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The 99% Episode #14 with Dana And The Wolf

The Los Angeles based duo and couple Dana and The Wolf have recently turned heads with their edgy approach. Featured in the press including the Clash Magazine and Atwood Magazine, the duo has an electro-pop sequence of songs. They first made an appearance in the scene with releases like Attitude and Him climbing the Spotify Charts and Us Viral Trop 50. Besides their forward way of interacting with each other, they also have an innovative element in their published music videos. Capturing the likes of sci-fi, their views have skyrocketed to nearly 14k views on Youtube by taking it to the next level. Listen and read in on the duo as we speak to them in the 99% Podcast featured on our Soundcloud.

Listen To Dana And The Wolf’s 99 Percent Podcast Interview Below:

[00:00]Steereo:

We’re here today with Dana and the Wolf, thanks for joining us on the 99% Podcast. Tell us a little bit about where you’re from and what the music scene is like there in comparison to LA, and ultimately why you’ve chosen Los Angeles now.

Dana And The Wolf:

We don’t really know the music scene too well in Chicago, other than the hip-hop that came out of there, but we weren’t in the music scene when we were in Chicago. We actually moved out there for film because we went to film school. I went for directing and then Dana went for acting, and then we met out there and we came out here and we thought we were going to go to Hollywood to make movies, but we got into music instead. We started a band for a fun side project, like a hobby to do together, and it just kind of felt magical whenever we would rehearse. We were at the point where we were like maybe we should just be a band and go all in for that.

Steereo:

How long have you guys been and based in L.A?

Dana And The Wolf:

Just seven years.

Steereo:

For anyone who’s listening in on our podcast today and is considering a move from any place around the world to Los Angeles because L.A. is the entertainment capital of the world, what tips would you have for them?

Dana And The Wolf:

Don’t do it unless you absolutely have to. I don’t know where I’d move instead, I mean maybe anywhere. It’s just really pricey to live here. I mean we do everything from our room anyway and you can do everything online. I feel like unless you need a change it is very hard to get started here as well. I would say like we were living in a horrible situation. We’ve always had roommates because it’s so hard to afford to live here. But I think the point is that you can get your equipment and you can soundproof your closet, and you know get a cool microphone and use your macbook and do so much in your own room, and put it out online and it can go all over the world. You can get big no matter where you are?

Steereo:
What’s keeping you in L.A.? I did a move from Dublin to Los Angeles mainly to take advantage of the incredible opportunities that it presents and puts in my path. It’s different for every single person, but what is keeping you in Los Angeles?

Dana And The Wolf:

What is keeping us out here is that we have a life here, and a community. If we left we’d have start over somewhere else. So it’s kind of like we’re stuck here a little bit. We do enjoy going to a lot of the venues and there’s always new people. There’s something to do every single night, so I’m a very social person so I love that about L.A. I’m a more introverted person so I don’t go out as much. The other day I went to a party and they had a meditation group meditation after. It was very L.A.

Steereo:
Daniel, you spoke about the business side of things. Obviously, they call it the music business, and it looks like today’s artists are ultimately their own CEOs. They’re running everything; they’re running their social, they’re running their brand, they understand the strategy to release a record. How are you guys coping with that, because you did point to the fact that if you were just here for business in L.A. that’s a huge opportunity, but how do you guys deal with the artistry side of things and the business side of things which are both very legitimate sides?

Dana And The Wolf:

It’s always changing depending on how big our our team is which has grown. The more your team grows, the less you have to do on the business side of things. There’s no way to cope, you just have to do everything. Go with what’s working like our Facebook definitely is not doing amazingly so we just kind of mainly focus on Instagram but we still post on Facebook you know. Vero is this new app we’re doing pretty decently on. We have a little bit of an audience there and they support us. You just have to do it. Our life is insane and we can never schedule anything. We always want to write but then we can’t we do this, or we can’t do this because we have to write. There’s no answer, and at the same time, whenever you actually have time to write it doesn’t mean you’re going to write anything, because writing is a creative thing.

Steereo:
What was it like for your first break in the music business? For those that want to do this as a career, can you give any tips about mistakes that you would have made initially, diving into the music business?

Dana And The Wolf:

There was one thing that happened where we started using Instagram stories to promote our music just like get us out there a little bit and it was working really really well we were getting a lot of really engaged, happy listeners. What we probably should have done is gone all in on that ad, because it was working so well, but instead we kept it at like a very low steady rate. I think we just should have put all of our money towards that because it would have blown up. Even if it’s in one country, we would have gotten tons of really happy diehard fans. We got a lot from it, but we just didn’t go that far into it, and now Instagram stories cost more, everything is always changing. There are so many variables in it, it’s kind of like a science. It’s harder to get those listeners; maybe the ad is different so it’s just not like delivering the same numbers, so if something is working you really have to just go for it.

Dana and The Wolf via Facebook

Steereo:

I think we live on social media and it changes so fast so I think you can’t be slow. Vero is another thing people can add to an already long list of Instagram Facebook Twitter and Snapchat, so do you become really good at one or would you suggest you’re across all twenty-five platforms?

Dana And The Wolf:

You have to do as much as you can and it honestly doesn’t take much more time to post on all the networks you just I mean you do have to write something different for each one and make sure it’s kind of native to the platform, but post on all of them. But if one is working way more than the others, invest a little bit more in that. We’re not running them all, we’re kind of just focusing on two two or three. If you stretch yourself, that doesn’t work that well.

Steereo:
Where are you guys pulling your inspiration from when you’re making or writing or creating? Where is that inspiration coming from for the music video of the song? From a video perspective, I thought the creativity was incredible. So we’re looking to touch on where you guys draw inspiration to keep creating this type of art.

Dana And The Wolf:

I think honestly it just comes from listening, and then some divine source sends it down to. You just put it put it down on paper and then you make it happen. I think inspiration comes from everywhere I think. I think your inspiration comes mostly from injustices of the world. If you’re not a huge music fan, you shouldn’t be making music. I think that’s a good thing to argue? I don’t know maybe not but I just feel like I just listened to a ton of music from all over the place and when we make videos we’re watching a ton of music videos. You just draw inspiration. Sometimes you know where the inspiration comes from, you’re like oh this is totally stealing from Drake here, or this is totally her in this way. One of the scenes in the music video is me lying naked with a diamond choker and I’m throwing up money, and I have money all around me but it’s Monopoly money. I’m kind of bathing in it and like the joke is that we get a chance to make a music video, but we had no money. We have these glamorous things in mind that we can’t actually afford to do. So the joke is that instead of lying in real money, we’re lying in monopoly money. It was about making the point that no, we don’t have the money, but we have the vision so we’re going to do this seriously.

Steereo:

Even as a songwriter, you’ll wake up sometimes with a lyric or a melody, and you won’t know where it came from. It’s okay to be okay with not knowing where that inspiration comes from, whether that energy or whether something you thought about a couple of weeks ago, or someone says something and inspires an idea. Or whether you’re pulling from heartbreak, or despair or fear or family issues. The inspiration question for me is always a difficult one because everyone’s idea of what inspires them is completely different. I like the fact that you went all in with that divine source type of thing because that’s relatively deep for a Monday after drinking a load of tequila.

Dana And The Wolf:

I’m half serious half joking because I don’t really think it comes from something divine, I think it comes from all the things you’ve heard before. It’s like when you’re dreaming and your’re pulling something you heard last week, or a red dress you saw walk by, and you just watched Lost so you’re on an island, and it pulls in everything you took in consciously and subconsciously and it get thrown into a dream. It can be from years ago or your childhood, but you never make the conscious choice of what your dream will be, it just comes to you. You don’t always know where it comes from. I feel like normally I can figure out what I’m stealing, like what song I’m stealing from, and Dana is really good at that too. When we start producing it or we start polishing it, what normally happens is I’ll go to town producing it, put way too much on it, and it turns into a James Bond theme song. She’s like OK hold it let’s make this a little bit sexier. She’s like I pull up this song. She always has a song in mind and says do you hear the drums in that and the snare in that, let’s put that in there. That’s when like you know then it starts really getting polished so sometimes you know where your inspiration is from I guess. That’s kind of what turns it more pop or danceable. We’ll have the dance test where I have him play the song and I just dance to it, and when I can tell I’m getting bored or my body is getting bored, I say okay we have to change the music at this point because I want to start doing a different movement.

Steereo:
Let’s get personal for a second, you guys are a couple, right? The benefits and the drawbacks, from a business perspective. For people who want to be in a band with their significant other, is it the best thing in the world, is it the worst thing in the world?

Dana And The Wolf:

A good benefit of it is that you spend a lot of time with them, and you work on something together. Let’s say you’re at a type of relationship where you’re both opposite and you have nothing in common like ours, it’s nice to have something in common with each other. The downside of that is that you never do anything relationship like, it’s all work. It’s like we’re working all the time, then you want to go to dinner or a date night and we end up talking about the band the whole night, but we can’t help that. A lot of times labels don’t want to invest in a couple band because they’re so scared that they’ll break up because then it’s done. We’ve been together for a decade. I think if we had just started getting together it would be much riskier. I think because we’ve been through so much we kind of know how to work our way through any situation.

Steereo:
So our CEO at Steereo absolutely loves your music. She comes from a tech background, and our big thing is music and tech, and the collaboration, and allowing artists to be discovered in a very authentic way. What are your thoughts on music technology and how has it given you guys or other artists the opportunity to be discovered?

Dana And The Wolf:

I think you should always just try everything. Vero has given us a really big opportunity and we just sort of took a chance on them. They’re funding our music videos, so it’s really awesome. I hope more people get on it at some point because the people that are on it are really cool. I think you should get on any platform you can. You never know which one will lead to other opportunities. Steereo sounded really cool to me because back in the day I thought about becoming an Uber driver just so I could share my music with people. Just play the music and wait for them to ask who is that?

Steereo:

Talking about ride-sharing services and listening to music in cars, if people get in and listen to Dana and the Wolf, what is it you’re trying to make them feel?

Dana And The Wolf:

I want people to feel like they’re listening to something passionate, and that they kind of want to hear more because they want to know where the passion comes from, and what she is singing about. I feel like all of our songs that in common. Whatever topic, it’s something we really care about relaying.

Steereo:

For anyone out there listening right now, deciding to chase their music passion like you guys did or do, what advice would you give them?

Dana And The Wolf:

Make a lot of songs and show your friends, get feedback, and don’t put anything out until you are super confident and proud of it. Don’t dumb it down; people are smarter than you think. We dumbed down some of our shit in the beginning because we thought pop needed to be pretty simple but it’s actually the most complex form of music that we’ve noticed lately. It should be a song you wouldn’t turn off. Something you yourself loves. Although it’s really hard, I feel like with a lot of artists they hate everything they do after they finish it.

Steereo:

What are some of the things that you guys are excited about in the next coming months? Are there any projects you want to promote? What are you excited about working on in the future?

Dana And The Wolf:

Well, we’ve got a video out right now called Lie to Me, that was crazy to work on. We have another video we’re working on called Attitude. We’re just writing a whole bunch of new music. We’ll probably put out a single within the next two months if everything goes right.

Watch ‘Lie to Me’ by Dana and the Wolf:

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Kai McDaniel is a Los Angeles-based writer, lover of entertainment, art, and film.