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about

Sting and the Police had “Roxanne.” Eric Clapton had “Layla.” Michael Jackson sang about “Billie Jean,” and The Killers declared that “Jenny was a Friend of Mine.” Kurt Cobain penned a tune that was “About a Girl.” Indie rock darlings Girls sang for “Laura,” and goth-rock pioneers Interpol bemoaned how “Stella was a Diver and She was Always Down.” So when Los Angeles-based indie-rock trio Daniel and the Dragon decided to name their debut album “Sophia,” it was in the same vein as countless other artists: a piece of music named after a girl. But the source of the name, in this case, wasn’t quite what one might expect.

“I only know one Sophia,” explains Dan Evans, the group’s bassist and lead vocalist. “My best friend Erik had a beautiful baby girl with his wife in December of 2010. I guess that, more than anything else, this record is for her.”

Evans, along with drummer Kris Brown and guitarist Jacob Moss, embarked on an exodus to record Sophia, which the band is self-releasing on February 18. Recording sessions began in Missoula, Montana in August of 2010, followed by additional recording and post-production in Los Angeles through November of the same year. Working in conjunction with veteran producer Matt Lynch at Mysterious Mammal Records, the band committed 12 songs to a record without coming across a name that seemed to fit.

“This whole time, Dan’s keeping us updated on Erik’s baby back in Missoula, all the excitement and nervousness that went along with that,” recalls Brown. “We finally found out it was a baby girl, and when they decided to name her Sophia, I remember we all just sort of perked up at the same time. It was just what we wanted.”

Sophia, while technically Daniel and the Dragon’s second album, marks the group’s first serious move into the Los Angeles music scene. The 12 tracks showcase the band’s diverse ear for rock music, incorporating an experimental palate of organic and electronic textures. Initial cuts from the album brought comparisons to 80s acts like The Cure up to contemporaries like Cut/Copy and LCD Soundsystem.

“Recording was a great accomplishment for us as a band,“ says Evans, who had previously recorded a solo album under the Daniel and the Dragon moniker. “Working as a full unit in the studio gave us some great chemistry, got everyone on the same page. Taking that energy to a live setting has been exciting to say the least.”

“We don’t necessarily pick out a specific sound we’re trying to work towards,” explains Moss. “If we’ve got a good melody, we can build it into a song that incorporates all our musical tendencies into it.” Having several multi-instrumentalists in the band certainly doesn’t hurt: all three members traded places on various cuts on the record.

The twelve tracks utilize a wide range of acoustic instruments in addition to a number of different synthesizers. Evans, the primary songwriter, found inspiration in a hand-me-down Yamaha keyboard to kick-off the writing process. Debut single “Taking it Back” used the instrument to build symphonic arrangements out of clearly-dated samples, building up to the entrance of the other members of the band in a soaring, keyboard-driven bridge.

“That old keyboard has some of Dan’s family history in it, I’m pretty sure,” jokes Kris Brown. “I think his mom played it in a band in the 80s, it sure sounds like it.”

“Yeah, it’s my mom’s old keyboard, no shame in that,” laughs Evans. “She gave it to me so I’d have some company while living away from home in LA. It’s a lot of fun, and we got some great songs out of it, too.”

The band has plans to self-release Sophia on February 18, 2011, playing at The Motley to the View Coffee Shop in Claremont, California. In spite of the humble origins, the trio has lofty aspirations for the coming year. Additional shows are in the works for the greater Los Angeles area, leading up to tours up the West Coast to Portland, OR and Seattle, WA, and inland to Missoula, MT and Denver, CO.

“We’re trying to build as much exposure as we can right now, really work what opportunities we have and try to develop a fan base here in the West,” says Moss. “Our friends have been a huge support for us. We’ve had friends play instruments on the album, set up shows for us, take pictures, just about everything. We’re really lucky to have them.”

With Sophia poised to be released in physical form, the band is hoping an aggressive online campaign can get word-of-mouth buzz out before their larger performing plans are finalized. The new album, as well as older music and demos from Daniel and the Dragon, can be downloaded on a pay-what-you-want basis at danielandthedragon.bandcamp.com.

“We just want people to hear the songs at this point,” says Evans. “It’s a bit of a long shot to ‘make it’ or something like that, playing music anymore. We’re not gonna keep our fingers crossed for something huge, but maybe with a little bit of luck we’ll get a chance. And really, that’s about all any of us would even ask for.”

The trio will look to get their chance in 2011. The record’s namesake might not be aware of a band singing songs in her name, but she’ll certainly be in the thoughts of Evans, Brown, and Moss as February 18 draws near: Sophianturns two months old just days after the album’s release.


Daniel and the Dragon presents their self-released album Sophia

The band consists of:

Dan Evans: vocals, bass, programming
Kris Brown: drums
Jacob Moss: guitar

Tracks of interest:

2. Taking it Back (debut single for the record)
3. Drugs
5. Thursdays
8. Denzel Washington and the Half-Mile


Album credits:

Musicians:

Dan Evans
Kris Brown
Jacob Moss
John D. Robertson
Erik Kappelman
Mike Evans

Mixing and Mastering:
Matt Lynch
Mysterious Mammal Recording
Atwater Village, Los Angeles, California
www.mysteriousmammal.com

Album artwork:

Photography by Kerrin Smith
Digital Editing by Dan Evans

© 2011

Sophia can be downloaded on a pay-what-you-want basis at danielandthedragon.bandcamp.com

For more information, contact the band at
danielandthedragon@gmail.com
(406) 239-2971

credits

released February 18, 2011

Dan Evans
Kris Brown
John D. Robertson
Mike Evans
Erik Kappelman

Recorded in part in Dan's basement, Missoula, Montana. Mostly instruments and stuff like that. Geoff Thomas let us use his drumset. Jeremy Meine let us use his synth.

Matt Lynch of Mysterious Mammal Studios in Los Angeles produced, mixed, and mastered the album. He is responsible for making our shitstorm of a recording session sound good.

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Daniel and the Dragon Missoula, Montana

Music by Dan Evans.

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Track Name: Shotgun
Shotgun he calls as he runs to the car
So we load up the chamber we crave in the cold
We are building a vessel of freedom and flight
Laid down on the table and taken tonight

And I will live with all my mistakes
All wrapped into boxes, my body still aches
I know that you don’t hear a word I am singing at all, you don’t

She went to college a place far away
And peered through the patterns that pulled to your pulse
But Gavin I’ve killed myself thousands of times
In the depths of the summer I paid for my crimes

And I will live with all my mistakes
All wrapped into boxes, my body still aches
I’ll pray for demeanors of splendor inside of your soul

And oh Sophia, all coated in glass
The light and the dark have now balanced at last
Your body it warmed us while we were asleep in the cold
and softly and safely brought my brother home

And I will live with all my mistakes
Wrapped up into boxes, my body still aches
And all I’ve created is filled with depression and strife
So take my old lover, I’m taking my life.
Track Name: Taking it Back
I keep my belt locked tight
I bar the doors at night
Whatever it takes to keep my heart sleeping alone

And when we’re knocking them down
Tune the drums to the sound
Of the beat of our feet as they’re tearing on down the road

I am still praying for a one-night stand
I am still hoping for a way to get back to you girl
Maybe its over and Maybe I’m blind
But baby I’m giving this one more try

I guess that, its all the same

He shipped his body way off
And bundled into the storm so
Wherever he goes he can’t escape her looks

Jesus got off work Exhausted,
he made himself sleep through church
So I didn’t write it down I just stuck it to myself

If people don’t change I can’t keep pace
And if one comes to take your place
I guess she will have to do.

So hey, keep your best eye open
I am coming home again tomorrow
So wait up for me
Track Name: Drugs
You can’t think twice when your body won’t lie and its right here on the table
But if you want one then the other one’s wrong baby that’s how it is
I am not yours I’m a wild freight train and I’m tearing down the highway
So keep your head low keep your hands cold baby I just don’t give a duck

Strap yourself in to this evil machine there’s a lot you’ve got to learn girl
And put me inside put me inside even though the driver is drunk
I am not yours I’m a wild freight train and I’m burning through the mountains
So I don’t even know what you’re waiting here for cause its not gonna stop

Well I’ve been burning with this all consuming fire, for you

We’ve got the green light on the renegade line so let’s dance until the morning
And if you act now maybe somehow somebody will come let you in
A beaten down house in a dark hall put another pill in your system
Whatever you say have it your way, baby I will talk with my gun

Even if you want what the other ones give
Oh girl I cannot stop shaking I just want this to stop
Even if you want what the other ones give
Oh girl my whole body is aching give into me tonight
Even if you want what the other ones give
Oh girl well my friends are all talking how I’m fucked in the head
I am so sick of guitars
She gets in my heart
And she takes
And she takes
And she takes
And she takes
And she takes

You can’t think twice when your body won’t lie and its right here on the table
But if you want one then the other one’s wrong baby that’s how it is
I am not yours I’m a wild freight train and I’m tearing down the highway
But if you want one than the other one’s gone I just don’t give a fuck

even if you run all the angels singing Daniel,
you cannot have them both

sit down
sit down
sit down
sit down
sit down
sit down
sit down
sit down
Track Name: Suitors
Cut into pieces and given to serpents you’ve come here so far from your home
And boys without reason attempt to control you regardless of how far you go
But they are all pressing up against your windows in hopes that someday they’ll belong
And all of your suitors grow tired and exhausted who loves you when they are all gone

He goes to parties that she is attending and finds here amidst all the whores
Its awkward confusing and angers her quickly oh can’t you admit she’s not yours
But they are all pressing up against your windows in hopes that someday they’ll belong
And all of your suitors grow tired and exhausted who loves you when they are all gone

Your lover’s home, he just came in with a look on his face like he don’t want to live anymore
What do you do, oh no I can’t just explain to your face how we’re falling apart to the floor

I sleep in shadows with warm winter blankets and watch people fall through my hands
Oh how longer must I just stay here in silence and only see things I can’t have
Track Name: Thursdays
Is it even yours
You push it around like you fucking own it
And beating down the door
I know that he’s the pilot you are misleading

I want you all the time
I want you even when you are far away yeah
I feel like you just never try
I feel like you’re just twisting me up in circles
Oh what is the game

Well when the world stops turning
I will take you back home

Because we don’t want the other boys knocking us down tonight
I’ve got my money right here, so lets go out
You know you can kiss me if you want
You can kiss me til

We’re creatures of the night
Oh what would your brother say if he knew me
Wrapped up inside your arms
I’m Feeling like the ocean is running through me
How do I explain

Well when the world stops turning
Let’s just keep on flying like we’re fucking free

Because we don’t want the other boys knocking us down tonight
I’ve got my money right here, so lets go out
You know you can kiss me if you want
You can kiss me if you want
Because we don’t want the other boys knocking us down tonight
I’m not gonna write it off, I’m just gonna

Baby are ya breaking no I just can’t shake it off
Everything will be inside its right place afterall

Because we don’t want the other boys knocking us down tonight
Track Name: QUI++ING
For you I would Quit, Yeah I would lay these things down
I would pack up my boxes and I’d ship them all out
I’d return to my hometown and my family would know I had sinned.

For you I would quit, yeah I would give up my lungs
I would buy all these poisons and I’d drink them all up
And I’d break into buildings and at night I would die in my dreams
And I’d swear its not you girl, but it isn’t as clear as it seems

For you I would quit yeah I’d break out my guns
And I’d tear both my legs off so my body won’t run
And I’d give up my textbooks and I’d sing all these songs as I bled

For you I would quit, I would sell all I own
And I’d make some persona up wherever I’d go
And I’d vanish all silent into waters that lie to the west
And no matter of mourning would consume any lovers in death

And how long must this take
I am so damn tired
All these things are adding up

We nailed it down (we nailed him down)
Track Name: St. Augustine
See her once and fall in love I know that
if we passed again things just couldn't be the same
Perfect not cause something's right
cause nothing's wrong cause nothing's real I'd
rather let this be a game.

But still
Track Name: @suk@ [push]
How can you look me in the eye
You broke this thing its yours to burn
You promised you promised you promised
A million times a million flowers

And all of the places you return
You nestled up in my parents home
You promised you promised you promised
But I won’t swallow anymore

And I can’t keep waiting No I can’t keep waiting
For the dead to come home for the dead to come home

When do you run to when you’re gone
The phone calls have all trickled off
A hundred thousand miles an hour
Inhaled into broken bones

Emma was a waitress sweet and kind
But her heart went to a different life
I drove for hours and hours and hours
And couldn’t eat the food I’d brought

Its only a few thousand yards to the goal
But you can’t fight the feeling that eats at your core
Its only a few thousand days to the end
That pushes through phases to break and to bend.
Track Name: Denzel Washington and the Half-Mile
I put my jacket on
Bracing my heart for the inclement weather
Think of the times that we were together
On to the next one, its always the next one

Tracking it til it starts
Baby I know I tore us apart
And living with all this inside my heart
Like where will I sleep when you’re gone

I don’t know where to go
Tracing the coast to north California
Baby I wish someone would have warned you
All of the demons, I know that they seen them

Maybe its all too soon
Maybe you’re sensing how deep I miss you
Running in circles, shaking the earth
I’m not tall enough

But you are much stronger and faster than I
You deserve something pure to the core
And the one that gets away will stay with you so much more
Than the multitude of medals on your door

I did a lot of drugs
I did a lot of girls I’m not proud of
Trading ya in for nights I’m not proud of
What am I doing, can somebody stop me

Living with this disgrace
I hope you never look at my face
I just came along and ripped out the seams
Now I don’t exist at all

But you are much stronger and faster than I
You deserve something pure to the core
And the one that gets away will stay with you so much more
Than the multitude of medals on your door
Track Name: SH^^^RK
Please can you spare me your intentions
All your misgivings
They managed to just miss the mark
Filled with such fluids I am craving
Comforted calmly
Grinning as sharp-toothed creatures
Eat straight through your breast to your heart

If you find your own, then I’ll put this hole in my head

Dear my lover
Rush me to the emergency room
I will greet you in the new day coming
Soaking wet with your new home in my bed
And though you’re distant
I am finally starting to cope
I think its all out
Its all ash

Touring the traps that I am tripping
Drunk out of anger
Drunk I will slay all my friends
Sex is a race that I am losing
Shamefully shaking
I dream of all vacant things
And my heart spilled out onto the land

I’m still in love

If you find your own, then I’ll put this hole in my head

What a waste.
Track Name: untitled techno song
Keeping the lights down low
Follow the footsteps wherever you go
All of my brother’s friends are leaving

You are an open bar
I am here drinking and playing my part
All of the carpet’s worn and faded

When its cold
Who comes to your rescue
But you know
He can see right through you

Go put your good shoes on
A dress and a smile for one you once held
What would I dream of doing just to you

But she was another ghost
One that was special that I loved the most
This is the death of all that’s happened


When its cold
Who comes to your rescue
But you know
Its not gonna stop
I’m taking this oath
For you I would lie down my life

The race is long
I feel so damn tired
But if I give up, this time will be for good
Track Name: Jessica
The father, son, and holy ghost are beating the door down
The father, son, and holy ghost are beating the door down

I want a gun, I want to sleep with it under my bed so at night when I feel shot down
I’ll take it out, I’ll hold the butt of it up to my chest cause I don’t want to live anymore

My best friend, he’ll tend to the woman I’ve loved, cause I know he is better than me
I’m trying SO HARD but I can’t take this back, no you live in my veins

Jessica come home, oh from wherever you are
I will be good, no you won’t have to go hide your face in the dark
Jessica come home, oh when I’m up late at night
I await your word, oh I would run til my body expires

And you don’t have to say it twice.