Danimals' New York Diary and Photo Album


One line to describe working with
each artist:
Dap Kings: Scary, but a hell of a lot of fun playing with some
of the raddest musicians around  
John Taylor: incredibly inspiring. We knew it was going to be
good, but jamming with John and Alex Greenwald was one of the best feelings
we had ever experienced  
Sean Lennon: Sean’s day was crazy. We had so much fun and watching
a song form in his mind was an incredible experience. Additionally doing
lyrics at his pad afterwards was just sublime.  
Nick Hodgson: We were a bit spent that day, but we had a great
time jamming with Nick on the song he brought in. He had a very contagious
Santigold: The perfect capper to a perfect week. She was super
cool and I would love to hold onto the short vocal takes she recorded
to sample later.


Dear Diary:

The first week in New York was a
multi-sensory experience that was not unlike making love for the first
time in a tub of candyfloss and synthesizers, with fireworks spraying
out of the lighting above. It was just surreal and incredibly fast paced,
but all good things.


Initially it was pretty daunting,
but once we settled in, it felt like we were working with long lost
We had to get used to the whole ‘studio drop in’ thing. Albert Hammond
Jr rocked up with Sean Lennon, I nearly lost my cool, seeing as we are
all Strokes heads. He was pretty quiet during the sessions, but he would
play some lines that were incredibly Albert-like, and you definitely
felt like you were in the room with someone amazing. Robbie Furze from
the Big Pink also showed up which was pretty cool. 

The most surreal experience we had was writing a song about a marmoset
at Sean’s amazing home studio whilst drinking the best lemon ginger
tea I’ve ever had.


We were all very psyched to work
with Santigold, she is so ridiculously creative, the melodies that she
pulled out were like nothing I’ve ever heard, but completely hers.

Santi picked up on a jam structure
that we had created on Tuesday with John Taylor & Alex Greenwald.
Pretty much immediately, she had pulled out an astonishing melody from
the song that only Santigold could have possibly have heard. Really
unique & individual – it was so exciting to hear her voice played
back over the structure of our demos.  


After the session, we ducked out
to the East Village where Ronson has a regular Friday-night radio show,
on East Village Radio. He literally DJs in a funny little glass booth
right on Avenue A, so it’s weird to see pedestrians walking past on
Friday night going out, and there’s Mark Ronson DJing on the pavement.
He ended up playing two Danimals tracks – Koi Moon’s Daughter and Firework
Spraying Moon – right near the close of his set. A first! Danimals on
NYC Radio.

After dinner, Ronson invited us to
go out to see his DJ set at Santos Party House, which is a big party
house on Lafayette (and co-owned by Andrew WK). He was going back-to-back
with one of our heroes, Q-Tip. We arrived to stand in the queue for
the club, and after trying to explain to the door guy who we were, Q-Tip
himself walked in and nodded us through the line. After a while, Ronson
arrived with his records and the two were playing a mad hip hop party
set, cumulating in a the announcement of our dreams – Q-Tip emceeing
over one break: ‘Shout out to the Danimals!’… NUTS!!  


Person with the most annoying
habit in the studio/flat:

Moses keeps showing us his Biggie
shirt he bought from a vintage shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Not really
annoying though, because it’s Biggie. Go Mo.  

Artist you worked with you’d
most likely introduce your mum to:

John Taylor – he’s a dude and your
Mum is likely to have had a crush on him in the 80’s anyway.  

Best quote from the whole experience
– could be from anyone:

“My Mum is secondary to Madlib
…” – Anonymous (for fear of disownment).  

Most nervous:

I think all of the band were really
nervous. It really hit home in the cab on the way to the studio to play
with the Dap Kings on the first day.



Jaie is pretty much locked down to
the NYC vibe, and has ingenious ways of beating traffic, jet lag and
finding record stores.  

We are all pretty clean, but after
sleeping through our maid service in the apartment for 5 consecutive
days ensured that a post-apocalyptic wonderland was created.  


Last to bed:

Will, without a doubt. He has enough
energy to shake a cat out of a tree with a sparking flare from a continent

First to rise:

Jonti wakes up pretty early to make
himself almond butter & honey toast, and due to the time difference
between Sydney & NYC, our manager Blake wakes up to answer his 10,000,000

Weirdest food:

Almond butter? We found out that
salmon & cream cheese bagels are called ‘Bagels with Lox’. Weird


Best purchase:

Collectively, I think we’ve purchased
about 50-60 12″ records from various stores in Brooklyn & the
East Village, and there’s going to be some gold in there. Jonti bought
a Polyevolver Synth which is pretty sweet. Everyone is going to buy
Stylophones, which are these little synths from the 1950s or 1960s that
you play with a pen attached to the unit, that can carry with you on
the bus or when tobogganing in the swiss alps, should you find yourself
wanting to compose melody lines whilst rocketing down a mountain.


Danimals are the winners of the
Tooheys Extra Dry: The Lab competition and got to write and record a
track in New York with Mark Ronson in his studio with Santigold, Nick
Hodgson of Kaiser Chiefs, Sean Lennon, John Taylor of Duran Duran and
members of The Dap-Kings.

The final track,
will feature as the soundtrack for Tooheys Extra Dry’s next national
advertising campaign, and the winner’s journey will be filmed from
start to finish – resulting in a fly-on-the-wall documentary for release
in March 2010.

Check out


for more information.


Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.