UTOPiAfest 2012 Artist Dana Falconberry Talks About the Concepts of Home, Touring, and Her New Album

With UTOPiAfest days away and in the midst of recuperating from touring and planning her epic album release show, Dana Falconberry found time to correspond with Pop Press International about the themes of her new record, being on the road, being drawn back to home, and what she has planned in the near and distant future. Falconberry is one of our favorite artists not just in Austin, but anywhere at the current moment, so listen up, readers!

Pop Press International: Austin has been anticipating your records for years, but this time, it seems like the country is anticipating your upcoming album. How does that feel?

Dana Falconberry: Eeeeee! Totally exciting! And very lucky. I have a really awesome team of people surrounding me and everyone is working so hard! It feels really great that the response so far has been so good. And it’s one of the best feelings in the world to tell your band, who have been working their asses off for years, good news about the record.

PPI: You’ve been on a road a lot over the past few months. What are the best and worst things about touring?

DF: Best things about touring: drinking prosecco on a shipwreck on an island off the coast of Maine with people you’ve known for an hour, singing ancient songs around a campfire with your band in the middle of Joshua Tree, playing shows in abandoned one room school houses, eating the best damn breakfast you’ve ever had in your life in your friend/PR agent’s kitchen in Portland, sleeping in lighthouses, making music videos in Medicine Bow, meeting strangers that offer up their floors and couches and coffee, playing music every night, forming your own tour language, walking through a wild cranberry bog in West Virginia, etc. etc. etc.

Worst things about touring: having trouble keeping up with the latest Parks and Rec episode.

PPI: So far, Leelanau has revealed itself to be an album centered on the area where you were born and lived for a while in Michigan. Is that true throughout? Can you tell us a little more about the album’s thematic elements?

DF: That’s mostly true, yes. Most of the songs are based on memories of being a kid running around in Michigan. My dad took us on camping and backpacking trips all the time, and I have lots of little memory pieces about these really beautiful places. When I wrote this album I was really into the idea of writing about memories, especially just little bits of memories that are more like pictures than anything else. And a lot of those, for me, are centered around the places my family went when I was a kid.

PPI: Can you describe your relationship with the areas of Michigan that you write about?

DF: Some of the areas I’m writing about I’ve only been to once when I was very little, like Tahquamenon Falls. Others are places that I still go back to, like Leelanau. My family has vacationed up there every year since I was born, and that place is very important to me. It’s not only the family connection, it’s the land too. It’s so beautiful and distinct up there, it’s easy to draw inspiration from it!

PPI: Why do you think we, as humans, are so drawn to the places we grew up?

DF: Hmmm, that’s an interesting question! It probably has something to do with learning how to appreciate things later in life. I mean, when I was a kid I didn’t have an appreciation for those beautiful Michigan places because I was too busy running around and making forts in them. But now I have memories of all that, and that ties me to the land in a different and meaningful way.

PPI: What are the next steps for you following the release of the album?

DF: Well first I’m gonna take a nap. Then the next morning I’m going on tour with My Jerusalem followed by a tour opening for The Heartless Bastards. We hope to do a lot more touring, but we’ve also got a lot of new material and we are starting to make plans for our next record as well.

PPI: Your music often portrays and evokes images of nature. As such, what aspects of playing a show like UTOPiAfest are you excited about?

DF: You know, sometimes I wonder why playing shows in beautiful places is so fun. I mean, we’re not doing anything different really, we’re just doing it in a beautiful place instead of a dirty bar, so what’s the difference? But it is SO FUN to play shows in beautiful places. SO FUN! We’ve never been to Utopia but people keep telling us how beautiful it is, so we’re really excited about that. Plus, everyone who is working the festival is so nice. Like, the nicest ever. I think it’s gonna be a really fun night! We’re off to play El Cosmico in Marfa the next day so it will be a quick trip for us, but we can’t wait.

PPI: Can you tell us a little about your upcoming release show? It sounds like you have a lot planned with the orchestra and some of Austin’s best artists supporting you.

DF: Oh my god I’m so excited! Yeah we have Tosca playing strings with us (they played on the record) and Elaine Barber is going to play harp (she also played on the record). I can’t wait to hear it all come to life! We’re gonna do some stuff off the record that we don’t usually play live, so that will be fun. Marmalakes and Good Field are playing too, and they are both amazing bands that we are honored to be playing with. We’ve got some collaborations worked out with both of them for our set, too, and that’s going to be super fun. The rehearsals were totally awesome. So yeah, we’re so excited about this show. It’s definitely the biggest thing we’ve ever put together. My biggest worry is that I’m going to be crying through the whole set because everyone sounds so awesome. Gotta get me some waterproof mascara!

You can cry right along with Dana, by getting your tickets for her release show right here!

About author
Bryan Parker is a writer and photographer living and working in Austin, TX. He is the founder of blog Pop Press International and print journal True Sincerity and recently released his first book, a volume on Beat Happening in the 33 1/3 series.

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