It’s only hearsay, but Dana T is the bandleader for a late-night talk show that films in an alternate universe Studio 54. Carl Sagan is a guest every night. Catering is mostly dragonfruit. It’s all very casual, yet very intense.
The other rumors are true: Dana T makes delightfully odd music that “draws you in, even as it baffles you.” (Little Village Magazine, Nov. 2015). The sonic trademarks are horns and strings fighting alongside melodic, Motown bass-lines. The drumming is frenetic and the guitar parts are shape-shifting monsters, fuzzed-to-heck riffs one moment and a clean spank the next.
It’s an arrangement style that isn’t too far from early Scott Walker or the Beach Boys, but the sound itself is a lush funk, a series of ethereally pretty vocals slinging it all together on the griddle. There’s a chaotic sort of satisfaction and kismet to it all, as if questions and answers have been written on separate scraps of paper, hurled in the air, and correctly landed on top of one another.
His birthday is October 13, 1990. On his 12th birthday, Nelly had the #1 song in America—and, yet, Dana T still felt the need to make music. So he did. He even got a degree in it from the University of Iowa. With his day-job at Flat Black Studios in Iowa City and the generosity of his talent and personality, it’s safe to say he’s been able to cherry-pick from the region’s best musicians in building his wall of groove.
Since 2012, he’s been traveling the USA performing solo and with counterculture weirdo saxophonist Curt Oren by his side. His debut record, tiny mind MASSIVE soul, was released in early 2016. The follow-up, Harsh Forever, is another album of ever-evolving, darkly cosmic disco coming out in the spring 2018.