DACIANOS talk about their debut album, their ever-changing line-up and the sounds of the sea
Dacianos are named after the 17th century freak-makers , and you honestly couldn t find a more apt description of their highly individual fusion of acoustic and electric elements.
They were founded by Barry Kavanagh, and their current line-up took years to develop and gestate.
It came together over many years, begins Barry. It started with completely different people for a few months, and then Daragh joined as a bass player. We played gigs but we were a kind of a weird electric thing with pedals and strange effects. We used to write a lot acoustically and Daragh thought they sounded better that way. Eamon also came back from Australia around that time .
The initial Dacianos material was recorded by Dennis McNulty (of Decal and A-Tone). One song ended up on a various artists cassette given away free at the sadly extinct Funnel.
Needing a pianist, Dacianos added John McMahon (now a member of Rollers/Sparkers) and in March 1999 a pre-album session was recorded by Simon Kenny (also ex-Schroeder s Cat) and one song was included on a Folkrum Records compilation CD. Then, in sessions which featured violinist Suzanne Collins (who had played with Luxury and The Great Western Squares) and guitarist Rory Murphy (ex-Daughters Of The Swan and Polar), Simon Kenny recorded Dacianos album Mis-showbusiness. In their own words, it is a collection of six songs about sadness and ideals, entitled after Judy Garland s debut, Miss Show Business.
With the line up in such a constant state flux and change, was there ever an intention to settle on a fixed set up of musicians, or are Dacianos merely happy to respond to their musical instincts?
I suppose the songs dictated the way they sound, replies Barry. There were always these figures coming and going in the background, but to me it always felt like it was coming out of the instruments.
We always wanted a bass for ages because we sounded really top heavy, and that is where Greg (Barret Schnorbitz, Capratone) came in, and we got ourselves an instrument as well! adds Daragh.
Currently Dacianos are working hard. They can be seen live at their monthly shows at the Cobblestone, Smithfield (Dublin, Ireland) with David Kitt where the next one is scheduled for September the 14th. They thoroughly enjoy their monthly foray, and find it offers by far the most conclusive performance circumstances for their needs to date.
Initially in a bar environment like Whelan s we had no drums and no backbeat whatsoever. When we found the Cobblestone eventually, people started hearing us properly, explains Barry.
The first time we played there, I know I was shocked anyway, exclaims Eamon. Simon Kenny and myself were arguing about the sound of the keyboards because I thought it sounded too low and he said it was too high. By the time we started there was just complete silence from the instruments, but the audience responded to this by being totally hushed. It was uncanny.
Mis-Showbusiness showcases the Dacianos blend of acoustic guitars, violin, piano sounds, cello basslines and quiet evocative singing full justice, embellished with some original sonic florishes. On one track you can hear a storm in full force! It is not accredited on the album, but the storm played through the chimney to a microphone, says Greg.
For Underwater I was interested in getting recordings of the sea from Marine Biology departments, continues Barry. One got back to us, and the sound at the end of the recording they gave us is really eery. We turned down everything in the mix and it was still there. It could be the microphone hitting against the side of the boat or something.
Mis-Showbusiness is available now. Visit www.daciano.com for up to the minute distribution details and live dates.