INTERVIEW: Dande and the Lion release new single 'Twilight Highway'
Sydney 5-piece Dande and The Lion are Tass, Bianca, Abbey, Chris and Nicholas and released their first single in March, the hypnotic, indiepop track ‘Stardust’. Today their release their second single ‘Twilight Highway’, a glorious, summery track with a retro feel, combining synthpop, punk, new wave and a distinct 1980s vibe. It is an appetising taster of what is to come with their debut EP out later this year, and we recently caught up with the band to find out more.
Hey guys! How is life in the Dande and The Lion camp??!
Life is so good! We have a lot going on and we're super excited for the rest of the year; we’re just about to release the new single and video and soon a mini east coast tour.
That new single, ‘Twilight Highway’, is out today and is just your second single. How did the band come together?
Tass and Nicholas met Bianca, who was already performing, and managed to convince her to join them in forming a band. Abbey, who was also performing, joined shortly after fitting in perfectly, but it wasn’t until the four auditioned Chris that Dande and The Lion’s music really came to life.
How did you come up with the name Dande and The Lion?
We were coming up with all sorts of names on our list and one day Tass added Dande and The Lion to it and we just knew that was the best fit to describe our sound and our nature.
Tass: I'm from the West Country in the UK where dandelions are abundant and I've always been fascinated by them. How they change form and look like a totally different flower as they progress through their lifecycle. How they deceptively appear delicate and fragile, yet they are so resilient. I think our sound and how we have come together and how we're evolving really reflects what I see in dandelions. I also think we have a charming Dande side and a fierce, powerful side to us, which is represented by the Lion.
Can you tell us a little about the inspiration and creative process behind ‘Twilight Highway’?
Bianca was experimenting with some sound effects on the synth and decided to play a single note repeatedly. Nicholas asked her what note she was playing and formed the main bass line. Abbey layered the guitar riff and within minutes we had the main riff sorted, which actually became the intro to ‘Twilight Highway’. Nicholas wrote the lyrics with Tass in mind to sing the verses and Bianca to sing the chorus.
Nicholas: Tass couldn’t make the rehearsals that night so I thought I’d punish her haha! In all seriousness, I wanted to push Tass out of her comfort zone and front and centre on the mic. I also envisioned the track having a grounding, earthy tone, almost ‘driving’ the song, which really suits Tass’ voice. I wanted Bianca to sing the chorus and some harmonies as I felt that her vocals would work well in contrast.
There is a bit of throwback/retro feel to the track, with some great 80s indie/punk and new wave vibes throughout. Is there a particular era or style of music that forms part of your musical DNA?
Tass: Not really and that will become more apparent when we release our EP haha!
Abbey: We dabble in all sorts of styles. We all have very different influences, from Nick’s heavy punk rock to the likes of my electro-pop. It’s a really amazing thing when we collaborate; a song can start off as one style and veer into another. ‘Twilight Highway’ is a perfect example of something that started off as a dancey/synth based song and lead its way to a rocky chorus. For us, it’s these special moments where the song materialises in front of you, from no previous riff or idea, creating its own direction. It’s pretty magical.
You performed some stellar gigs last year, including at the Oxford Arts Factory in Sydney. Is there a part of the creative process that you get the most satisfaction from – writing, recording, playing live?
Abbey: Although we love creating our music, I think we all find performing live the most enjoyable! We really love to interact and bond on stage, as well as experience the amazing feeling of sharing our work with a crowd. To create music and have an audience enjoy it is such a good feeling.
Do you have further gigs lined up?
Nick: Yes we do! We have a few scattered across Sydney before we embark on a mini east coast tour in October this year.
Your debut EP is out in September, what can we expect to hear?
Nick: Diversity. We have four songwriters in the band and so the collaboration of these songs offers something different, just like our live shows. With the help of record producer Lachlan Mitchell, we’ve tried to channel our live energy into the recording.
There has been a lot of debate over the last year or so around the treatment of women in the entertainment business. What are your thoughts on gender equality and sexism in the music industry?
Nicholas: There’s definitely still a presence of sexism, like many industries, rearing its ugly head. We’ve seen it and experienced it. But there’s also a presence of change coming into fruition as well within the music industry, a lot stronger than before. The last couple of years there has been a wave of support for females in the industry. And this is a good thing because the more it happens the more it will change people’s perception and acceptance of the norm. But it has to start somewhere and it has to start sometime. What better place than here? What better time than now?
Dande and The Lion consist of three females and two males. As a band, we are just that: a band. We look forward to having our music ogled.
If there is one message you want to put out with your music what would is it?
Nicholas: Be kind. Rewind.
What else is on the cards for Dande and The Lion for the rest of 2019?
We are super keen to be in the midst of lining up a tour in celebration of the EP release later this year and then back into the studio to record some of our latest tracks!