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Spotlight Interview With Dakota

A new release from Dakota bleeds honest and emotional drive in the form of beautifully woven acoustic-pop with heart.

"Sex & Blood" is a personal and one on one feeling track that is derived from life experience and the artists ability to pour herself into her music is intense and wonderfully warming.

Soothing clean guitar is overlaid with electric distorted notes that fade in and out of the songs ether giving it a more cinematic tonality.

The vocals are absolutely sultry and give a youthful indie feel that makes you picture Dakota in a room alone performing it live.

This single is part of the full "Sex & Blood" EP that takes you on a journey through very personal struggles and situations, and it's through this record Dakota is able to help deal with those struggles.

This is a major part of what makes this record so real and so addictive.

It's like a diary with everything right there. She puts it out for the world to soak in because some of the topics portrayed so tastefully throughout the record are relatable.

This record does really feel good. It makes you feel as though you're not alone in whatever the struggle may be that you are going through at the time.

We need much more of this in today's music.

With such an outstanding release, we wanted to talk shop with Dakota to find out more of where this all comes from and what may be next for the artist.

RAG: Okay so let's start with "Sex & Blood". This track has a cinematic and one on one tonality to it. It feels like a personal track from start to finish. Where did this song come from?

Writing Sex & Blood was a reflection, a longing. The story encompasses what it’s looked like for me to attempt to break myself open to another human again — to share the raw, messy, vulnerable, suppressed spaces. The lyrics alternate between a sense of playing it cool and smooth, being articulate and composed, and then the sort of word vomit that inevitably tends to happen when I’m in too deep. It’s all about the energy of venting/ranting to someone and quickly realizing you’re scaring the shit out of them, so you digress back into “don’t worry about me I’m doing fine”.

RAG: Will the full EP have similar tones to it or are expecting something different?

I really didn’t have any expectations when it came to the creation of the EP. I wanted to play, have fun, take risks and most importantly maintain the integrity of the stories I knew deserved to be told. What surprised me most was how the second song, Burn, evolved into something much more musically upbeat.

The 5 song EP definitely tells a linear story and is designed to be listened to in order. My biggest dream is that the listener would set aside 20 minutes, pour a drink, turn off the lights, fill a bathroom with candles and listen from start to finish. While there is a consistency in overall tone, the EP has some instrumental surprises with percussion, bass, slide guitar, and even an omnichord appearance.

RAG: I'm hearing some outstanding singer songwriter styles on this track especially. Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

Thank you so much — I really appreciate that. Karen Carpenter has been a favorite of mine since I was a little kid. Her voice was so hauntingly beautiful, and the way she was able to tell a story and express so much emotion through such simplicity has always blown me away. Some of my other big time inspiration includes: Mazzy Star, Elliott Smith, Johnny Cash, Phoebe Bridgers, Alanis Morissette, Noah Gundersen and pretty much all things 70s pop/rock.

RAG: Can we expect any music videos coming from this EP?

I’m actually shooting a music video for Burn this week! Stay tuned.

RAG: What inspired this EP to come about?

The super fun thing about the EP is how naturally, and surprisingly, it happened. I was at one of my favorite record stores in LA, Dusty Records, when a guy walked in, effortlessly cool in some rad corduroy pants. My buddy Dustin who owns the shop introduced me to Ethan who had just released an EP of his own with his band, Laceleaf. I took a risk, knowing nothing about their music, and bought a “Home Video Music” cassette tape and played it instantly once I got home.

Thanks to social media world, I tracked Ethan down on Instagram and told him how much I loved their sound and would love to jam sometime. Over the previous year of quarantine, I had been writing songs on my bathroom floor and keeping them all to myself. Ethan held a safe space to create and collaborate, and what started as one chill hangout to record my favorite song on the EP, Thorns, turned into us getting together every Tuesday for 6 weeks until the EP was finished.

RAG: What do you think is next for you as an artist?

Music has always been at the heart of who I am. Because I don’t want to ruin it for myself, I’ve never put expectations or conditions on it. So to be honest with you, I don’t know exactly what’s next. If this last year has taught us anything, it’s that we really don’t have as much control as we thought. What a fucking relief that is. I’m holding the journey loosely, and all I know for sure is that I will continue telling these stories. I would love to record a full length album next year.

RAG: Have you put any thought behind live performances?

Music is such a personal experience for me. It’s deeply internal. Writing the songs on my bathroom floor, recording in a home with a friend, that has all felt natural to me. The introvert in me doesn’t quite know what it would look like to find comfort in being stared at by a crowd while doing something so intimate. I know how absurd it sounds, but the idea feels almost like a group of strangers watching me masturbate or cut myself while shaving. I’m open to performing in ways that feel like home for me. Maybe I just have to do a bathroom tour.

RAG: How do you write your songs? Is it lyrics first or guitar chords? Its different for everyone, how does it work for you?

My songs always start with lyrics as the songs are story driven. The voice memos and notes in my phone are a scary, chaotic place — I have thousands of song ideas, lines, words and ideas that pop into my head that I just keep on hand. Typically, a certain idea or line will begin to haunt me until the point that it demands my undivided attention. I take those few words to my bathroom floor with my guitar and just see what starts to come out.

RAG: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?

I’m a photographer and model as well, so I’m always creating something. Elizabeth Gilbert once said, “if I’m not actively creating, I’m actively destroying”, and that hit me hard. Creating keeps me sane, and it definitely keeps me busy. My “downtime” typically looks like watching horror movies in bed with my 16 year old rescue dog, Troll, or hosting friends in my little home here in East LA.

RAG: Any advice you'd have for other artists out there that are up and coming?

Don’t worry so much about the end result. The perfection, the likes, the numbers, the validation, the “what ifs” and the “who is it for?” It’s still important even if it’s just for you. As ridiculously cheesy as it sounds, it’s all about the journey. Show up. Dare to enjoy. Get messy. Have discipline when it comes to creating for yourself. Don’t be afraid to lose yourself in the art making process every once in a while. If the muse comes to your bedside, you don’t tell her “I’ll fuck you later.” Give her your attention.

RAG: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?

Thank you for allowing me to exist in process. To be the half alien/half human that I am. For holding space. For helping me find my way home. I hope these songs remind you that you’re not alone. That it isn’t too late. That you are allowed.

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