Q & A with Danimals’ Jonti Danilewitz

Danimals are definitely an Aussie act to watch. As the winners of the Tooheys Extra Dry: The Lab competition, the band spent time in New York working with a who’s who of the music industry including Mark Ronson, Santigold, Sean Lennon, and heaps more. I recently caught up with the band’s founder Jonti Danilewitz to chat about that experience, the band’s new single, and the summer festival circuit.

Danimals with Mark Ronson and Santigold

Danimals with Mark Ronson and Santigold

You are the winners of the Tooheys Extra Dry: The Lab competition, which saw you head to New York and work with some amazing musicians like Mark Ronson, Sean Lennon, and the Dap Kings. What can you tell me about that trip?
That week of song writing was a multi-sensory experience, not unlike making love for the first time in a tub of candyfloss and synthesisers, with fireworks spraying out of the lighting above.

What do you think these collaborations brought to your sound?
Communicating in a collaboration for songs with specific pop sensibility can be tricky, and we’d like to put mention that everyone who we worked with were totally humble and amazing people to play with – true collaborators.

You returned to New York again after a quick trip home around Christmas. What were you up to there that time around?
We recorded one of the collaborations from the songwriting week with Mark Ronson at one of the most famous recording studios on the planet: Electric Lady Studios in Greenwich Village, NYC. It was built for Jimi Hendrix, and is the birthplace of albums from Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Bowie. It was a totally humbling experience.

What is it about New York that keeps you coming back?
The record stores (A-1, Ear Wax etc), Death by Audio in Brooklyn. It’s like a monolith of interest where everybody with any interest can find a clan of like-minded people.

You’re coming back to launch your new double A-side single “Hornet’s Nest/Christmas Worms Quest for Fresh Apples.” What can you tell me about the songs?
“Hornet’s Nest” is about sticking your hand in a hornet’s nest, and “Christmas Worms” is about a little worm looking for love near Christmas time.

Is a Danimals album too far away?
The album is called Twirlygig by Danimals, and you’ll hear it all in 2010.

You started as a solo artist but the project has grown to become a collaborative effort. How has that process been for you?
It’s a learning process like any other. It’s a lot more work than making music by myself with my bedroom setup, but the end result to experiment further and add more to the experience of the music.

You just played Peats Ridge, The Big Day Out and Laneways. What do you like about the festival scene?
Being being to float around and see other bands, and relish in summer vibes.

Despite all these opportunities you’ve had recently many people would still be unfamiliar with your music. Why do music fans need to check you out?
No one needs to listen to Danimals. However, I’ve always had fun creating Danimals music for my own pleasure, and if you wanted to share in on the fun, anyone is welcome to come out and play in the milky night.

The final track from Danimals’ The Lab session will feature as the soundtrack for Tooheys Extra Dry’s next national advertising campaign. We can see their winner’s journey in a fly-on-the-wall documentary slated for a March release.

Image used with permission from Peer Group Media

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