INTERVIEW: Five Minutes With … Dawa

Dawa was formed in 2014 by John Dawa (vocals/guitar), Barbara Wiesinger (vocals/percussion), Laura Pudelek (cello) and Oama Richson (cajón/percussion), after John and Barbara met Laura and Oama at a street concert at the Ragnarhof in May 2010. Their mutual enthusiasm and musical compatibility lead to the formation of Dawa.

Dawa have shared stages with The Prodigy, The Offspring, Echosmith and Halestorm. They have been listed on the  Austrian Top40 Album & Single Charts, played Reeperbahn Festival, and took a second place in the National pre-finals of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2015.

We caught up with them for a chat…

Hi there, how are you and what are you up to today?

Well, I am not up to much. Greetings from the operating theatre, I work part time as a scrub nurse.

To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?

Well, I guess I would describe it as warm, rich and handmade.

What are the 5 albums and artists that have influenced you the most?

José Gonzalez – all of his records
Junip – Fields
Fink – Sort of Revolution
America – America´s Greatest Hits History
Santana – Black Magic Woman

What other artists do you really like at the moment and why?

There’s a lot of different music I listen to right now, but to name a few: Floating Points, Portico Quartet, Vakula and Tornado Wallace.

What are some of the key pieces of gear you use to write your tracks?

I write my songs mostly using the guitar, but sometimes I use the piano.

What are your thoughts on some of the following musical genres?

I don´t listen a lot to classical music. I like Chopin a lot though, but it’s nothing I would pop into my mp3 player and skip from track to track. It takes time.

Don’t we all feel blue every now and then?

Sunday mornings, the smell of fresh brewed coffee and the Aretha singing through my parents old fisher sound system.

I played a lot of basketball, naturally Hip Hop was a big part of my life growing up “in my hood”
I was all baggy pants, oversized jackets and the bandana too…westside!!

I’ve heard the term but I have absolutely no idea what it sounds like.

One of best concerts I’ve ever seen must’ve been Neil Young show on Vienna in 2008.
He played two sets. For the first one he sat in a semicircle of guitars, the piano to his left and an huge organ to his right.
He didn’t even have a set list. He just walked around the stage and randomly picked an instrument.
Then he started telling stories, singing about his life experiences.
I was speechless.

If you weren’t a musician what would you be?

I guess I’d be a cook. It’s pretty similar to making music, thousand ways to cook a dish, and it’s all about balancing the ingredients.

What’s the best gig you have ever done and why?

That must’ve been Acoustic Lakeside 2014 @Sittersdorf in Austria.
It was the last gig of three and we arrived there with good weather and there’s a lake (hence the name) next to the festival area. So, exhausted from the long car ride, we jumped in the water and chilled out a bit.
About half an hour before we get on stage and huge clouds were building up behind the stage.
Then it started to rain and rain. We expected all the people to stay in their tents to wait until the rain was over, but to our surprise so many people came out to see us and brought so much good energy with them.
And then they started to sing along almost every song in the pouring rain.
It was really breathtaking, one of the reasons why I love making music.

And the worst?

We were asked to play at a ball that took place in Bruges. It was organised by Austrian students.
I´ve never been to Belgium or Bruges, so I thought cool, right!
Turned out to be a very long evening with the occasional speech. By midnight it was our turn to play.
Just before we wanted to start the Dj decided to turn on the music, I remember it was David Bowie – Let´s dance. So that somehow killed our entrance, and by that time people were a little drunk.
Everything became awkward, people didn’t´t even know where the music came from because there hasn’t even been a stage so nobody saw us. The sound system sucked, it was really awful.
But yeah, you learn.

Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects, DJ mixes or collaborations in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

We just shot the video to our third single release of our album REACH called ‘Put It Away’.
The video will be out in the next couple of weeks.
There will be a couple of remixes to the song, one for example by Stefan Seelenwald who had already done a terrific job on two other of our songs.

 Listen to Dawa’s ‘Put It Away (Remixes)’:

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