At some point in history, it became a given that debut albums by indie bands had to be described as some kind of virtuosic, single-minded work. It’s such a boring trope: the suffering auteur, going mad from their own genius, working with a band but channelling some vision they could only ever craft alone. That idea is simplistic, and often untrue, but it’s especially untrue for Gems, the debut album by Dannika – out January 29.
Dannika announces the forthcoming album with lead single “I Don’t Wanna Be With Anyone“. Fresh from a first play on RRR’s Breakfasters this morning, the track is hailed the album’s most stunning love song, and is about Dannika wanting to be by herself – not in a sad, defeated sense, but in a way that is sharp and clarified.
Forthcoming album Gems follows four years on from Dannika’s first EP For Peaches – a lifetime, when your friends are some of the most prolific musicians in Melbourne: Liam Parsons, Stefan Blair (from Good Morning) and Paul Ceraso. Gone is the endearing looseness of For Peaches, replaced instead by thick grooves that grip tightly.
Dannika slips into the music on Gems like a favourite hoodie, a pair of well-worn shoes. And it’s important to note that the album’s namesake does not refer to precious jewels, but to Dannika’s favourite food, potato gems — things to be devoured, comforted and nourished by, best consumed at any time of day or night, and, of course, most enjoyed when shared.
Beyond music, Dannika Horvat is an award-winning writer, director and filmmaker based in Naarm / Melbourne. Through intimate performance driven work, Dannika is drawn to telling stories that focus on young women and deals with themes of sexuality and moral ambiguity. Her 2014 short film The Summer of ABC Burns was awarded Best Director and Best Screenplay at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival and Sydney’s WOW Film Festival respectively.