Danger! Earthquake!'s Vonnie Talks EP and New Music

Danger! Earthquake! are a five piece post-hardcore band based in Melbourne, Australia. Formed out of members from previous bands in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. Vocalist and bassist Vonnie Sofia discusses about the band's debut EP and the process for their debut full-length album!

1. Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Danger! Earthquake!, and how long the band has been together.

Vonnie: My name is Vonnie and I’m the clean vocalist and bass player for Danger! Earthquake! We started out as a band in January 2013 as a side project between myself and guitarist Simon. After we had written a couple of songs in pre-production and had a good idea of a direction we wanted to take the band in, we started auditioning for people with a similar vision to  come onboard and complete our line-up.

This is where we found our keyboard player Bec, harsh vocalist Allan and drummer Mike. As our line-up grew each new member just seemed to fit right in and we all bonded and started working together and getting along right away. It was a really positive experience for all of us and really helped encourage us to keep moving forward in those early stages as a band, as everything just felt right.

2. Tell us the brief history of your band.

Vonnie: All our members have come from previously established projects and from all different parts of Australia. We were all happy with what we had done in the past but wanted to do something more unique with our music and wanted to escape that perspective of ‘I play in a hardcore band’ or ‘we’re a pop punk band’, and just play something that was more uniquely us.

Simon and I are originally from NSW although Simon had been living in Melbourne for two years already when the band started,. Our keys player Bec had recently moved down from Brisbane and Allan the and Mike the are both Melbourne locals. I moved from Sydney in October 2013. I think these geographical differences has really brought a wealth of knowledge, contacts and experience to the band.

3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

Vonnie: All our band members currently reside in Melbourne and this is our home base for practice, writing and all the functional day to day running of our band. We really still do feel like babies in the local music scene under this band but every experience we've had so far has been tremendously positive.

Even from just our first few shows we have already met some amazing hard working people and made lasting friendships. A scene isn’t a location but a collective attitude of the people who take part in it. We’ve all been pleasantly surprised to find so many great people with great attitudes and personalities taking part in our local scene, but generally this is reflected no matter where we travel whether its Sydney, Brisbane or back home in Melbourne there really is a great sense of unity flowing through the live music scene right now which makes it very easy to be a part of.

For our first shows we joined Sunshine Coast band Hope In Hand who were such fun and positive people to be around and are also just a jaw-droppingly tight live act as well.

Far Away Stables, Justice For The Damned, Polaris, Far From Paris and Hope In Hand are few bands that I can name that are doing so well and that will continue to grow bigger in the next coming months.

4. What type of band are you?

Vonnie: This is that question bands love to avoid, or just give a vague response like ‘we’re a mix of everything’. No band seems to like to label themselves, but luckily I don’t think they need to either. It really is up to the fans to decide what your music means to them.

Because the song-writing really is a group effort for us,  we end up with a pretty large set of influences on the table, but in the end we aim to make it sound cohesive and make sense. We set ourselves goals for each song and how we want it to feel and what emotions we want it to represent as well as focusing on the overall sound we want for our music.

In fact feel is a major part of our song-writing process, no matter what type of song we’re trying to write or what influences we’re drawing from, in the end we always stay focused and ask ourselves ‘So how does this song make us feel? How do we think it will make other people feel?’

So essentially we write heavy music not because we want to be a metal band specifically, but because we want to create music that makes people feel energetic. We incorporate a lot of keys and clean elements in our music because melody makes people feel certain things and you can create certain atmospheres if you’re very specific on what melodies and sounds you use. We’re constantly focused on creating something heavy and full of energy but that always remains beautiful, musical and pleasing to listen to.

5. Why did you want to name the band Danger! Earthquake!? What does it symbolize and represent for the band?

Vonnie: Danger! Earthquake! is a name that doesn't necessarily give away the genre of music, which is quite fitting for us as our sound has many different colours and textures that are not reminiscent to one distinct genre. In fact the name itself is sort of a metaphor to describe 'reading between the lines'. When you simplify the name to D!E! It appears to look like the word 'die', which is a contrast to the name Danger! Earthquake! as this seems to imply a call for help. Our band has always wanted to challenge the norm whether musically or lyrically; things are not what they seem at first glance. Be yourself, read between the lines and question everything.

6. Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

Vonnie: We take a lot of influences from different genres. Personally, I like all types of music and I like that the band also has a wide diverse of music tastes. Again this is something each member contributes their own part too. When we construct our music, sometimes we have an image in our head that we’re trying to re-create in the music such as ‘we want this part of the song to feel like forest at dawn or a scary cave’. We keeping this in mind when coming up with what notes and chords we choose, what sounds, samples and effects we place within the sound-scape. In some ways it’s a very film-score approach to writing a song and we hope other people picture the scenes we’re trying to create.

7. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

Vonnie: Between myself and Allan our lyrics draw on current issues that are happening around the world, and the internal strengths and struggles within ourselves. Allan generally talks about the more political and darker side of the content. My job is to build relief and hope around those lyrics in the chorus. Him and I work together to make sure that the content flows well and that it all makes sense.

8. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)

Vonnie: We have a pretty thorough writing process. Everything starts out as a demo recording mapping out the different parts of the song and working out how they will all transition and feel as a whole. Generally this is an instrumental track from either Simon and/or Bec and we build this instrumental track to a point we’re happy with before adding vocals and then going back over the song and polishing everything up.

We can be pretty ruthless during this process including deleting and re-writing parts right up until the last minute. Our goal is not so much to have a song that has ‘heavy bit’ and goes into a ‘chorus’ or ‘clean bit’. But to have songs that make sense and have an atmosphere the whole way through, if that means deleting that really cool guitar part or synth line because it doesn't make sense in the song as a whole we’re certainly not afraid to do it!

We’re all pretty determined about home recording and producing and we aim to have to most polished finished product before even stepping into a studio because the closer we can get a song to a finished product by ourselves the more convincing and inspiring it is to work on it and get excited about it.

9. How does it feel to have written, recorded, and soon release your debut EP?

Vonnie: This EP has been the most work any of us has put into a project before, we've carefully planned every element from the songs themselves, to how they fit together to how the artwork relates to the lyrics and the lyrics to the music. This EP really is a massive creative project that has the energy of every single band member put into it and we’re so proud to be releasing it.

10. What are your dreams and goals?

Vonnie: Just like any other band, we want to take it as far as life will let us. In the process, meeting new people who connect with our band, making new friends, travelling to places we have never been to and doing what we love to do, while spreading love and having fun! We not only want to be creating music we feel good about playing but also music that other people are listening to and genuinely enjoying.

11. What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?

Vonnie: From the beginning we have always always wanted to be something unique. Whether it's having a lead pianist to replace what would have been a second guitarist, or female and male dual vocalists, we have always been that band on the line up that stands out from the rest for being bold and different. We have never taken no for an answer and always strived to the best of our ability to do things 100%. We always give it our all live, no matter how long we have traveled and we are always so grateful for any opportunity that has ever being given to us.

12. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

Vonnie: We always try to make sure we cover as many bases as possible when we put together a release. You can find us on every major online medium to purchase music, we are also looking at having the EP’s distributed in stores and online so look out for further news on that.

13. What plans do you have for the near future as a band?

Vonnie: We've already begun work on a follow up album, we just want to do all the things bands want to do, we would love to be totally consumed by this project working on something people really enjoy.

14. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?

Vonnie: That you don’t have to stick so strongly to a set of rules, that music is dynamic and takes you from high to low and back to high places really fast, it’s there make you feel and live.

15. Any final words of wisdom?

Vonnie: As cliché as it sounds; never give up on your dreams and be true to yourself. Always go into everything with a positive mindset and you'd be surprised at what you can achieve. 

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