Dancing Heals Into The Night
Melbourne-based four piece Dancing Heals' self-funded and released debut album was recorded at Red Door Sounds in Collingwood over a period of 12 months, "when we could afford it," says Dancing Heals songwriter and sometimes singer Dan Trakell. That process is part of why 'Into the Night' is in many ways a layered chronicle of the band's genesis and continuum.
"Recording over time is great for evolving songs," says Trakell's songwriting partner, Jon-Lee Farrell. Adds Trakell, "The bass and the drums and guitars were done in the studio. The rest of the vocals and harmonies were done at Jon's and at Mandy's house. That's the luxury of no exception. And of having time."
Produced by Mandy Kane and mixed by Tony Espie - with input on one track from Paul 'Woody' Annison - it features songs from across Dancing Heals' three-year history. But even the oldest compositions on the album are informed by the band's recent experiences, particularly during the recording process, which was punctuated by an influential month on the west coast of the United States in October 2011, during which they played a run of shows at venues including the Key Club on Sunset Strip and Hotel Café in Hollywood.
"We really like Los Angeles," says Farrell. "Everyone there is trying to do something creative and artistic, the blue skies and palm trees appealed to us. The musical history of Laurel Canyon and taking long drives through the Joshua Tree National Park was an inspiring experience."
Some key musical influences during the recording of Into the Night were Doves, Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac and The Beatles, all artists who put melody and storytelling at the forefront.
For Dancing Heals co-songwriters Trakell and Farrell those two elements were key in choosing the tracks on their debut long player. "We just put the best songs we had," says Trakell. "This is not a conceptualised album. There are definitely threads running through it because of our experiences, but first and foremost these are our best songs." Another consideration was to ensure the track list was "
cross genre. Something we can build on and leave some doors open for us, so we're not suddenly pigeon holded," adds Farrell.
Says Mandy Kane, "One of my favourite things about working with Dancing Heals is the dynamic between Jon and Daniel as principal songwriters. A creative tension combined with mutual admiration is always present when the two are in the same room, and their songwriting styles are distinctly contrasting."
The album includes the single 'Diamonds', which garnered airplay on the US college and internet radio stations, and was added to the KCRW music library. The music video (by impressive rising filmmaker Tim White) for 'Diamonds' received rotation airplay on ABC's Rage, screening for five consecutive weeks and culminating in the prime time Saturday morning slot of 9-10am.
Within weeks of the album's completion the follow-up single 'Live and Learn' was placed on a promo campaign in the US for USA TV's hit series 'Covert Affairs' and was played on KROQ show 'Jonesy's Jukebox' as well as receving rotation airplay on 'Under the Radar' and influential show on KACV in Aamarillo, Texas.
The album and single, Live and Learn, both achieved top 25 and top 20 status on the national US Specialty Radio Airplay Charts in April 2012.
Dancing Heals are:
Jon-Lee Farrell (vocal, guitar, keys)
Daniel Trakell (vocal, guitar, keys)
Jarrad Long (drums)
James Lovie (bass, vocals)Dancing Heals debut album Into The Night launches
Sydney launch: Upstairs Beresford on Friday, July 6th
Melbourne launch: Cherry Bar on Friday, July 13th
Interview with Jon-Lee FarrellQuestion:
How would you describe Into The Night? Jon-Lee Farrell
: Into The Night is a rock and roll album which is a product of the band we started, three years ago. It took us three years to write Into The Night and two years to record it. Into The Night is an evolving album as some of the songs are older and others are new. Question:
Can you talk about working with Mandy Kane? Jon-Lee Farrell
: I've known Mandy Kane for five years and he is really comfortable producing music at his house and we could rework songs together because we trust him. Mandy Kane has a good feel for electronic music and even though we are a rock and roll band we were able to add a lot of elements that we envisioned in the sound, that otherwise we couldn't have done ourselves. Question:
Do you write your own songs? What's your inspiration? Jon-Lee Farrell
: Yup! We are inspired by the general spectrum of life. A lot of the songs on Into the Night are love songs and I believe a lot of the best songs in the world are love songs. We are also inspired by travelling as Dan (Daniel Trakell) and I wrote songs in America when we were driving through the dessert and we could only see wide open spaces.Question:
What music/artists do you listen to when you are not playing your own? Jon-Lee Farrell
: Our music tastes vary amongst the members of Dancing Heals, we all agree on bands such as Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac and Band Of Horses - we enjoy cross genre bands such as rock bands that can appeal to a wider audience. Question:
What is the story behind the band's name? Jon-Lee Farrell
: A really good friend of the band came up with the name Dancing Heals; his also a cameo member (laughing)! His a very wise man and the name just came to him!Question:
Do you prefer performing live or recording? Jon-Lee Farrell
: They are both very different things although I think I prefer recording. Live is instant whereas with recording you have a chance to layer music and work on songs in greater detail and if you screw it up you are able to go back to the drawing board. Live is a bit of a risk
What/who was your inspiration to go into the music industry? Jon-Lee Farrell
: Wanting to work for yourself (laughing) and a need to create. I grew up in Launceston, Tasmania and Dan (Daniel Trakell) grew up in Ballarat and Jarrad (Jarrad Long) is from Newcastle and I think it's like a small town thing! In a small town there isn't a lot to do so you listen to music and see it as an escape from your scary home town. Question:
What has been your favourite part of becoming a music artist? Jon-Lee Farrell
: The travel and being able to constantly hang out with my best friends.Question:
If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be? Jon-Lee Farrell
Maybe Bruce Springsteen because I was listening to him, this morning! Question:
What has been the biggest challenge for Dancing Heals? Jon-Lee Farrell
: Trying to do, what we want to do, independently.
Interview by Brooke Hunter
Image: Iska Photography