Later this evening, a small (smaller than it should be, anyway) crowd will witness one of the finest live bands in Britain doing exactly what they do best. This member of the crowd alone will have a broken drumstick flung toward him and then fully embrace the singer in a lanky, sweaty, mid-song bear hug before he takes the stage again and jettisons the microphone stand into the waiting throng. This singer talks frantically in snatched fragments of dialogue to introduce his band, and seemingly has the dubious gift of having a centre of gravity located about four feet above his head. One of their two drummers will later leap out from behind his kit and run around the back of the venue like the naughty kid at Sunday School, and return in time to perform percussion acrobatics the likes of which haven't emanated from Scotland since… well… ever. The songs this band are capable of constructing are part crafty pop, part horrendous noise and all energy. There simply isn't another band at this stage of infancy and inexperience that manage to sound so unbelievably honed and polished while retaining the most dynamic of demonic assaults on the senses in their live show.
Before that, though, DiS gets the chance, no… the honour of meeting this astonishing band in person. All six of them. All talking over each other. So you'll have to keep up.
World, meet Dananananaykroyd!
Having recently undergone serious line-up changes in which one vocalist left, one of their drummers (you know there's two, yes?) started singing and another replacement drummer was swiftly drafted in, you'd excuse some disharmony within the Dana camp. Teething problems, perhaps. But there's not a bit of it. Drummer no.1 James testifies:
"It's strange, our first show with this line-up was on Thursday [it's now Sunday]… it feels like John's [Dana's new drummer] been in the band for years."
John, slumped on a dressing room sofa like a man who is literally dying for sleep, agrees.
"I feel great…"
Will you be recording any of the songs again with Calum [former drummer, now vocalist] taking the lead?
"All of them!" giggles Calum, seemingly permanently unable to sit still.
And an album? David, songwriter and guitarist says yes: "But we've got one more song to write."
"I think we've got about five more to write," suggests James. And here we see the beginning of the Dana humour, usually straddling the line between plain insulting and tangential whimsy.
"Well you write them then!" comes David's sodden reply. But it doesn't stop.
"I will write them. I've got a whole concept album about being on the Hee-Ho."
Err, the what?
"The Hee-Ho is a condition of starting getting drunk before mid-day. But it's also become something about war crime around Europe." explains James.
"That's not made up," John expands. "Postmen in Glasgow actually use that phrase, it's like a chant. They all go to the pub before mid-day and start chanting, 'We're on the Hee-Ho!' It's a brilliant thing from our heritage."
"We could call the album 'Postman Chant'," proffers David.
"I wanted to call it 'Upside-Down Pocket'. Which is a vagina!" Calum giggles maniacally, once again. He is a naughty boy.
So how does it feel to be officially unsigned after releasing two very popular singles?
"Very, very expensive," David says. James is less sure.
"I don't know what it feels like to have a record label. Well, except for Rock Action…" This, for some reason, prompts mass hysteria from everyone. "I play drums in Errors as well, so I've got a label, but they're not really a label. It's just Mogwai phoning up every now and again… Any kind of label is going to put pressure on you. Being on Rock Action is like being unsigned anyway. That’s a positive thing."
But for an unsigned band to play a sold-out XFM show at the Camden Barfly… that’s pretty special. And to then fill out the same weekend with two more gigs, surviving on nothing but beer and cigarettes? Madness. How have Dananananaykroyd found these last few days in our capital?
"The Barfly was really, really good," says James. "I think we were the most awkward band of the day because we had a full back-line set-up…"
"Patrick Wolf asked for a piano," David replies.
"What an awkward fucking cunt…" John is dour towards the canine singer-songwriter, as is future indie fanboy wet-dream material bassist Laura:
"He not only had a piano, he had a Kelly Osborne with him as well."
"And she took some lifting," says John, provoking a small cavalcade of Ozzy impressions and about five minutes of conversation about something else entirely. After comparing the merits of Morgan from the Blood Brothers' beard and Kelly Osborne's, ahem, "back pocket" (Calum), we return to the Mean Fiddler gig. Duncan, second guitarist akin to a fey panda, describes the scene:
"It was hysterical, we completely smashed it up. There was this big kind of barstool with a solid steel frame that weighed a lot, and it just got thrown at someone. Things were flying about, there were maybe fifteen or twenty people that were really going mental. We played at about two o'clock in the morning, and didn't get a hotel room until about six in the morning."
So you're all feeling great, then?
"Yeah, we call this phase of the human condition 'going digital'," says Calum.
"I've broken through the barrier of what's going on," James concurs.
"Calum's done his voice in," says David.
"I've done my back in," says John.
"I've done David in," says James.
Let's turn for a moment to your live reputation. Despite not playing all that much in your first year of existence (it stands at about twenty), you've gotten a bit notorious for your performances.
"It's because we know how to play rock songs," Begins David. "You won't be surprised to hear that absolutely everyone in this band has played in a band before, and everyone seems to know how it's done. Particularly these two [points at Calum and John]. It's simple. You write good songs, you get up on stage…"
"…And you play them," continues James. "Being on stage playing music is just the most fun."
John simply agrees: "If your songs are good and you play them live and it's obvious that you're enjoying playing them, it's engaging."
Part of that live reputation conforms to the band's self-applied description of 'Fight Pop'. But can a band with such a violent live show justifiably label themselves as any kind of pop?
"'Fight Pop' came true yesterday at the Barfly gig," thinks David.
"It's an oxymoron," says Laura.
Are you fighting anyone at all?
"No. It's aggressive pop music," David sullenly and simply asserts. The plain refusal to fight is another fantastically lovable quality about Dananananaykroyd. It locates their songs in a space entirely uninhibited by external influence, showing their music off in its most… well, musical light.
"Fight Pop is kind of jokey, but it also vaguely accurately describes us. It's fun, but a wee bit aggressive. I fuckin' love pop music. I think Girls Aloud are amazing," admits James.
"It's fun, but I worry that people seem to think we're into some dark, anti-pop music. It's meant to be fun," Duncan agrees. "But sometimes we like a scrap as well…"
Now, it's all very well to throw barstools around the place while your audience swills beer and thinks you're the "bess fookin band evaaah!", but there are some people out there who think your records are important too. Dananananaykroyd don't really have any yet, save for their two singles, 'Totally Bone' and 'Some Dresses'. Between even these first two recordings, the gulf of progression from scratchy pop delicacy swathed in disgusting feedback to shiny pop masterpiece drowned in insanely violent hooks is palpable.
"'Totally Bone' was the first song we played together as a band. There's a good story to it, actually," begins David. "I wrote it in 2001 and my brother stole it off my 16-track. He put it on the internet with a picture of all these girls, then he posted it on a message board asking for girls to get in touch. So 'Totally Bone' has been on the internet since 2001. It got some interest… they were very attractive girls…"
"You know that breakdown bit in the middle of 'Some Dresses'? That was originally much longer, we just took the piss when we were recording it. I was just throwing a drum kit around," James explains. "I even did the Home Improvement noise [strangely hilarious exclamation appearing at the climax of the theme tune to popular Tim Allen shit-com Home Improvement]!" continues James.
Maybe 'progression' was too strong a word. Other members are, apart from not being interested in David's 'Totally Bone' story, less open to the idea that there was much of a progression. I suggest that 'Some Dresses' sounds like Thin Lizzy. That seems to smooth it over.
"I think our music is totally passé. I mean in a sort of trendy sense and all that sort of shit. I think we just have a very cheery, open attitude to the way we write and play," says John after spectacularly spilling a beer.
"We're quite clearly the most unfashionable people…" agrees David.
He calls it "anti-haircut music".
Laura calls it "uncle-haircut music". Wrongly, I continue to laugh at this last comment through David's ensuing diatribe:
"I think if we're more popular just now than other bands doing music at our level then it's because a lot of people are starting to get sick of these people…[clocks me laughing] … that’s funny is it?!"
Sorry. I love how vehement you are about this.
"Nah, I just get kind of angry about that side of things… I'm gonna stop talking, I've had a few beers…"
"David's on the Hee-Ho," says James, and we're back where we started.
Dananananaykroyd, then. After the tape stops rolling, we converse about the annoying way Scottish bands always cite Orange Juice as an influence ("why would I say I love Orange Juice when I clearly don't?" wonders David), the one fan who travelled from Hungary to see the band at each gig this weekend, and we finish with some good-natured Metallica impressions. It all seems remarkably genteel compared to what happens an hour later. So go back to the beginning and read the first two paragraphs again to get a better image of what that might be like. Then remember that I told you that this band is one of the finest live draws in Britain today. You owe yourself the experience of seeing them.
Check out Dananananaykroyd on MySpace, here