Track-by-Track: Gold Coast’s DVNA Compels with Intimate & Alluring Debut EP ‘All My Friends’

DVNA "All My Friends" © 2020
DVNA "All My Friends" © 2020
Spellbinding with a hearty, jazzy, and soul-shaking sound, DVNA’s debut EP ‘All My Friends’ is as compelling as it is immersive – a revealing upheaval of real life moments and emotions full of nuance, color, and effervescent energy.
Stream: “All My Friends” – DVNA

All my friends are crazy – anxiety so trendy, it’s gone mainstream…

An enchanting record built out of those long nights spent burning the midnight oil, DVNA’s debut EP is an intimate seduction.

Spellbinding with a hearty, jazzy, and soul-shaking R&B blend, All My Friends is as compelling as it is immersive – a revealing upheaval of real life moments and emotions full of nuance, color, and effervescent energy.

All My Friends EP - DVNA
All My Friends EP – DVNA
All my friends are crazy
Anxiety so trendy it’s gone mainstream
I raise a glass to all confused and dazed too
This worlds so damaged I don’t even blame you
Precious butterfly under smoky sky
Dodging water guns under tea stained suns
If I took your pain, please tell me you’d stay
Promise that I’d do whatever it takes

Independently released September 25, 2020, DVNA’s self-produced All My Friends EP offers a stunning introduction to the Gold Coast artist, whose 2018 debut  single “Girl on the Move” and 2019’s follow-up “Looking Like a Snack” established her as an exciting fresh face in Australia’s indie scene. Pronounced “Da-na,” DVNA’s music is sure to attract fans of jazzy indie pop and soulful R&B alike: Working out of her bedroom, the artist blends her sultry, raw vocals with a wealth of electronic and acoustic instrumentation that recalls the likes of HONNE, Izzy Bizu, Atwood artist-to-watch The Shadowboxers, and so on and so forth: Fat bass lines cut deep grooves with steady drums, atop which a wealth of keys, guitars, and vocals coalesce and soar.

All My Friends is a spill-all piece that reveals the very real conversations that go on between my friends, my family, my love interests, and myself,” DVNA tells Atwood Magazine. “I express personal thoughts and secrets, and uncover late night antics throughout its entirety, unveiling parts of them and myself that I hope listeners will be able to resonate and connect with on a deep level. It’s cheeky, jazzy and truthful, a deeper dive into the world of DVNA.”

DVNA "All My Friends" © 2020
DVNA “All My Friends” © 2020

Dazzling with provocative musicality and intense personal depth, All My Friends is certainly a delicately crafted experience, its interludes and spoken-word segments adding extra shading to an already fierce set of tracks. Yet for all the work that goes into each arrangement, DVNA’s golden voice shines brightest across and throughout her music. From the moment she takes flight in the hot and feverish “Sushi in Tokyo,” DVNA’s silken pipes lead the way through mighty highs and heavy lows.

Listen, I’m tuning deep into my intuition
It’s telling me things I don’t want to mention
But if I did I’d tell it all to you, what am I supposed to do?
Skyline, swerving in and out between these white lines
This offer only comes once in a lifetime
Because it did I’ll give it all to you
What am I supposed to do?
Rolled up like sushi in Tokyo
I’m not used to this two to one ratio
Ask what are the chances
I play the cards I deal and I won’t quit
but how did I get myself here

All My Friends EP is a journey from start to finish,” DVNA explains. “A 9-track jazz club rehearsal that features a mysterious busker pulled from the street named ‘The Sax Man’. Lightly weaving in and out of the tracks, I only drip feed the sax player up until the very end, teasing his skills before he unleashes on the final track and the rehearsal comes to a close. The narrative is fueled by voicemails, setting up or concluding the songs as if I were hearing them at the time of rehearsal and singing about them then and there.”

All My Friends’ deftly-structured flow turns its set of songs into a full-throttle experience: An indulgent adventure that brings us up-close and personal with DVNA and her late-night reveries. Every track has its place as a result of this setup, but highlights like “Sushi in Tokyo,” title track “All My Friends,” and the EP’s energizing closer “More to Give” make for an all the more memorable and catchy delight. If you’re not on your feet and dancing by the end of this record, please – boost the volume and try again.

DVNA "All My Friends" © 2020
DVNA “All My Friends” © 2020

For DVNA, this EP is more than just a comprehensive take on her musical identity: Its lyrics and voices reflect her immediate surroundings and her physical world. “I wrote and produced this album in my house on the Gold Coast – a little surf shack that I took refuge in during the pandemic,” she shares. “I would constantly listen to a plethora of artists who directly affected my writing and production. Artists across all different genres, although I was taking a specific liking to UK jazz at the time. Artists such as Tom Misch, Yussef Dayes, ELIZA, Rex Orange County, Matt Corby, Jorja Smith, Moses Boyd, Santana, Lily Allen, Stella Donnelly, Hiatus Kaiyote, Daniel Caeser, Ravena, and Katy Perry. Although I knew I was still learning and finding my sound, I had to trust in the fact that I was inching closer with these incredible writers and musicians as my influences. I’m super proud of this body of work.”

All My Friends’ folds are endlessly alluring: It’s a deeply nuanced, meaningful, and exciting listen from start to finish. DVNA is without a doubt someone to keep close eyes and ears on – an artist whose music can light up our days and set fire to our nights.

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside DVNA’s All My Friends EP with Atwood Magazine as the artist goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of her debut EP!

Stream: ‘All My Friends’ EP – DVNA

:: Inside All My Friends ::

All My Friends EP - DVNA

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Sushi In Tokyo

The EP’s first full length track is Sushi in Tokyo. A journey through self-empowerment, sexuality and self-discovery. I sing about a true story, a one-off intimacy connecting mind body and soul that aims to empower sexuality and leave room for listener interpretation. Set in Tokyo, Japan, the song touches on underground, unspoken taboo culture often only reached in fantasy. Cemented with oriental samples, it allows the listener to enter a beautifully erotic world for three and half minutes, filled with smoke hazed bars, skylines and neon lights. The song came together late 2018 after having a fling with someone who had this epic story to tell. I didn’t write it immediately after hearing the story, though when I did sit down with paper and pen it came out super quick. It was after Mac Millers passing and I found myself listening to his song ‘What’s the Use’. It inspired the first leg of production and chords. It was a very basic two chords and only two notes on the bass. I found an oriental, Japanese style sample that I thought was so fitting for this song. It sits nicely in the chorus, barely audible but I think it would feel empty if it wasn’t there. Keys are played by a very talented friend of mine Aidan Rahman who I got over one night to record after eating ramen together. Some ad libs and a smokey bar intro helped bring the song to completion and kicks off the All My Friends EP with a bang, literally.

Why You Gotta Be So Nice

This track is a little narrative about someone being too nice and too soft in the bedroom. It’s basically is a collective of stories gathered over the years. Don’t get this song twisted, a nice and respectful man is an absolute must, no one wants an asshole, but sometimes a girl just needs a man who can take charge and respectfully, not be so gentle. Lyrically, inspired by the clever, humorous writings of Lily Allen and Katy Perry, I wanted them to be quirky and a little cheeky, poking fun in a way that both women and men can find relatable. I certainly get a giggle every time I sing them. Dipping my production toes into the world of reggae- inspired by artists like Daniel Caesar and Masego – I took it slightly down more of a soulful route, infusing elements of jazz and modern-day hip hop into my vocals, creating a blend that is unique to my own sound as an artist. The track is complete with a godly preach in the bridge backed by a choir of several layers of me. A cathedral style reverb across the vocals gives it that haunting church style ring out which was a lot of fun to do.

All My Friends

All My Friends touches on the growing pressures and anxieties surrounding social media and its negative impacts on mental health. These highly addictive, validation seeking platforms skew our view of the world and most importantly ourselves. A constant comparison to false, edited and highlighted versions of humans that are unrealistic and often unattainable.
This song was written at the start of 2020, when the bush fires were at their peak in NSW and the skies were filled with smoke. I had many friends opening up to me about their struggles with depression, anxiety and self-worth. Like a heavy weight on their chest, the pressure to ‘do something amazing’ or ‘be successful’ or ‘get married and have children’ became too much and all seemed to stem from the endless scrolling stream we hate to love. Personally, I was able to relate on so many levels, having experienced these feelings for myself, although expressing it the only way I knew how. Through song. I sat down with my guitar and wrote it in about 30 minutes. From there I began production.
Lyrically, some of my deepest, yet sonically very playful and sarcastic. I wanted contrast between the two as we seem to mask our true feelings in order to appear ’put together’.
Paying homage to the phrase ‘Ok boomer’ – which circulated the internet around the time – you’ll notice that both pre chorus’ almost act as a sarcastic conversation with someone from an older generation.
“You think we’re so impatient! Way too self-obsessed! We don’t know what work is, how can we be so stressed!”
This song is for people struggling to make sense of this chaotic world. It’s for people that should know it’s okay NOT to have everything together and what you see isn’t always how it is. Seeking validation externally will never work and you’ll find pure bliss when you surrender to the fact that you are exactly where you’re meant to be.

When I’m Your Girl

This is one of my favourites on the EP, for its simplicity and rawness. I wrote this earlier in the year when the Corona Virus had just hit Australia and everything was starting to shut down. I was in Melbourne at the time and had organised a date with someone I had met a couple of days prior. The times were scary and uncertain and we couldn’t go anywhere or do anything like you would usually do on a date, so he ended up coming over to my Airbnb and we shared beautiful deep conversation over some cheap Mexican. The world was melting around us but he made me forget about all of that and put my mind at total ease. I was leaving back to the GC the next day and couldn’t wait to get home to write about this amazing yet bizarre experience! As soon as I jumped off the plane in my hometown, I raced home and wrote this track in about an hour, including the production. It was quick, raw and honest and reminds me of that night every time I listen to it. The original and ONLY bounce of this track made the EP as I unfortunately deleted the session by accident. I knew trying to re-create it would have lost the original spark and magic within it, so I decided to leave it in its raw state and let it run free.

Half Past Sober

Half Past Sober is a true story about heartache and betrayal. A longing for love in a person who isn’t capable, though you hold on to the thought that maybe one day they could be. This conversation happened with a friend around 2 years ago. This relationship was equally as passionate as it was toxic. A dysfunctional, heated, electric love affair that probably never should have happened, though glad it did. We’ve all been in situations where feelings aren’t reciprocated. You begin to feel weak, desperate and a slowly turn into a shell of your former self. Pricking your fingers on the staples barely holding the relationship together and learning to love the pain. Originally written and performed on the guitar, I felt it needed a little more. I teamed up with my good friend Fractures in his cute little Melbourne studio to bring this song to life. Fractures performed bass and some guitar as well as helping with production and vocal arrangement. Now, the track is musically dynamic, soft and intimate in times of vulnerability and climactic/ chaotic towards the end when frustration and anger begin to take over. I personally love to play this one live as it connects with my audience on another level. Usually sung alone with my electric guitar, it’s emotional and super raw and I can’t wait for people to hear it.

More To Give

More To Give reflects the morals and values I was bought up on and will continue to practice throughout my life. Featuring the voice of my mother, she introduces the track with short supportive dialogue about nurturing a creative dream and remembering to be true to who you are. She, and the rest of my family raised me without prejudice and always encouraged me to include everybody from every walk of life.
I was always told to keep two feet on the ground no matter what and that there’s ALWAYS more you can give or more you can do for somebody else. Whether it be through lyrics, volunteering, a simple act of kindness or by setting an example, it’s important to use this time on earth to better the experience of someone else. This is my favourite production to date, I feel it really showcases my playing ability as a musician as the track is quite live sounding.
I drew on inspiration by artists who tend to use live recordings quite a-lot. Tom Misch, Yussef Dayes, Matt Corby, and Hiatus Kaiyote. Fusing my favourite parts of each artist into one track.
The lyrics were written around 2 years ago, and came together within a day. I remember getting quite emotional writing them as it made me realise how fortunate I am to have such a supportive and caring family around me. One who encourages me to chase after my dreams and own my creative abilities. The ending showcases the extremely talented Jeff Reid on saxophone. I wanted it to sound like an improvised all-in jam at the end. Bringing the show and the Ep to a close.

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All My Friends EP - DVNA

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