Danny Lane is a compelling, NYC-based musician, actor and visual artist, and his band Sofa Club recently released their first EP, “Actual Video.” When he’s not working on a film project (Danny appears in the forthcoming indie film “Secret Everything“) or taking pictures for his excellent tumblr blog, Danny can usually be found hunched over an 80s synth, looking for the perfect sound for one of his upcoming tracks. Danny was kind enough to take the time to chat with us about Sofa Club’s history and the terrific new video for their song, “Gotta, Gotta, Gotta” (check it out below). After you’ve had a chance to read the interview, be sure to spend some time with his impeccable collection of lists.
Listgeeks: How did Sofa Club, as a project come about?
Danny Lane: It started about a year ago – a little over a year ago – when my last band, Paragraph, broke up. I wanted to make music by myself – to see what that was like – but it was hard to do alone, and I needed people to play shows/develop songs with. I asked my friend Dave, one of the best musicians I know, and then he and I got our friend Max to play piano. We tried out a couple of drummers, but we end up going back to electronic drums. So it’s me, Dave and Max.
LG: But you write the majority of the music?
DL: Yeah – I write the majority of the music . . . though we also write and record together at this point.
LG: So on some tracks you’ll do everything, and there are other tracks where it’s more of a collaboration?
DL: Yeah. The collaborating experiences are getting more and more comfortable every time.
LG: So the four songs on the EP – are those all recent?
DL: The songs from the EP that just came out were written and recorded about a year and a half ago. I wrote them on my own, and then recorded a couple of them with Dave and Max, and recorded a couple of them with my friend Billy. Autre Ne Veut did some additional engineering on the EP and recorded Alice Cohen’s keyboard solos on “Gotta, Gotta, Gotta” and “Danny Boy.”
LG: Most of your music has a synth-oriented, 80s aesthetic – do you feel like you share influences with many of the other 80s-inspired artists who are busy at the moment?
DL: Probably. You know, I like dance music from any time. The 80s thing is partially a product of the equipment that we use. If we recorded the songs on newer synths, the music wouldn’t sound like it sounds.
LG: Do you use mostly analog synths?
DL: Yep. I also use a recorder from the early 90s – an 8 track recorder – and we used mostly 80s synths and drums machines, otherwise.
LG: Are there specific sounds you like from those eras of music?
DL: Well, the idea for Sofa Club came from the Halloween time of year. I really wanted to make dance music, but spooky dance music, and I wasn’t really finding the sounds for that from modern synths.
LG: For people that don’t know Sofa Club, who would you cite as some of the bands or musicians that have influenced you?
DL: I always say it’s sort of like early Madonna meets Talking Heads. Madonna’s first album – her self-titled record – is probably in my top five records of all time.
LG: What do you see happening with Sofa Club down the line?
DL: Well, Chris Moore – who we mixed the album with – I really want to work with him on something from the ground up. He got involved towards the end of this EP, but I’d love to have the second EP produced, recorded and mixed by him. He had a lot to say about Sofa Club, and I want him to be able to get his voice in there more. Otherwise, I’m hoping to find a label to support a full-length.
LG: How did the “Gotta, Gotta, Gotta” video come about?
DL: Well, I was writing about the conflict between boys and girls, and I always pass this dance studio on the way home from everywhere I go, “Brandy’s Dance Unique.” So I went in there one day, on impulse, and I told them I needed six dancers, and wanted them to choreograph a dance, and I didn’t want to see it until the moment we starting filming. So I choreographed my own dance at home, and the idea was that we’d do both dances at the same time, and let whatever was going to happen happen. We were knocking each other over and stuff. I see a lot of dance studio-oriented videos where the girls are hip and very sweet, and I wanted this to represent Staten Island more. My close friend Marc Maffei directed the video, and as usual did an awesome job.
LG: Did they have a reference for the music you were making?
DL: They just kept saying, “Oh, so you want it weirder? You want it real strange? I think he wants it weirder!”