Dana Gehrman has managed to traverse the last two years of COVID disruption with enough gusto to release a new single (and an album to follow). This has been a trying time for artists and studios alike.
Dana started her musical journey studying at Brisbane’s QUT where she studied and completed a bachelor of Music. From there the long slow climb of open Mic nights and singer/songwriter gigs led her through America to her first independent album “Find a Way” (2019) featuring a full band of seasoned session musicians and guest performers.
The recording and release of her sophomore record has been a rocky affair - derailed by writer’s block and a worldwide pandemic (no less!). Heading to Yama-Nui Studios in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, Dana recorded an album of her favourite songs with producer Paully B at the controls.
Dana’s music has been described as perfect road trip music, with a vintage 70s sound rich in nostalgia rewinding the clock to the golden age of groove-laden funk and emotive soul music.
Throughout her career there’s been a constant background of ADAM Audio monitors.
From the trusted ADAM Audio A7s at QUT where she studied, Dana’s first album was recorded and mixed at Airlock Studios (S2X) and her second album at Yama-Nui (A7X). Her home writing setup currently features T5V monitors.
Your sound definitely harks back to an older era - the record sounds more like it was recorded in the 1970s than 2021. How important is that to your creative output?
I’m always drawn back to the sounds of records from that golden era of music. Yeah, I think it will always be a sound I strive for, and will influence my creative process and output.
It seems that on one ‘side of the glass’ you’ll have vintage guitars & amps, leslie cabinets and mics - then for monitoring its regularly modern, highly accurate monitoring. Is this where the vintage vibe has to enter the modern world?
Ha, I suppose it depends what gear you have access to. But I want to do my best to have great sounding records, I love listening to music through a good set of headphones, hear all the nuances and hidden gems in a track, working with good quality monitors becomes important.
How did you go about recovering from writer’s block?
I find it easiest to write when I’m away from home, more importantly away from the daily grind. Less distractions, more mental space to reflect and allow the songs to flow. The pandemic hit just after my album release and really affected the ability to travel or even just escape the stresses and fears that came with the pandemic. I found it really difficult. I turned to listening to music I loved. Immersing myself in those “happy places” and using that space to create new song ideas. It also lead to the decision to record some of these tunes which have been such a big part of who I am.
Why a Little Feat cover for your new single?
Their music resonates so strongly with me, the sounds, their lyric style – something I’ve tried to capture in my original music. They’ve been such a big part of my life. Singing their songs for so long, they start to feel like my own. The pandemic reinforced being grateful for the good times and the importance of doing what you love, taking those golden opportunities when they present themselves. I think this song encapsulates that. Felt like a right time, right song situation. I figured why the heck not.
How did you start making music? What is your motivation?
I’ve been a music fan all my life, it’s the only thing I ever wanted to do.
Did spending so much time using ADAM audio monitors influence your decision to choose them for your studio?
I think when you find a sound you enjoy, something that makes your job easier; it makes for an easy decision.
What’s next for Dana Gehrman?
We had too much fun in the studio to just record one Little Feat tune, so decided to just keep going for an album. I’m looking forward to some studio I have at Airlock to record some new originals this year too. Hoping touring is back on the cards later this year too – I miss it so much.
What projects are your currently working on?
Finishing a Little Feat album. Working on new songs for the next original DG album. I’m also working on a new duo with Danny Widdicombe who I’ve collaborated heavily with on previous DG projects.
What have been your most popular/well-known projects so far?
A collaboration with Tim Rogers (You Am I), a song called ‘Find Away’ which became the name of my previous album. A track written for me by Danny Widdicombe.
What makes the perfect studio monitor for you? Which features and qualities are important for you when it comes to monitoring?
Great dynamic range and clarity.
Where did you hear ADAM monitors for the first time? Can you recall your first impressions?
Recording my first single back in 2013…Sitting in the couch of the studio mixing room and experiencing such a broad spectrum sound with so much detail. It’s a good feeling.
Is there a lightbulb moment that happens when you have an idea? Do you have to be in a certain ‘zone’ to achieve that, and how do you get to that place?
Often it comes quickly, as soon as you pick up the guitar or often when doing some menial task and it comes to me. The most important part is taking the tie to get the idea down before it’s lost.
How do you know when a track/project/mix is ’finished’?
I think simply, it just feels good.
Name: Dana Gehrman
Country / City: Australia / Brisbane
Bands / Projects: Dana Gehrman
Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/dana.gehrman