My sit-down with Dayvid Michael and Franco Dollas of Danko Mars was free flowing and shapeless. What I mean is we landed on topics such as Kanye, Lil Wayne, and Lil B being the most influential artists on this generation, which was peppered with random unprovoked references to Rick and Morty, all before returning to the subject of the duo’s upcoming album; among a lot of other random tangents. And it’s those tangents, I learned, that are a key part of their creative process.
There’s something going on in the Bay right now. Let’s talk about Oakland. For one reason or another, the creative scene is bubbling out of control and these two are located dead in the center of it all. Part of my mission for this blog is to spotlight Bay Area artists and entrepreneurs. I’m drawn to our locals who have the nerve to build something with their own two hands. That is part of the story of True and a mentality so ingrained in the heart of the Bay and part of what natives fear the Bay is losing. What’s going on in Oakland right now is entirely organic, homegrown, and Danko Mars are one direct reflection of it.
I know Dayvid by way of his music with the trio Down 2 Earth (with Clyde Shankle and True collaborator Azure) as well as his solo work. I asked him and Franco how and why they decided to link up and after a few more similar questions quickly realized what they do isn’t really a matter of deciding. Danko Mars came about simply because they were friends, happened to be making music separately, and one day it just made sense to do something together. “A lot of it is freestyled” Dayvid explained when their album came up. Oakland is popping right now and I asked them if, going into any of the their sessions, they aimed for something different than the competition or if they drew inspiration from the scene. They don’t really think about it. Creatively, their process is free flowing and shapeless. In this DIY era it’s easy for artists to follow what’s trending or to hop on an already existing wave whereas these two retain absolute confidence in themselves and their abilities. They aren’t afraid to bet on themselves. Right down to the name Danko Mars, a combination of their names. They are who they are.
The first song from their album “Horror” is one that showcases their chemistry as a duo. Over Wax Roof’s eerie blob of live instrumentation, Dayvid’s laid back delivery compliments Franco’s heavier, more urgent tone. Their differences come together seamlessly as the two perform with a signature slur over drums sparse enough for them to really swing with it. The track feels like the come up. It feels like triumph. It feels like the waxings of two young kings who know they’re kings, “dripping in gold.” I can’t really tell who their direct influences might be. Maybe it’s just whatever they feel the moment. Maybe it’s just them themselves. “Horror” feels free form and vibey; like two Oakland cats just talking with a limp for three minutes and thirty-nine seconds. Whatever it is they’re cooking and however you would describe it, I’m looking forward to the album and what they have in store.
What up to Danko Mars!