Folly Beach roots rockers return with a set of tunes inspired by two years on the road.
In recent years, Charleston, South Carolina, has developed into one of the Southeast’s music havens. At the forefront of this Palmetto State music scene is Dangermuffin, a trio of folk rockers known for groovy, grassy, spacey jams. Dangermuffin – drummer Steven Sandifer and guitarists Dan Lotti and Mike Sivilli – recently released their latest record, Olly Oxen Free. We caught up with Dan Lotti after a recent round of disc golf to chat about the new tunes.
BRO – How important is proximity to the beach to your music?
DL – It’s important, but I think it’s important in a sense similar to our proximity with everything in nature. As we have traveled, a lot of the places that we have seen, like the mountains and the things that were very natural, gave us a strong energy. That energy is very to us as artists – it resonates with us.
BRO – When you guys are on the road, are you able to get outside and play?
DL – Absolutely. The number one thing we look forward to doing after sitting in the van for ten hours straight is grabbing a round a disc golf or something like that. We appreciate the wonderful venues and bars that we get to play, but if we can play festival and get outside, it’s just a totally different vibe. It’s very collective. Anything we can do to get outside, we’re there.
BRO – You guys play with a somewhat unconventional line up – two guitars and drums. With no bass, who holds down the low end?
DL – I’m holding it down. Or I’m trying to! I play a thin line acoustic guitar called a Godin that gets a pretty solid signal. I play using a palming technique and a bass rig for one of my signals, and that’s the way we have been doing it. Certain rooms are better for it than others, and it always plays really well outside. It’s something I have always done and it really helps us keep things simple. Just the three of us. We can all fit in the van, keep the overhead low, and that really helps an independent band like us. We also feel like it gives us our own fingerprint. With any band, there is only a finite amount of sonic space. You can split that six ways, with horns or back up singers or however you want to do it, or you can split it three ways. That’s what we do. With fewer people, we all have room to do what we want to do within that fixed space.
BRO – What can you tell me about the new record?
DL – We’re really happy to have it out there. It’s an all-local project – we’re very proud of all that our Charleston music scene has to offer, with world class local studios to record in. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have done this at home. These songs come from the last two years of touring. Getting out there has really changed my perspective about the country and people – there was a lot of inspiration gathered from that. A lot of these songs are based on those travels. With the touring and the title – Olly Oxen Free – it really had to do with liberation. I think that being able to travel and do what we do as musicians, we really try to focus on staying grateful for that. It’s really an awesome thing to go around and meet so many folks. It’s really freeing, and the title plays into that. On the deeper end, there are some truths – some vibrations – in some of the stuff, especially lyrically, that I like to write about. I think that the truths will mean different things to different people, and that’s really liberating.
BRO – We’re featuring “Rattle That Cage” on this month’s Trail Mix. Can you give me the story behind that tune?
DL – I think it is consistent with the idea of liberation. The chorus says, “Rattle that cage, can you even see it.” I think that we can all easily put ourselves in our own personal cages, and sometimes it is really hard to recognize that they are even there. The idea is to look back, recognize our current situation, and shake it up. Once we realize what it is that is holding us back, when we can point at it and see that it is inhibiting us, it’s a lot easier to unlock the door ourselves and walk on out.
You can catch Dangermuffin playing tunes from their new record on June 28th at The Grey Eagle in Asheville and in Greensboro on July 4th – FOR FREE – at the Fun Fourth Festival.