Interview: Jimmy Bones of Dank [Sinatra]
Dank, formerly Dank Sinatra, is the next installment in what is a long and storied history of Rock and Roll music. Combining rhythm and blues tradition with a modern sense of urgency and experimentation, Dank is pulling Rock music into the 21st century as it was meant to be heard and experienced. With energetic and unpredictable live performances, as well as a knack for the studio and all of its wizardry, this Atlanta five-piece is showing fans what it takes to rock in the torrid seas of a post-Napster musical climate. Dank will release their new self-titled album on Tuesday, February 3rd. We spoke with Jimmy Bones (guitar/vocals) last week to catch up on the latest from the band.
Dank [Sinatra] came to life in Athens, GA nearly five years ago. Let's talk about the bands inception, and what that first official gig was like. How did it all begin?
JIMMY: The Dank beginnings were pretty humble. Joe (Gaines) and Matt (Henderson) were introduced by mutual friends and things snowballed after that, though this current line-up was solidified about 2 years ago. The first official gig was at a little dirty, underground bar in Athens called Rye Bar, and it was quite an experience. Everyone had so much fun that we had trouble finding our way back above ground.
It's no secret that Athens has been long known for its music scene, with new bands surfacing year round. What does the Athens music scene mean to you guys? How did you differentiate yourself in a town with such an abundance of talent?
JIMMY: The Athens music scene means alot to anyone who has been involved with it and is unique in that there are many varieties of bands to see, which makes for good audiences who are also interested in seeing many different types of music. It's not so much about differentiating yourself as it is just being true to yourself, and since all the bands in Athens seem to want to do that it makes everyone stand out in their own particular way.
Over the past five years, what stands out the most when evaluating the progression you've made since that first gig?
JIMMY: We have become much more concerned and interested with crafting good songs and hooks along with having exciting instrumental passages, and of course with our continued interest in listening to and playing off of each other we have each evolved in our own ways as far as knowing our places within the music. The live show is an area of particular interest for us and we are currently in the process of looking at different ways and ideas to enhance our live experience, and the live experience in general. It seems like maybe the current live medium is a little played out, but it's up to us as the musicians to do something about that.
I'm sure you're getting a lot of this, but what brought about the decision to drop the "Sinatra", and just stick with "Dank" moving forward?
JIMMY: We're mostly just interested in having a name that best fits our sound and our attitude, that's all. Not to mention the occasional visit we from the mob. We need our hands to keep doing what we do.
What was your approach when writing and recording the new album, Dank? How is this album different than the previous two?
JIMMY: With the lineup change, we had about 2 months b before we were back into the studio recording Strange, and once we finished we were already itching to write new songs together for the first time. The songs we came up with were mostly formed from riffing off of each other were a little more to the point than the songs on Strange. In recording them we used the studio as a tool more than ever before and experimented with different ways of taking our sounds and mixes to new places, a practice we hope to continue in the future as well.
Last year brought about a busier schedule with an abundance of touring. Looking back, what were the personal highlights? Was there a particular show that immediately comes to mind?
JIMMY: An abundance of touring will bring many highlights, and otherwise, so it's hard to name just a few, but a surprise highlight for us was playing at the CukoRakko Festival in front of one of the oldest rock formations in America. It was one of the best experiences of the year. We also had the pleasure of playing at the Spirit of Suwanee Music Park for the first time. We are sure to not forget the characters we met on that trip!
You've had the opportunity to share the stage and cross paths with a wide variety of other up-and-coming bands. Who are some of the bands that you've enjoyed watching and getting to know in 2014?
JIMMY: Backup Planet is one of our favorite bands we see playing around the southeast, and sharing the stage with them is always a great experience, sonically and socially. We would also be remiss to not mention our good friends Funk You whom we closed the year out with and had a special collaborative moment where we celebrated the memory of Joe Cocker.
What can we expect from Dank here in 2015? Are the any big plans or recent developments that you can share with us?
JIMMY: Our latest release, Dank, is set to drop February 3rd, and we have a whole slew of tour dates that we have just announced on top of that, putting us all over the southeast and in New Orleans for the very first time. 2015 is shaping to be a fun year.