This isn't the first time that DANA has featured on Dazed's pages. Back in 2014, photographer Petra Collins spoke to her as part of Dazed's US-centric States of Independence series. At the time, DANA was going by her birth name, Dana Wright, and making punk rock with her band Dentata. Since then she's gone solo and started making music on a very different tip, swapping raw guitar energy for rap and R&B-inspired electronic production. She calls the style “stripper jams”, which is a more literal title than you might think: Wright actually spent some time working as a waitress in a strip club, and wondered what the tracks being played over the club's sound system might sound like from a feminine perspective.
The video for DANA's latest release “Head” (directed by friend and frequent collaborator Claire Edmondson) sees the R&B artist kidnap a guy she can't stop thinking about, put him in the trunk of her car, and get him out of her sight for good. Watch the video and read a quick Q&A with the artist below.
Your solo music is pretty different to what you were making in Dentata. What does R&B offer that being in a rock band didn't?
DANA: I think genre is dead and it's impossible for me to be tied down to one subculture and only be one thing. I'm a product of all my influences which include many different styles of music and art. I'm evolving naturally and doing whatever my heart desires. There's no real motive behind my evolution.
Why did you want to work on solo music?
DANA: I've always done my own thing and been very independent. I can change and grow and can be totally selfish with my art as a solo artist.
What did you and director Claire Edmondson discuss before shooting the video for “Head”?
DANA: Because the song itself is very, very light and sweet and dreamy I wanted the video to contrast that so it could represent both sides of my personality and artistry. Since the content of the song is about not being able to get someone out of my head, I wanted the concept to be about what I would do to get the person out of my head. I'm not quite sure if my head and trunk are the same thing but I wanted to kidnap the guy, tie him up, and take him somewhere to get rid of him. My family always has my back and since my cousin rides motorcycles my mind immediately went to what I might do to fix that problem.
Tell us about the lyrical themes of “Head”.
DANA: I wrote “Head” about this male stripper I was dating for like two minutes. After I wrote the song I totally got over him and I forget he even existed now. My childhood friend Shane who lived on my street growing up is a producer and sent me the rough instrumental, I wrote it the first time I listened to it.
What does the rest of 2016 have in store for you, musically and personally?