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Zebak & Lady Loch Ness
Wednesday, January 7
Up and coming music artist Dana LaRock hit us up a few weeks back with the drop of her new mix entitled "GoldBooms, SilverBANGS". We made it a point to take the time and listen to all the tracks. Anyone in this industry knows that laying down home grown lyrics and beats is a tedious labor of love, and often times not appreciated. For us, this is something that hits home to many of our musically talented friends and fam, when first getting their start. Some have exceeded their wildest expectations and are living the dream, while others pursue this life purely for inspiration and love.
You may have heard the buzz about this young lady and underground talent.
If not you're in luck. After 2 weeks of numerous email correspondences and a phone call, we finally present to you an exclusive feature interview on this polite and eloquently versed rocker. Originally hailing from Southern Cali, the 23 year old OC native (don't let that fool you), shares her motivation behind GBSG (The Fun Tape) and her future aspirations. Peep the heat below for the full read, and be sure to visit Dana LaRock on her LaRock Cocaine blog (read the interview for details on that- it makes complete sense) and her artist page on Myspace.
How and when did the alter ego "La Rock" come to surface?
"La Rock" surfaced when I returned to California from a short stint in Atlanta back in late 2006 to early 2007. During that time I tested the waters with rap and I wasn't feeling it. I wanted to come back home with something fresh. T La Rock came to mind and I was like hmmm, "La Rock". Eventually I started connecting things with La Rock.The drug cocaine is powerfully addictive and people become easily hooked. For some reason people are attracted to my appearance, so I figured that I would make music that would do just that. Attract and hook people to it.
Have you always aspired to be a music artist- When did you first realize music was your calling?
I actually wanted to be a basketball player at one point (haha), but my height and frail frame kept me from doing so, plus lifting weights was not fun! I've always been surrounded by music, live instruments and old soul records from my parents. When I heard artists like M.I.A and Gravy Train I really started focusing on expanding my own sound. Their musical concepts were completely different than radio music and I fell in love with that.
You just recently dropped your first mix tape "GoldBOOMS, SilverBANGS" (The Fun Tape). Dope title by the way!
For some reason it keeps us thinking about dookie chains and bamboo earrings. What was your motivation behind this mix, and how did you come about the title name?
Thank you! GoldBOOMS, SilverBANGS was pretty much a gift to myself for my birthday. I wanted to show myself that I could create outside the box without help or confirmation as to what was hot or not. I recorded the song "Crusher" and got a good response from it. People began asking for more material. The mix tape was first titled "BOOMS and BANGS", but it wasn't colorful enough for me. Silver and gold kept popping up so I threw it in the mix. The "Fun-Tape" was a later addition. I didn't want people thinking this was an official album, but also not just another mix tape. I recorded each song (non-professionally) out of my bedroom, and they were up-tempo and fun.
Taking a look at your credits, we noticed some noteworthy production help. Give us the lowdown on that.
Yes, I thank everyone who was involved. It may not be much to many people but I was very excited to receive production that was diverse. It ranged from Hip Hop to Electro, coming from the UK, NYC, CA, ATL and TX. The A-Trak beat was actually a scratch session I found via Internet, and I thought it was a cool swing-back track to rap over. I credited him because it was only proper to do so. I have plans of contacting him one way or another! I love him & Kid Sisters approach.
There are quite a few songs that easily stuck out for us. For instance the breakdown of "Elec Trick City" has a distinct throwback sound to the group Cameo, and "Downtown Girls" has some Vanity a-la Prince and the Revolution flavor. Do the 1980's electro-new wave and hip hop period play a distinct role in your current style, as well as lend inspiration toward crafting your 22 tracks on GBSB mix?
"Elec Trick City" was an ode to L.A. when I was living there. I'm like a nomad, I've lived in too many places!. I picked it out from a batch of beats by a producer by the name of Licks from the UK. He's a talented dude. I basically sang about everything I experienced in L.A. since returning (and Pinkberry is my favorite!). For "Downtown Girls", I love how it's reminiscent of the artist Vanity 6. Everyone hits the nail on the head when they describe it.
I like "LA Lovefest" too, I tried to channel my sexy and get my Janet J on (haha!). The 80's-esque dance style definitely had a big influence. In my opinion the artists who made that style of music seemed to be more free and rebellious than others. For my mini track "Hello Girls" I wanted to buzz close on Vanity 6 & Skky with the whole telephone line and echoed talk segments. Fun! Brings back memories from the 90's, aka Michel'le. Wow!
Who's a part of your family? Is there anyone that you would like to extend proper dap to?
I have parents that are self taught pianists. Funny thing is my father just found out I recorded music. I also have 3 totally opposite sisters and a younger brother. I do want to add my twin sister! She's like the girly/model version of me (haha!). One of her sons looks exactly like me. Dope right? Maybe my kid will look like her... I love my nephews so much though. Pound, Pounds to everyone- fam, friends and foes!
Do you consider your Southern Cali (O.C.) roots as a major attribute to your diversly eclectic sound today?
I think the only 2 things the O.C. brings to my sound is my proper grammar and the energy. Nobody really talks about the O.C. anymore besides the tv shows, and I'm here to present another element to the assumptions of what "The O.C." really is. I just want to clear up one thing, "There's black people out here!" (haha!). My eclectic sound comes from everything, Soul, New Wave to Rock vocalists, residing in Atlanta and Indiana. All in all, I'm just bringing something different to the plate. I've grabbed a little from every place I've been, every accent heard, artists and genres played.
Who have been your major influences within or outside of the music industry to help shape the artist that is Dana La Rock?
Sounds themselves have been influential. Lyrics don't usually hit me until about the second or third time around, but sounds (beats & vocals) hit me then and there. I love unique sound fusions and tones, to me they make songs what they are, depending on the genre of course. Outside of music, it has to be the 9 to 5 grind. I'm afraid of working 50+ years and not having a guaranteed stable life afterwards. It scares me. I'd rather get out and explore, than deal with repetitious assignments. Even though music isn't guaranteed, I'm going hard and happy striving towards my goals.
Within the last three years there have been a noticeable resurgence of female empowerment within the street wear and music community. What are your thoughts about this movement, and how do you see yourself fitting in?
Oh! yes definitely. I love street wear tees! A few years ago very few male based street lines were making women's tees and they fit baggy when they did. I love Fresh Jive and Hellz Bellz. Hellz Bellz defines and displays bad b**** wear very well.
There's a nice group of ladies lines that I truly respect for forcing their way through. Keep it coming ladies! On the music tip I can say women had a good spurt within the 2008 year. Right now I think we're representing the best way possible at the moment. Hopefully soon women will come harder in different appearances, genres and companies. We have diversity through: Roxy Cottontail, Santi, Kid Sis, MIA, Lady GaGa, Beyonce' and Leona Lewis (so many unlisted, plus fashion, actresses, and corporate). I hope I'll be in the running soon with a totally cool angle for the folks watching! I want to show the world that tom-girls can be taken seriously. Aaliyah and the 90s for instance, overalls, tanks and boots were huge with women in the industry, and no one really took it to heart. I want to bring the aspect of individuality back.
Lastly- Now that we have all started fresh for new year 2009, do you have anyone on your wish list that you would like to work with at some point in your career?
I sure do! Besides the ones closest to me that have my back, I'd love to work with Pharrell Williams, Cee Lo Green, Andre 3000, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs!, Santo Gold, Switch, Kid Sis... I can't even name them all, there's so many. Though I would love to add a band to my shows, I think that would be a crazy addition to what I have in mind. I've also blue-printed plans of producing Dana La Rock merchandise among other things. I'm just excited (haha!). Limits are a thing of the past.
We say, pay it forward Ms. La Rock...keep it thorough!
To get the full listen, DOWNLOAD "GoldBOOMS, SilverBANGS" The Mixtape.