Dannika Horvat is a multitalented musician and filmmaker from Melbourne who recently released her first single “Next to You” from her upcoming EP For Peaches. ATYPICAL SOUNDS jumped on the opportunity to speak with this Renaissance woman on her music and other projects.
Congratulations on your signing to Solitaire. What would you like people to know about you? Is there anything you’d like them to know about your music before listening to it?
I have always loved singing and writing music but have never played an instrument, which makes writing music pretty hard. I watched Whiplash, and although that doesn’t make being a musician seem super appealing, I bought a bass the next day and started plucking away. I’m very terrible at bass but it provided me with a platform to make music with very talented musicians who actually know what they’re doing, which has been very cool.
Your bandmates Liam and Stefan are also in the band Good Morning. How did you all come to be working together?
Liam and Stefan are my very dear friends who have been lovely enough to lend their time and talents to this little project. We all went to high school together so we’ve been mates since way back. One day I played Liam my first song on his front porch and he messaged Stefan saying, let’s make an album. I’m very grateful to those boys because they’ve had to coach me through this whole process and they’re so bloody talented, it is so much fun working with them. Also Paul Ceraso, our drummer, is one of the best people in the world. I’d be lost without my boys.
I’ve heard you describe your work as “four mates making soft, feminine rock.” What does femininity in rock music mean to you? Do you feel it’s part of a larger discussion on feminism in the music industry?
Femininity means something different to everyone, but to me, in my music it’s a sort of dreaminess with some pretty vulnerable lyrics. But femininity in music is so broad which is what is so beautiful about it. You’ve got bands like Terrible Truths, who are just kick ass women writing really incredible music that makes you feel super powerful and on top of your shit.
Most of my favourite musicians are women so as long as they get to keep doing what they love the way they want to, I’d be pretty happy.
You also wrote and directed a short film in 2014, The Summer of ABC Burns. The theme of girls being mean to each other is one that seems to come up in media frequently. Is your story based on an experience you had? Do you think it could help someone in the same age group who is questioning their sexuality?
The Summer of ABC Burns came from my own experience and addresses the sometimes toxic nature of young female friendships. I was very keen to write a film that dealt with the classic trope of best friend/worst enemy that so many girls encounter in high school.
The film definitely doesn’t set the best example of how to deal with sexuality in the dog eat dog world of high school. It’s kind of a what not to do. But I think there is a lot of power in seeing someone like you on screen, so in that way the film is hopefully helpful.
Your Tumblr feed that features your photography is pretty extensive. What do you look for when taking pictures? Are you looking to tell a story about your life, or are you looking to learn about the lives of other people? Is it some combination of the two?
It’s a combination but I am definitely more drawn to taking photos of people I know and love than documenting strangers, and that is purely because I am very shy with the lens. I like documenting intimate moments and nice days spent with great people.
What are your favorite Tumblr feeds to follow?
All great people with nice photos of cool things.
Are there other artists (musicians or otherwise) in Melbourne you feel deserve more attention?
Frances Fox is a beautiful band from Melbourne whose latest EP, Electric You, is one of my favourite things to listen to at the moment. I received the tape as a gift from my housemate and I think their music is so lovely.
What are your favorite venues in Melbourne to listen to music?
I love the Tote because I had a really great Christmas Eve there last year where I saw Dick Diver and it was just the best gig. It was a million degrees and everyone was dripping just from standing there but it was very fun. It’s also really easy to ride to from my house and that’s cool too. I also like the Gasometer, it’s such a beautiful building.
What are your plans for 2016? Will you be releasing an LP? Are you working on any new films?
2016 will consist of me finishing my masters in screenwriting and hopefully making another short film. We have no solid plans at the moment to make another album but there are some songs that are very special to me that I’d love to record one day.