Photos / Danielle Defoe
Danny Dodge checks all the boxes in your new playlist additions. The rocker made his mark on the Portland music scene before heading to LA and releasing his solo debut Baby, Let Me Be Your Mess. The songs on the album are a departure from the normal heavy hooked rocker Danny is known to be and takes a soulful guitar driven jump into the hardest parts of trying to have a relationship while being fucked up.
We premiere the title track today, press play for a folk-infused love ditty that will take your down your own memory lane.
Danny talks with us about his new album, making music with people he loves, and pushing artistry to the most real parts of his true self.
How did you get into music?
The Dodge’s are a big southern family of musicians. Every gathering would turn into a jam. Uncle Ted on bass, Cousin Zach on guitar, my dad had a beautiful soprano voice, my Cousin Rob was a great fiddle player too but he’s locked up now.
What is the Portland music scene like?
I’ve been living in LA for the last 6 or so months but still frequent Portland regularly. So many great bands doing creative things. There’s been a lot of struggle lately with the unreliability of venues staying open and the liquor control board shutting down house shows, but the spirit is as steadfast and headstrong as ever. Rest in Power, Fred Cole.
Ok, Baby Let Me Be Your Mess has some pretty hidden/ unhidden messages, was there a muse for this album?
Haha man, yeah I guess so. I think if you’re gonna sing something that touches the listener on a human emotional level, it’s gotta be conveyed through the glorification of the everyday. It’s Frank O’Hara-style. We’re not talkin romantic movie plots or sunsets in Vienna, were talkin “a coke with you”, “even though we ain’t got money”, love on a budget-style. That’s the people’s love. The love you gotta know to write a good batch of love songs.
Have you ever had your heart broken by music?
Regularly, I love it.
Have you ever had your heart broken?
One of the great thrills of life.
Baby Let Me Be Your Mess is a great record to listen to and remiss and cry. Do you get that reaction a lot?
Yeah, actually haha. I find it a great compliment. What’s the point of music if it doesn’t stir something up in you? Sad songs are my favorite, it’s the Irishman in me. They use to say about my great-grandad “he could have the whole pub cryin’ and laughin’ with the same story”. Humor and sorrow are peanut butter and jelly, they just taste so good together.
I also love “You Do You” tell us the inspo for this song.
That was my Dolly and Porter feud song about a couple that tried but just can’t jive and are happy to call the whole thing off. That amicable sigh of relief at the end of a break up. Also known on the road as “You Do Me and I.O.U.”. That’s Jenny Don’t singing on that one, too.
What was your first song you wrote off of the new album and how did that come about?
Hard to recall, but I think “Don’t Let A Good Time Woman Break A Good Long-Time Lovin’ Woman’s Heart”. Wrote it after a night when A friend came to me struggling with his fidelity. I told him, “don’t think of what you’ll gain but think of what you’ll lose” then thought, hey, that’s a snappy line to boot!
What do you want your future in music to look like?
I’m seeking the freedom to continue to push myself as an artist. Keep out of my comfort zone. Let my art grow alongside me as I change and grow as a person. I believe that if I can keep myself interested and entertained, then so too will my listeners.
Do you have any artist or labels that you love right now?
So so many. I think Daniel Romano is the greatest artist of our generation. Mattiel’s debut record is an absolute force. Kendrick Lamar is today’s Curtis Mayfield. Gold Star’s newest took my subconscious hostage and won’t let go. Chain & the Gang can crash, boom, bang. I’m lucky to know so many great players and bands here in LA. The Pesos, Creation Factory, Desure’s new record will kill you (watch for it!), Jaime Wyatt (who first brought me down here), So many more. For as hard as things are in the world right now, good art will always feed the spirit when the rations run out. We’re lucky for that.
Who are your favorite people to collaborate with?
My manager, best friend, and soul sister Sylvie Lake. We hatch ten-point manifestos for revolution from the bland on the reg, so watch out!
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