by Fraser McCallum
An interview with the Danks is kind of like stumbling into a family reunion at mealtime. It’s loud, chaotic, full of ridiculous inside jokes, and visitors can pop in at any moment.
Over the course of an entertaining hour together, conversation touches on their impressive year as a rising indie-rock band in Canada. Much of the time, however, examines heavy subjects such as the Mighty Ducks, Nicolas Cage, the Muppets, and just why Alec has a busted up lip in their recent music video for single “Planet Beach” (more on that later).
The Danks, who consist of Brohan Moore, Phil MacIsaac, Alec O’Hanley and Andy MacDonald, had a very successful 2009 with the release of their full length record Are you afraid of The Danks?, multiple ECMA and PEIMA award nominations, and two national tours with label-mates Two Hours Traffic.
“The award nominations are a nice affirmation of what we’re doing,” says lead guitarist O’Hanley “We’ve never written with awards in mind and this is the first time we’ve applied…so our batting average is looking good.”
That’s not all. The Danks’ album, a full-length CD of power-punk burners, has been added to Air Canada’s in-flight playlist program and single “Die Young” is still charting on XM radio. Its safe to say the Danks are carrying some momentum.
After touring the country twice now drummer MacIsaac feels their live show has naturally sharpened “You become a lot stronger, playing night after night. Our choice of set list is much tighter now too.” Lead singer Moore disagrees “Andy gets worse with every show” he grins.
After playing venues coast-coast, a few jump out as memorable. “Some places were really great that you wouldn’t expect,” Moore recalls “We had an amazing show in Saskatoon, kids up front singing along to every word”. In Calgary they may as well have been playing Hunter’s as dozens of Islanders working there came out and cheered on their hometown rockers. As for the most challenging city to play the band immediately agrees “Thunderbay, Ontario. Bad hotels and too many domestic disputes.” And with that, its ridiculous story time again with the Collagen rock boys.
The Danks plan to record new songs in the spring and the guitar player is working as musical advisor for the new Boxer the Horse album as well as assisting solo artist Molly Rankin (yes, of those Rankins) with her first release. O’Hanley is impressed with Charlottetown’s growing music scene “When you look coast to coast, the quality of bands per capita here is unrivalled.”
Oh, and as to that story about his busted lip in the music video? “We filmed with Richie Mitchell at a school in eastern PEI,” Moore explains with a smile. ”The night before we went out Alec got jumped by a couple of ninth graders. They pulled him right off his bike!” The room breaks into laughter once more and O’Hanley nods unabashedly “It was a pretty even fight, but the niners had the edge.”
See the damage and the video for “Planet Beach” at myspace.com/meetthedanks.
*Phil MacIsaac, Brohan Moore, Andy MacDonald, Alec O’Hanley