Name: Dana Gavanski
Occupation: Singer, songwriter
Nationality: Canadian
Recent release: Dana Gavanski's When It Comes is out via Full Time Hobby on April 29th 2022.
Recommendations: This Animation by Kristine Leschper; Opening Night by Cassavetes

When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?

I officially started in my mid twenties, but dabbled a bit in my early twenties. I discovered 70s folk/rock then and listened to a lot of Joni, Joan, Dylan, Cat Stevens and Neil Young at the time, which then branched off into other stuff like King Crimson and the original Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green.

There’s no necessarily conscious reason that I pursue music other than it feels good to listen to and play - better than most things - and am no longer able to turn away from what it offers.  

Some people experience intense emotion when listening to music, others see colours or shapes. What is your own listening experience like and how does it influence your approach to music?

I just enjoy it plain and simple. I like it when I hear something and it feels fresh or strange to my ears, something that’s close to my experience of the world, or at least pulls me to hear things differently, from another angle.  

How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?

Constant, challenging, and, as much as possible, curious.

Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please. What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music
and art?

Just to be open to what I’m feeling and hearing, wherever that may take me.

How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?

I don’t really think about that in any serious depth. Only that I want to feel fresh and excited by what I’m doing and hope that in turn, others feel that.

Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?

A fork and a spoon and the sound they make when I hit them against my head.

Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.

Starts with a cup of hot coffee and then anything from combing my cat Nonni for however long he purrs until I’m awakened out of my morning stupor, which could take days.

Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that is particularly dear to you, please?


Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence
creative results?

It does require a lot of alone time, but not just physically alone, also mentally alone, in my case.

But I’ve recently started collaborating with other musicians in the writing process and it’s been quite refreshing and light and deep in a different way.

How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?

Making music is one of the ways I exist in the world and how I relate through expressing my existence. In my lousy opinion there is no role other than the one we make up for yourselves if you think yourself important enough, OTHER THAN the simple connection with all the other weirdos of the world who need, as much as I do, affirmation of their own existence.

Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?

If it’s helped, it’s because it’s helped me explore the chaos inside my mind a bit, and singled out one or a few of the many emotions I’ve felt about something I’m going through - brought a feeling into focus, though not necessarily clarified it.  

I suppose it helps because I get to explore something that most of the time I don’t know I’m about to explore, and implores me to make a character or story out of it.

There seems to be increasing interest in a functional, “rational” and scientific approach to music. How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?

Is there? I suppose in the more computerized, money making world it is and will forever be, following the lead of industrialization. That will never end, I guess. Is it how to be less present and more lucrative?

I don’t know if correlating functional and rational with science is necessarily right. I believe science is more than that. Science is in fact quite curious and speculative, though often expressed with a certain degree of authority that makes it feel rigid to most people.

It is an ever-changing field as is music, existing in a constantly changing cultural, political and social context.  

Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee?

If you make coffee for a living then maybe not. Who knows?  

What do you express through music that you couldn’t or wouldn’t in more mundane tasks?

Presence of mind.

Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?

It think it has a lot to do with finding connection beyond only words, on a deeper spiritual level, though one still very much connected to our lives and the stories we make.