DVNA Talks Making Her ‘All My Friends’ EP Feel Like A Live Jazz Show

One of the more jazzed up pop offerings of 2020 has come from the GC’s DVNA (pronounce it Dana) in All My Friends, a collection of conversations with her mates about life and love and all the things that come with those, turned into a jazzy, hooky lil EP.

To chat through it – Nic Kelly’s in Bold, DVNA’s in not-bold.

I just had a listen to the a EP and now I’m in this beautiful, woozy kind of mood and I feel good. Do you want people to feel good after they listen to this? Is that the intention?

Of course! I want them to walk away feeling inspired, and in a creative, good mood!

What do you think it represents for you as an artist at the moment?

I believe it’s just the beginning. And I have a lot more that I want to say, and I say that in my song More To Give, I have a lot more to give to people. But, I feel like this is a good start. It’s got the playful little numbers and then the ones that mean a little bit more and represent me as a person, and as an artist, and what I was brought up on… what values I was brought up on.

You’re definitely sitting in a very unique place, sonically, too. I mean, I hear like a little bit of Jorja Smith, little bit of Tom Misch, sort of energy, but with a with a really pop kind of sensibility to it, which I don’t know if anyone’s doing at the moment particularly in this country. I want to go through a couple of tracks in particular. I want to talk about Why You Gotta Be So Nice, because I literally giggled the first time I listened to that. I think it’s so much fun.

So, my EP is called All My Friends because it is about conversations with my friends. And this subject has just come up heaps over the last couple of years. We go on dates, and sometimes someone can be a little too nice and not have enough… you know… oomph to them! Like… a lady just likes to be thrown around sometimes. But respectfully! And yeah, this whole EP is just a collection of stories between myself and my friends.

I’d heard some of those stories, I’d heard some of the very early stuff, I’d heard Sushi In Tokyo… and then Half Past Sober just comes in and knocks me on my fucking feet. It’s had some time to sit with folks – what does that song mean to you at the moment?

I have always loved that song because of the rawness of it, and the honesty within the lyrics. It’s another side of me. There have been the more poppy songs, the more soulful sort of tunes, but this one’s a little stripped back. I kind of wanted to show the world that more raw side of me and there’s plenty more of that to come. I still love what it represents and the story that I’ve told in it.

You did a really good job with it. Tell me about the the story of The Sax Man because I love the way you’ve weaved this amazing narrative into it.

So I was making the the intro track for the EP, and I still hadn’t really worked out the full concept yet. I was staying at my Mum’s at the time, because of COVID I had just moved out of my place, I was ready to move to Melbourne and second wave came through so yeah, had to move in with Mum and I bumped into a sax player that I knew from a gig, like months and months ago. And I said, “maybe I should just flick you through a track and you can see what you think of it…” and he sent it back, this amazing jazz saxophone that immediately gave me this concept of a sax busker because the EP itself is centered around a performance. And I thought maybe I could pick him up from the beginning. And then he weaves in and out throughout the EP, and at the very end, that’s when he goes crazy and unleashes his sax playing.

I love it. There’s layers to this shit, DVNA.

Yeah, it’s a little narrative! I wanted to kind of tell a story. And you know, we can’t really go out and experience live music at the moment, so the EP is is a live gig in itself.

What does the actual live show feel like?

It’s pretty much exactly that. We start off with me on the way to the club, picking up this sax busker and we just dive straight in. We go in with Sushi… straight off the bat. That’s always a nice little number to start off with. And then we do a lot of things different to the EP, I wanted to incorporate really live elements into the set. So different hits and different accents and different structures in the songs. I didn’t want to just to have it exactly like the EP. But yeah, it’s very fun. It feels so good to be back on the stage again.

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