Emerging from the land of Ian Brown and the UK’s first ever IKEA, Danxia are Warrington’s very own answer to the shoegaze revival. Already playing shows with the likes of Johnny Marr, we caught up with their guitarist James Atherton ahead of their next EP release.
How did Danxia start?
Danxia was a coming together of musicians from different bands who shared a mutual practice space and more importantly shared similar musical taste. We started out around spring of 2015, just turning up and playing long improvised sessions together.
When did you learn of shoegaze? Was it a part of your life when growing up??
I don’t think any of us were directly into shoegaze growing up, although I think our drummer Luke has been into Ride for a long time. Growing up in a town like Warrington there’s always been a big love for Manchester bands like Oasis and The Stone Roses, which is still as strong now as it has ever been. These are two bands that for some of us were possibly a gateway into the more effects driven bands that were knocking about in the same era. I personally became aware of shoegaze the morning after a heavy night out when a friend introduced me to Souvlaki.
When you’re writing music, what’s your process?
I wouldn’t say we had a set process for writing, but it usually begins with someone coming up with an idea they’ve been working on by themselves. We then as a group expand on by jamming out at practice. That applies for both music and lyrics. Having our own practice space with no time restrictions means we get the freedom to spend plenty of time messing with new ideas.
You had the honour of playing on the same bill as Johnny Marr, what did that feel like?
Yeah that was a really great night, getting to share the bill with an iconic guitarist like Johnny Marr was pretty surreal to be honest. It was probably the biggest show for us so far as well and we got a good response from everyone there.
You released Danxia EP back in September, where did you record it
Our practice space doubles as our ‘recording studio’. We’re pretty limited to what we can create in there with it not being the best sounding room, but that can also play to our advantage in terms of having to take a different route to get things to sound good. The main benefit from how we record is how much time we can spend tweaking, as we pay rent monthly rather than paying by-the-hour for a proper studio. We haven’t got anyone else interfering or breathing down our necks to get a move on with a mic placement for example, so we enjoy that freedom.
How is this DIY aesthetic working for you? Is it something you want to continue with future releases?
In terms of an aesthetic, it is probably working for us now more than it was in the beginning as we’ve improved our recording techniques and Louis (bassist/sound engineer) is constantly getting better at production. We have just finished recording our next EP in the same manner, but we are looking to record some single tracks, live, in an actual studio in the coming months with more professional gear.
Was there certain shoegaze acts, or any artists in general, that influenced Danxia EP?
I’d say for us easily our biggest shoegaze influence is Slowdive, whose sound kind of touches everything we do. So they would definitely be on the list of what we were listening to. It was more of a range of artists really though for this EP, I’d say there was some Holydrug Couple and Radiohead in there for sure.
When are you planning on releasing new material?
Our second EP, Learn to Swim, is being mixed right now. Hopefully for release in early March on Bandcamp again.
Is there any other new shoegaze acts that people should be listening to?
Rev Rev Rev (Italian psychy-shoegaze) and Sorry Escalator – Our friends from Middlesbrough, for fans of Yuck, they’re knocking about on Bandcamp. Also LSD and the Search for God.
What’s the plan for the rest of 2017 for Danxia?
Write. Write. Write. We’re probably not going to record anything bigger than a single for a while after this new EP is released, I think we will probably just keep working on our material and hone our live set… and obviously keep buying pedals.
You can check out Danxia’s material over on their Bandcamp