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Dina Gathe


Bother Me

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Bother Me 
by Dina Gathe

CEV:  Since this is your debut album how about a run down on how and why you got into music as a way of introducing yourself to those out there who donít know you yet. 

DG:  Music has been in my veins from as far back as I can remember!   

We always had instruments in the house when I was growing up, and many of my cousins and friends played music.  I consider music to be one of my closest friends and certainly the one friend who knows me better than anyone and has been around the longest!  I had piano lessons when I was about five years old...played trumpet in marching band (yes, can you believe it? haha) and ALWAYS loved playing the guitar.   I started toying with songwriting in my teens, and I was lucky to have a great musician cousin (Dana Gathe) who lived down the street from me and was patient enough to teach me a lot of things on the guitar and introduce me to some music that ended up having interesting influences on XTC, The Beatles and Frank Zappa.  I think generally speaking, lots of family and friend good times involved playing music and music has always been a strong and positive force in my life. 

I'm very excited to have finally been able to make the record that I've always wanted to share my experiences through the music. 

CEV:  Who were some of the major musical influences on your songwriting style? 

DG:  Well, I would definitely have to start with Chrissie Hynde.  Though there have been many, many influences, she was a highly significant and important influence for me and probably one of the earliest influences as well.  I think I all but wore out my first Pretenders record (The Pretenders).  I loved the mix of tenderness, punk and rebellion....great songs...great writing.  I certainly owe a lot to the great strong female rockers like Pat Benatar, Joan Jett, Annie Lennox, and Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart (to name a few) who have certainly influenced my singing and songwriting. 

I grew up listening to and enjoying a variety of different music -- from very commercial pop music to more eclectic music...even R&B and soul.  KROQ (LA-based radio station) in the early 80s was a deep well of musical influences for me (bands like The Plimsouls, Missing Persons, Talking Heads, New Order, etc.)...but I also enjoyed listening to other rock music like Led Zeppelin, Bowie, Queen, AC/DC.  XTC has always been a favorite band of mine....Prince a favorite artist, and nowadays my favorite band is Gomez.  I also really appreciate Nirvana's music and Kurt Cobain's songwriting style...I like the realness and the angst.  But Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind & Fire....Al Green...Barry White....I can really dig all that, too.  Blues, funk, rock, jazz....all of it...from Pat Metheny to Angus Young to Stevie Ray...heck, I guess if it's good and it moves me I can appreciate it! 

As for how they influence my writing....well, they're all in there somewhere! 

CEV:  Tell me about how you go about writing your songs. Do you ever just sit down with the intention to write songs and they just pour out?

DG:  Typically they just rear their heads when they're ready to come out and now I just try not to get in the way when that happens.  I've even woken up from dreams at times where I was playing and singing the song in my dream....then woke up, grabbed a guitar and started letting the song come out ("Harmony" happened that way). I have tried to be more disciplined about writing songs even when I'm not in the mood to write, and have had some success that way.  I think it's changed over time for me.  In the past I would end up with a lot of little pieces....lyrics, music for a chorus, music for a everything tends to happen at once.  PK and I have also developed a nice writing partnership where oftentimes she will start with an idea and I'll take it and run with it...put on my spin, for my style and finish it off.   

I never cease to be amazed with the wonder and magic of songwriting.  One day there is nothing, and the next day there is a beautiful new creation.  That being said, I also can't say enough about songwriting organizations like Songsalive! or's important to balance your own creativity with the "craft" of songwriting and those organizations are great resources for elevating your awareness and developing discipline when crafting songs. 

CEV:  Is there a theme that runs through the music on Bother Me or do you view each song as a separate entity?

DG:  No, I didn't start out with any kind of theme though I think that's an interesting concept.  Maybe I'll try that next time!  In fact, in the beginning I was a bit worried about the diversity in my songwriting...that the songs wouldn't all "belong" on the same record.  But as it turns out, people seem to really enjoy the fact that there's uniqueness and diversity to each song within the record.  Something for everyone, I guess.  It can make it a bit more challenging when trying to categorize the album into one single genre.  My biggest goal with "Bother Me" was to not be burdened or limited by trying to follow some specific or set sound agenda (though sometimes that can be an interesting approach), but to allow each song the freedom to have its own personality and for that to come out during the production process...and to not be afraid of any particular direction if that's what the song called for.  I think we did a great job with that, and I'm very proud of what we've achieved with "Bother Me".  In spite of the diversity, I think we were able to develop a common thread as well. 

I also wanted to deliver a real "album" project....something that takes you on a journey from start to finish....something that was intended to be listened to from beginning to end.  Each song stands on its own, but to really get the "Dina Gathe flavor", you need to listen to the album.  All of my favorite records are albums that I genuinely enjoy listening to from beginning to end.  That's one of the things that I appreciate about Gomez....they are so multidimensional.  You can't listen to one Gomez song and understand the band.  But listen to "Liquid Skin" or "In Our Gun" and you'll appreciate who they are and what they're doing. 

CEV:  As a songwriter do you draw your inspiration from situations that you observe around you or do you write more from personal experience?

DG:  I think I tend to write more from personal experience, although "Solid Ground" is an example of making observations about Hollywood "celebrity-ism" and "Las Vegas Diamonds" stems from plenty of visits to Vegas and watching the many types of personalities that exist in that environment.  For Vegas Diamonds I just developed a fictitious character and a story that I believed could happen a thousand times a day in Vegas (and probably does!).  Otherwise, most of what you'll find on "Bother Me" are songs written from personal experience, and I try to deliver those experiences in a way that others can relate to.  Even if they haven't had the exact experience, perhaps they can relate to the mood or the emotion.

CEV:  Did growing up in Los Angeles influence your musical sensibilities and how you eventually expressed yourself in your songs?  Would any major city have had the same effect on your music or is LA unique in the influences you might find yourself exposed to?

DG:  Hm...that's a tough one because I haven't lived anywhere else but Los Angeles.  I do think that I have always been exposed to creative and passionate people here and perhaps that's influenced me to a degree.  It's possible that my thicker skin and cynical side could have come from growing up in LA , but I suppose that can happen with any big city.  I developed a certain street edge and hard-earned wisdom from my youth in LA, and perhaps that's reflected in my music and lyrics.

CEV:  One of my favorite songs on Bother Me is A Perfect Love. I loved the solo guitar piece and it seemed to have Middle Eastern groove at the beginning which intrigued me. Tell me more about this song and what went into its making.

DG:  That song stemmed from a turning point in my personal life where I had come to a sort of of those "taking inventory" moments in ones life where you reflect on where you've been and try to contemplate where to head from that point.  So, that song developed into a sort of  position of strength for me to make my own way....and not direct my life according to some standard that wasn't created by really allow my self to come to fruition...whatever that may be.  I think that growing up in LA I was very money-focused (but not in a good way).  I'm glad that I've always been ambitious, but at some point I realized that the things that I wanted to accomplish for myself had very little to do with the culturally-sold "staples" of success....the house...the car..the jewelry, etc.  And that the love that I was seeking in my life really had more to do with self-love and independence.

I also love the middle-eastern thing that we have going on there....that started with a guitar lick that just sort of happened when I had pre-produced the song and then we just exploited that element in the final production.  Gilli's synth part was a nice addition, too.  PK is actually "playing" a belly dancer's jingly belt in parts of that song.

CEV:  Did you always plan on releasing Bother Me on your label Soundstruck Music or did you shop it around first as an independent project?

DG:  I always planned on releasing "Bother Me" under Soundstruck and it hasn't been shopped. 


I'm certainly open to other possibilities but for now I've been enjoying the experience and freedom of an independent project.  I recognize that marketing takes money, and so I am open to the right label or sponsorship opportunities. 

But I will say that none of those things have been THE goal for me.  Making my music in an honest way, playing my music in an honest way, and finding creative ways to expose my music are my if something comes along that helps me do those things and it makes sense, then I'll be all ears.  Luckily I do have a very strong sales and marketing background (including contracts).

CEV:  Is Soundstruck Music strictly for your own music or will you add other artists to your roster in the future?  

DG:  Soundstruck Music was set up strictly to launch my music and as a production company.  I don't have any plans for the foreseeable future to add other artists on a label basis.  I think I would only ever explore that if I were no longer trying to get my own artist career off the that I could give other artists my undivided attention and dedication.  So, who knows in the future.  For now, I do look forward to helping other songwriters and artists create quality recordings of their work (on a for-hire basis), and currently Soundstruck is expanding its recording studio in order to do this.  Certain parts of "Bother Me" were recorded at Soundstruck.

CEV:  Do you have any favorites on Bother Me that you enjoyed writing or recording more than others?

DG:  There were a lot of fun favorites and mostly I enjoyed the entire process though it did have its challenging moments.  "Alone" is a song that stands out for me mostly because it was one of the "problem children" on the record and was almost scrapped.  Originally the song was done in a much faster tempo and with an entirely different focus....kind of an Aerosmith-type rock ballad with Chili Peppers-esque guitar.  But it wasn't working at all.  So, there we were on the verge of tossing the song when all of a sudden we just started from scratch, tried something entirely different, and the whole song came together within one or two days -- and ended up being the favorite for many people!  The only thing that was really somewhat salvaged from the original production was this tribal drum loop idea that I had thrown into the original version.  So, when we started from scratch we just started with something similar and had to significantly reduce the tempo to match the new loop....and everything just came together around it.  It was fantastic!  We also had fun in the studio creating the foot stomps that are such a big part of the vibe of that song.  Gilli, PK and myself did a lot of stomping and Matt Thorne layered multiple tracks on that.  "Is My Everything Enough?" was also a problem child...but that's a whole 'nother story! ;-))

"Las Vegas Diamonds" was also fun to do, because we were going for a sort of quirky vibe with all of the things that Vegas can be....glamorous, energetic, alluring, mysterious, cheesy....over the top!  We even gathered Vegas sounds (slots, cards, etc.) to create a drum loop in one of the verses. I do LOVE that song is special to me.  Vegas, Baby!!

Overall I have to say we had a lot of fun creating "Bother Me"!!!

CEV:  Where was Bother Me recorded and how much does the studio, engineer and producers bring to your CD when all is said and done? (Gilli Moon and Matt Thorne)

DG:  "Bother Me" was recorded in several places, starting with MT Studios in Burbank, CA, which is run by the extremely talented Matt Thorne.  I cannot say enough about Matt's musical instincts, technical talents and ear.  A large share of the vocal and drum tracks were recorded at Seasound Studios in North Hollywood, CA (run by Evan Beigel...also a gifted engineer).  Some tracks were recorded at our own Soundstruck Studios in Chatsworth.

I believe that the studio, engineers and producers can play a huge role in creating a great recording (or ruining it if they aren't right for your project).  I was lucky enough to work with very talented people throughout the entire recording process.  Having a good rapport is very's crucial that you feel comfortable with everyone around you so that you can trust in the creative process. 

Having outside, honest feedback and sounding boards during production is important.  Although the production decisions were ultimately my own, Gilli and Matt were invaluable sounding boards for me and they did a great job at helping me bring my spirit and personality to the recording.  To "put a mirror out in front" of Gilli likes to say.  Gilli and Matt are both incredibly hard workers...very talented and very dedicated...and in addition to helping facilitate the process they both brought great creative ideas to the table.  Evan runs a top-notch studio as well, and engineered some great drum and vocals tracks on the record.  Evan also introduced me to Adam Gust...and I think Adam's drumming and his ability to provide a backbone that matched the personality for each song was extremely important to the record.  Overall it was a great team and I think that's what it takes.  I felt that we were all very much in tune and connected with each other.

I should also note that the mastering process can also make or break your getting a good mastering engineer is also critical.  Sterling Sound in NY is excellent and I actually found them to be affordable for a serious indie production.  Leon Zervos at Sterling mastered my record.

And great studios always know great musicians...which brings us to your next question. ;-)

CEV:  Were there any other players on Bother Me besides you?  If so do you rehearse your material together before beginning the recording process?

DG:  There were a lot of great musicians who played on "Bother Me"...some of the tracks were pre-rehearsed and many of them were very spontaneous so there was a little bit of both.  Rehearsing can certainly be good, and can save money in the studio....but there is definitely something to be said for spontaneity and creativity and letting things just sort of happen....jumping off a cliff!  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but when it does I think that's where the gold is!

"Bother Me" had Adam Gust handling most of the stick work, with Tim Davies and Dave Salinas adding some drumming as well, Jeff Dean on bass, Gilli Moon on piano/keys and backing vocals...Side St. Reny adds great resonator guitar licks on "Holiday"...Robby Marshall lends his sax and flute work on "Las Vegas Diamonds", "Bother Me", "Harmony" and "Holiday"...former Dread Zeppelin front man Bruce Fernandez appears on "Bother Me", "Las Vegas Diamonds" and also does a cool reggae-rap thing in "Never Mine", , and of course PK on percussion.  Matt Thorne even makes some cool appearances as the male announcer voice in "Solid Ground", and he also plays the "drunken" blues harp during the intro of "Holiday".  Matt also handled many of the drum loops on "Bother Me".  The talented young violinist Sasha Tkacheff also appears on "Hang On".

I was very lucky to have worked with such talented musicians to help bring my project to life.

CEV:  How much touring will you do in support of Bother Me and do you like getting out and playing your music to live audiences?


DG:  I enjoy playing to live audiences more and more and I think the live show has definitely evolved.  I've been having a lot of fun with it lately.  Matt Thorne, who has incredible touring experience (formerly with Rough Cutt), had an insightful comment about gigging....he said that it's "a great gig" when YOU loved the set AND the audience loved the set. I would have to agree with that, and so that has become my measuring stick for a great gig. 

By that measure, my CD release party at The Mint in Los Angeles was an awesome gig! I plan on touring regionally in the southern California area, as well as planning trips to the east coast, the mid west and the southwest regions.  It's definitely a challenge without significant tour financing but I do recognize the importance of touring and getting out there, so I'll do what I have to do to find creative ways of accomplishing that.  I anticipate ramping up the tour schedule and bookings by early March and accelerating it throughout 06 in support of "Bother Me".

CEV:  Any early buzz about Bother Me from fans and reviewers youíd care to share? Itís definitely got a thumbs up from Cutting Edge Voices.

DG:  I am very early in this process still, and at the moment seeking reviews and press, but I have gotten some great write-ups recently and whatever is current you'll find in the "Press" section of my web site
( ).  In November "Bother Me" and "Sweeter Side" both received Reviewer's Picks awards at , and recent reviews have been extremely favorable and generous (including CEV's!).  Here are some quotes from fans who either attended the CD release party or purchased a CD: 

"You freakin' rock...I had a great time last night, and your performance was awesome!!!! and Patricia damn girl you rock!" -- Kim Staudenmayer, Canyon Lake, CA.

"Sitting here listening to Las Vegas Diamonds for the 3rd time in a row ... really great ! It will probably become my favorite on the CD :) BTW, It was a great show last nite, enjoyed it a lot !" -- Ilja Zuzejevas, Hollywood, CA 

"Had a great time at your show & the cd is fantastic! Listened to it all day yesterday. Can you mail me 3 more? Want to send them as gifts..." -- Brad Buckley, Cayucos, CA. 

"That was such a great show. I am really honored to have been there to see you in all your glory. it was a night to remember. cant wait to see you opening up for some big shot at the Greek or theHollywood bowl. I'll be there front row center rocking out!" -- Romina Cusenza-Carmichael,Santa Monica,CA.

"It was such a fabulous night- you were awesome!" -- Anne Renton,Sherman Oaks, CA

"Alright, here's the honest to god scoop: I am obsessed with your CD.....and have NOT stopped listening to it since I got back home yesterday!! f**k girl, its really, really good! and I mean that!!!" -- Sahara Damore,San Francisco, CA.

"What a magical night. Everything rocked in every way!" -- Linda Geleris,Glendora, CA.

"You guys rocked the house. I loved watching peopleís reactions and all of the dancers on the sidelines throwing their arms up in the air...Dina you are electrifying on stage!" -- Jennifer Camargo,Newbury Park,CA

"The night of the CD party still rings rich (that band was hot) and the room was buzzin'. People must be telling you about their favorite tracks, please add me to the column who cannot stop playing the haunting "Alone". -- Ernie Campagna, Morada Music Distribution,Ventura CA

"I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the CD!" -- Carol Mulloy,Phoenix,AZ.

CEV:  Do you have any other thoughts about Bother Me that you would like to share with our readers before we say goodbye?

DG:  I would just like to thank anyone and everyone who listens to and supports my music by purchasing a CD, telling a friend, putting up a link, adding a track to a playlist, etc.  Thank you so much, CEV, for being so supportive and helping to expose my music!  If you are a listener and enjoy what you hear, please sign up to my mailing list so you'll know when I may be touring in your area. :-)

CEV:  Thanks for taking the time to talk to me about your CD and if your future CD's all sound this good then you've got a bright future ahead of you for your music. Keep up the good work and when the time comes for your second CD I'll definitely be looking forward to hearing it.Good luck.

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