INTERVIEW: Lana Dagales
Interview with Greg from Lana Dagales (Lana Dagales' e-mail address)
By: Jeb Branin
There are some records that grow on you with repeated listens... records that over time you may learn to like in spite of not really connecting with them initially. By contrast there are also records that blow you away as soon the music starts flowing out of the speakers. The debut 7" by LANA DAGALES was one of the later. As soon as I heard that jet-engine bass start rumbling, those frenetic drums start pounding and all the demented screaming, I knew I was a fan. Before my needle had tracked all the way across side one I knew I wanted to do an interview.
CM: I try to avoid asking for history lessons as much as I can but considering LANA DAGALES only has one 7" out it probably makes sense to get a little background on the band...
Greg: Well, Etay and I met each other around the end of '97. Etay had just made it to CA after touring with his previous band Nekhei Naatza, they were a great Israeli hardcore band which is now dysfunctional. We pretty much started to jam off and on for quite some time in hopes of finding a guitar player who was interested in jamming. Probably around the middle of '98, we decided that finding a guitar player that would work out wasn't going to happen any time soon so the best thing is to work with our resources. Around this same time, we found Emelye who would fill the shoes as our lead singer. By the end of '98 we recorded a demo together which never really made it out too far cause by the time it was complete, Emelye's path of life had turned in a new direction. She decided to relocate to Virginia where she was going to start college. It was a clean break up and there was no hard feelings. Now I was stuck doing vocals--again, this trend seems to occur fairly often in bands, not that I didn't like doing them, but I just wanted to focus on bass playing in this band where I was afraid that singing would inhibit that. We wound up recording a demo for our final project--Etay and I went to recording school--on a 24 track. This wound up being the 7" on Boredom Noise. Thus, the story continues...
CM: Do you think it fundamentally changed the sound of the band to go from a female vocalist to a male one?
Greg: Yes and no. Emelye sang low end where as I sing more of a mid range. Also, we took a small break from shows after she left. This gave us time to sit back and write new material before playing out again. After our small break from shows, we wound up with shorter and faster songs. Where as before, we had a small hint of sludge to our sound. I guess the last song on the Boredom Noise record does as well, although, not as slow as before.
CM: I'm sure you get sick of people asking but what is the story behind the band's name? It's not your typical "tough hardcore" kinda name.
Greg: Lana Dagales is a word we learned through a video so we are not sure that the carry over is correct in spelling since this was not written down in English. It was actually an Iroquoy word which translates to "Destroyer of Town". This was a word used in spite of early presidential leaders like Washington, who was a General when he acquired this name, Jackson and Jefferson.
CM: (Laughs) So it is a typical hardcore name... just not in English! I assume it is pronounced the way it is spelled since you were trying to translate it to English?
Greg: Yeah pretty much.
CM: It used to be that two-piece bands were seen as "gimmick" bands. Do you think they are now being seen as more "legitimate" by people in the underground...
Greg: I think so, the funny thing is, you look at bands like the Ruins who started in the late '80s and Godstomper (mid '90s) and other bands who only have 2 instruments and a front man like (early) Agents of Satan and Discordance Axis... plus many more I can't think of right now. It seems like there are more people who play instruments out there in the scene. This (my theory at least), has caused people to pay attention to the musicianship of a song and not just how catchy a riff is. Since there is only two people, this forces these bands to really work their instruments (for those unfamiliar with the ruins, you need to see them at least one time to really understand where this is coming from) which causes people to look at it as legitimate. Maybe it took over a decade of this stuff, but it is happening. This theory has happened over and over again. Just like Jimmi Hendrix was off the wall for putting distortion on his guitar the way he did, then Sabbath for the intense heaviness which was absurd at the time. But after years of sticking it out, there will always be people who understand it eventually.
CM: Which raises the question, I guess, "Does it really matter how people view the validity of two person bands?"
CM: Do you feel it puts more pressure on you live since you are basically the only "frontman"? Well you and your dreadlocks (laughs)...
Greg: No not really. Basically, you either have a good show or a bad show, doesn't matter how many people you hide behind, people can still tell if you are wreaking the place up. Furthermore, I encourage everyone to watch Etay's drumming! Seriously, he does a great job at bearing half the load in the live and recorded settings. So, anyone who see's us play, watch Etay! This will help relieve the frontman duty!!!
CM: When you decided to release the 7" on your own label did you originally have the intention of releasing other people's stuff as well?
Greg: Yes, this was just a kick in the pants to get me moving. I knew that eventually I would want to put out bands that I was friends with and really enjoyed.
CM: Is this the first time you have done a label?
Greg: Yep, I am still a rookie. I have to thank Jon from Satan's Pimp right here for helping me out with numerous contact numbers as well as very good advice along the way. It has helped me out tremendously! Thanks Jon!!!
CM: So what has been the hardest and easiest things about doing it?
Greg: The hardest thing is dealing with the crap that pressing and printing plants dish out. Through my personal experiences, things like pressing plants destroying lacquers, then trying to convince me to have a grumpy man to re-cut a laquer for free. Not a good idea, didn't work either to let you know (laughs)! Or sending records to the wrong address and hoping that your neighbor is nice enough to drag 5 boxes down the block and inform you that they received them, Not good to leave boxes worth a bunch of money in my neighborhood! Furthermore, these businesses not responding to numerous phone calls due to the fact they don't want to admit they've screwed something up. Finally, getting the covers to a record under-pressed, then to make things worse, only 75%-80% of them are usable and the rest are trash. Then the icing was applied to the cake when I am told that I have to pay for extra film because something happened, yet no explanation was ever given. hmmm, what about the extra records that have no covers? The easiest thing is receiving the final product! Giving the band their share! Hearing a band that you really want to put out say "yeah, we are completely into doing something"! Trading your records with other labels for theirs--you come across some amazing releases that way! Going to the P.O. Box and finding mail there! These easy things are what make the concept of a record label time consuming, yet worth while!
CM: How far along is the 7" for Satan's Pimp Records?
Greg: Well, it is getting pushed along, we are hoping to see it within the next 3-6 months. Things are still in the air, Jon would be the one to talk to about that. I do know that there are a number of releases that need to hit daylight before the Lana Dagales 7" goes into press.
CM: Will that 7" be along the same lines as the first one?
Greg: Sort of, probably a little more developed. The songs are shorter on this one and recorded better. You can expect 12 songs and 2 noise tracks on this one!
CM: Recorded better, huh? So what grade did you get from recording school for the first one (laughs)?
Greg: I think we did pretty well, it was more of a concept thing, you pass or fail if I remember right. The final was worth about 30% of your semester grade or something like that. You basically needed to hate your partner and argue the whole time or not know what the hell is going on after 9 months or not show up. The quality of the recording didn't really matter too much since the theory applied that everyone likes to hear music differently. It was all about how well you could align the 24 track, use phantom power, EQ, use the patch bay and things like that--fundamentals of being an engineer. Etay and I pretty much had it down well enough to stumble through our recording without any trip ups!!!
CM: Any plans for a full length release yet?
Greg: We have talked about it, but it is more up to what comes out in our next writing sessions.
CM: How would you compare your other band BRAINOIL to LANA DAGALES?
Greg: Brainoil is pretty much everything Lana Dagales is not. Where Lana Dagales is short and speed up hardcore, Brainoil is slow to mid tempo heavy rock / sludge influenced. It is sort of like comparing Discordance Axis to Buzzoven--not that we sound like either of these bands, I am just trying to paint a picture here.
CM: And you've recently joined GOB, right? They just happen to be one of my all time favorites... anything exciting in the works with GOB?
Greg: Yes, I have the honor of filling in as the bassist for GOB! We are trying to work something out which is sort of tricky with all our schedules and locations. All I can say is once we do, I'm sure some form of release is going to come out if not a few!
CM: I'm taking a poll... do you like the term power violence to describe this kind of music?
Greg: Not really, hyper speed hardcore influenced, hardcore / grind influence or something like that would sound more soothing to the ear for me. That coined phrase has been spent quite some time ago I'm afraid, but if people insist on calling us that, we will learn to live with it.
CM: It is a better description than "Total Crap" tho', isn't it?
Greg: Yes definitely. Although, it could be flattering if you are hearing "total crap" coming out of Britney Spears mouth (laughing).
CM: Any final thoughts?
Greg: Thanks for the interview! People can write Lana Dagales, Boredom Noise, or Brainoil at P.O. Box 11351 Oakland, CA 94611 [email protected], [email protected] or go to www.geocities.com/boredomnoise.