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