When Love Comes is out now!
Last week, Australian singer-songwriter Danika unveiled her debut EP, When Love Comes. We caught up with the musician to chat about the release, the triple j unearthed high competition at 16, performing live and so much more!
Tell us a bit about how you began your musical journey, and your background in music…
When I think about my journey with music, I see it everywhere in my memories, all around me in one way or another. I think that just means I’ve been drawn to music from a young age. I started learning guitar at 15 and busking soon after that, which used to cover fuel to get to and from school when I got my licence.
You were a finalist in the triple unearthed high competition when you were 16. What prompted you to enter the comp and how do you think initiatives like this help give emerging artists a wider platform? I sure was. Initiatives for youth are so important. Things kicked off with another local initiative when I was 16, which was a 6 month mentorship program for young creatives. I joined for songwriting and with my mentor we set 2 goals; to make an EP of original songs and to upload a song to Unearthed High.
It was surreal to be selected in the top 6 - from a bedroom hobby to getting kudos from a national radio station I’d grown up listening to, it was very encouraging. Initiatives can show you early in life what you’re capable of, how to overcome doubt and send you in the direction you want to go.
Congratulations on the release of your debut EP When Love Comes! Walk us through the concepts and themes explored on the release…
Thank you! Well if the title isn’t a give away, love has clearly been explored here. Or… lack of. There’s a fair bit of tension in these songs, the shadowy, painful realms of love. ‘What is love? Baby, don’t hurt me’ vibes - just more alternative folk. I hope that everyone who listens feels just a little more understood and less alone because love fucking hurts - and i’m not limiting this to romantic relationships, this is also complex family dynamics, low self-worth, boundaries, all that messy human stuff that can be so hard to understand and navigate
The EP fuses together sonic threads of indie-folk, soul and jazz. How did you arrive at the overall exploration of sound on the release?
I'm a folk artist that was swallowed up into the neo-soul hip-hop jazz underworld of Melbourne for a few years. My musical influences cross pollinated and that’s how I have cultivated this sound.
Could you talk us through your creative process when writing and recording this collection of sons, and how the EP evolved whilst you were creating it?
I write to soothe myself. That’s why a lot of my songs are a little uneasy and raw in their content. I go to the guitar with my emotions and I play. Sometimes a song comes out, sometimes I just put the guitar down and feel lighter. I have a lot of fun writing sometimes, I add little bits of humour in there. But it's so satisfying to untangle these confusing emotions into short verses and choruses that really summate what i feel. It’s the feeling of being understood, even if it’s just by myself ha.
Which song off When Love Comes would you pick to play to someone who had never heard your music, to make them an instant fan?
Hmmm! Probably For Me or When Love Comes.
What’s one line from the EP you find at times could be stuck in your head? Or a line that you come back to?
"I’m still working it out" still feels rather potent. The outro for me has that line repeated. I’m quite heady, anxious in the mind, always trying to figure things out and be a step ahead, so I think this link is not only catchy but very true.
If When Love Comes was a piece of pre-exisiting visual art, which artwork would it be and why?
There’s a local artist here in Melbourne called Maya Irving and her art is a somatic, abstract expression representing the layers of her self-discovery, using the medium of paint on canvas, trying to shed the weight of conditioning to get in touch with her authentic self. She’s pouring all the chaos, the beauty, the ugly, and fundamentally her truth, out of her into her art. I resonate with that deeply.
Can fans expect to see you on the road performing soon? And what can we expect from one of your live shows?
I bloody hope so - I’m pretty sick of lockdown that is for sure, and I think we’re looking to do a Melbourne and Sydney show soon. What you can expect is truth, beauty (this could almost be a quote from The Whitlams - what a tune). But yeah, I’m pretty notorious for pouring my heart out when playing live. So, expect emotions, hopefully you’ll feel your own. And then silliness too, gotta keep the balance.
Changes all the time, right now it’s Adrienne Lenker.
Adrienne Lenker haha.
Album that has had the most impact on you?
Maple Glider's new record To Enjoy Is The Only Thing is so good. Old friend and I’m massively proud of her.
How do you define your musical style in 3 words?
Guitar, voice, emotions.
Best song of 2021 so far?
Amyl and the Sniffers - Maggot - hahah so outrageous.
If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?
I’m not a massive movie buff - grew up without a tv so i’m not in the habit (but then again i grew up without social media … ). BUT my musical style and ability aside - a movie i watched lately, Call Me By Your Name, filled me with such warmth and longing, yes I’m late to the party but Timothée Chalamet, eat your heart out.
Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?
Miley Cyrus, too broke for Foxtel.
What was the first song you loved to sing?
I have a memory of busting out Time to Say Goodbye by Andrea Bocelli when i was about five around the house haha. Very random but I just listened to it again then and I can see the appeal - those runs are like a vocal rollercoaster and the string section wooooph!
A song you would love to cover on tour?
Both Sides Now - Joni Mitchell.
Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?
Blonde - Frank Ocean
First concert you went to?
Cat Empire - Beach Hotel, Byron Bay. Climbed a tree to get a view.
Best concert you have been to?
A couple of weeks after I moved to Melbourne, some mates and I rode our bikes through the city to see five members from The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra do a free, cryptic pop up cover show of Radiohead in the spiegeltent. That was insane. Also Oumou Sangaré at Womadelaide 2017, also Mildlife and Z*F*E*X at strawberry fields.
First album you ever bought?
I got the vinyl of Carole King's Tapestry.
Would you rather be a Spice Girl or a Backstreet Boy?
If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?
Ummmm, there’s already a ginger, things would get weird. Lets roll with turmeric. That's a terrible name and a terrible joke... is it even a joke? I’m not sure. Ginger and turmeric are both root... vegetables? Turmeric has a very golden colour.. Makes me wonder why people with red hair are referred to as ginger… ginger is a very bland colour.
Most memorable show you’ve ever performed?
2019 Strawberry Fields! I had a female choir and band perform with me! 16 of us were up on stage, I made stage props and it was just epicly magic.
Guilty music pleasure?
Hmmm, I dunno, what’s not ‘cool’ that I get down to?? Naaa everyone is bad ass, but a song that is not my usual style is Willow’s new absolute banger Meet Me At Our Spot. And also Tyler, The Creator’s record IGOR.
If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?
Adrienne Lenker. When you’re fanning, you’re fanning.
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry. Lil Nas X is doing some great things in challenging homophobic culture, with such confidence - totally redefining. Billie Eillish is just the best.
What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?
Being ordinary is not a bad thing, kookaburra’s ducks and owls baby.
The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician? Triple J unearthed High 2011, really showed me it was possible. I speak about hard things, and many many many people thank me for doing it. It's rewarding to connect with people through my music, and to feel seen and accepted in that space too. The longing for human connection can be a strong driving force.
When Love Comes is out now!