Oh, Canada – Dana Jean with some European reflections and looking forward to Outland Toronto

Jun 23, 2019 | Interviews, Live Events, Music

Earlier this year I found myself strolling through the German city of Darmstadt. What brought me to this quiet Frankfurt suburb? Well Europe’s synthwave scene has found itself a strong bolt hole in this small city and amongst the old town squares and beer halls was one of Canada’s biggest synthwave stars.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last 18 months, you’ll be aware that Canada’s Dana Jean Phoenix has had 2 stints hitting Europe’s biggest cities along with some serious support. This time around Dana was part-way through her European PixelDust Tour and with the support of Nina and Timecop 1983. This hazy spring night brought not only those strong German beers and all the pretzels you could eat, but also a very impressive display from one of the most impressive live synthwave artists that has graced our ever-growing scene.

Fast forward a week and Dana had brought herself to London. So on another warm spring night I took myself to Hoxton to see the woman herself, this time under the reliable care of the UK’s Outland team. Take a look at the Fakeman blog back catalogue for a review of the night itself.

Once the tour was over and all the smoke had cleared, Patrick Fakeman caught up with one of the hardest working artist’s in Synthwave before she hits the stage for Outland Toronto next month.

Enjoy our chat with Dana Jean Phoenix

1. Naturally, not going to ask you which city you had been your favourite to perform in, but do any of your 2018 or 2019 European tour venues or gigs stand out as particularly special and why?

I love touring Europe – they’re so passionate about Synthwave and it’s amazing how giving the audiences are with their energy and how professional the promoters and venues are. Coming from North America, I wasn’t sure what to expect for my first European tour in 2018, and now I’ve really fallen in love with playing out there. I had an awesome blast in Vienna rocking it with Powernerd – we’re going to do more together for sure.  

2. So you are in the venue, far from home, you’ve come out into the crowd to see some of your support acts perform. How does it feel to have that unique synthwave buzz around you which is really evident at live events nowadays?

I feel lucky to be a part of such a growing and vibrant scene. It feels like what I think grunge must have been like back in the early 90s or new wave in the early 80s. It’s fantastic to see all of these incredible artists I listen to just killing it on a stage. Getting to see LeBrock, Kalax, Powernerd, NINA, Timecop1983, Devereaux85, Starcadian, Sheila & The Kit, and David Vunk play shows with me was inspiring and the audiences jamming to it all in the neon glow of the clubs left my head gleefully spinning. Plus, getting to meet up with other awesome producers that I’ve gotten to work with like: TillWild, Ultraboss, and MikeGyver was dope because it feels like we’re all building this scene together. 

3. You’re a really hard working artist in the scene and you’ve taken part in numerous collabs with Europeans artists and those closer to home. What is it about the process which attracts you to collaboration?

I started collaborating just as a way to practice writing and finding my voice as a songwriter. I’ve come to really appreciate the room to play with different producers giving me their unique takes on Synthwave. The scene is so diverse and that’s what really excites me in being able to collaborate with people. I’ve had to cut down on the number of collabs I’ve been doing as I’ve started touring more, but when I have time to do them, I’m all in! 

4. So Outland Toronto is coming in July. It’s a great line up. What are you looking forward to most about it

I’m looking forward to meeting up with some now great friends and sharing the stage with some truly great acts. It’s so rad that the Outland crew is taking this next step in building their brand and synergizing the Synthwave scene across the continents. I can’t wait for my fellow Torontonians to feast their eyes and ears on this Synthwave smorgasbord – and it’s just the beginning. 

You can catch Dana Jean and a host of other top synthwave starts next month at Outland’s City Series event in Toronto. Get the your tickets here. It’s going to be a hell of a night and i’ll see you there, but for now you’ll need to excuse me – I have to return some videotapes.