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Premiere: Richard Dada Surfaces With Debut Single 'Marina Was A Dreamer'

Premiere: Richard Dada Surfaces With Debut Single 'Marina Was A Dreamer'

Tuesday 29th August, 2017 10:25AM

Richard Larsen of Wellington-based off kilter pop group Glass Vaults is unveiling his first official single under the solo moniker Richard Dada. Entitled 'Marina Was A Dreamer', the punch drunk tune takes inspiration from Yugoslavia-born performance artist Marina Abramović, who famously walked the Great Wall Of China in a ceremonious break up with her partner Ulay. Listen to the track below while you read our interview with Richard about the project, and his upcoming album Rose Quartz...

Hi Richard! so ‘Marina Was A Dreamer’ is your first single under the moniker Richard Dada, what can you tell us about the track and what it means to you?

'Marina Was A Dreamer' is a hazy story about two lovers falling fast out of love. It's a homage to Marina Abramović whom with Ulay in a performance/ ritual to end their failing relationship walked half the length of the great wall of China, meeting in embrace at the middle only to turn around and walk back again and end their relationship. It tells a parallel story of what was going on in my own life at the time.

The song has a certain woozy appeal, created by (what sounds like) reversed guitar lines and the likes. What were you looking to achieve with it sonically?

While writing these songs I was mixing them through a tape deck ghetto blaster, the only speakers I owned at the time. I really liked the way the speakers made the songs feel, kind of thin but very tangible and in your face. I wrote them in my room in Berhampore, Wellington, surrounded by crystals and ylang ylang. The music is lo-fi, and wordier then my work with Glass Vaults. I wanted these songs to tell a longer more personal story.

Dada was of course a revolutionary arts movement that emerged in the early 20th century. What made you take up the name for your solo moniker?

While I was working on these songs I came across this amazing Ghanaian musician from the 1970s called Charlotte Dada which reminded me of my affinity with the Dada movement: rejection of logic, rejection of capitalism, expression of nonsense, anti-bourgeois, anti-art, anti-war, anti-nationalism and the rejection of my own family name are all things I can get behind.

I like the way Dada looks on a page, sounds on the tongue, and how it transforms the word Richard, which to me is quite "ordinary" and stoic into something quite different.

More than anything it allows me a space to explore an alliterate version of myself.

What have been some of the key differences on working through solo stuff as opposed to creating in a collaborating like Glass Vaults?

Not being able to give the difficult songs to someone else to finish/fix.

You have a solo album almost ready to come out. How have you recorded it and how long have you been working on it?

Rose Quartz was recorded over a couple of weeks in June 2016 in a small side room at Blue Barn Studios in Wellington. I was sleeping on friends couches at the time as I was due to leave the country. I really enjoyed that time, rushing to finish these songs before I left. I'd lived in the Wellington region for most of my life and knew I might not ever return to live there again, it was a ritualistic farewell.

My good friend Adam Ladley (Family Cactus) lent me all his gear for the sessions, he is the most generous guy. Cory Champion (Borrowed Cs) lent his drum skills to these tracks and the super talented Bevin Smith mixed and mastered the album which will be out later in the year.

Bonus - I actually sneakily released a track last year called 'Levitation' while I was in Europe. Only the handful of people who were at the show, and my friends would have heard it.

Richard Dada

Sunday 10th September, The Blue Smoke Christchurch w/ This Way North
Friday 22nd September, Space Gallery Christchurch
Saturday 23rd September, None Gallery, Dunedin


Tickets to the Blue Smoke show available over here

Photo by Daniel Whitaker


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The Sunday Sit Down: Richard Dada with This Way North
Sun 10th Sep 3:00pm
Cassels Blue Smoke, Christchurch