Dane & The Soup is an independent retro soul project based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that was formed in 2017. Their latest single, “I Been Lonely”, echoes the warm tones of a past era, bridging the gap between retro and present day soul. Written by Chris Foster, it is about being in a relationship with a seemingly perfect lover, but still feeling miserably alone, with the protagonist contemplating their shortcomings and questioning their own capacity for love. Musically, the arrangement juxtaposes the lyrics with a bubblegum feel-good groove, impossibly catchy chorus, and soaring vocals as the song contrasts with the singers message of loneliness.
Dane, how did you connect with Johnny Mullenax to form the band?
Met Johnny through my friend, Michael Frost, who was the drummer for SOUP at that time. Johnny replaced the original guitarist for gigs and it clicked well.
Can you share a brief bio for each band member for new fans?
Johnny Mullenax plays guitar. 25 years old. Very creative. He comes from a family of musicians that stretch back generations. Plays a range of instruments — bass, guitar, mandolin, lap steel. He likes weed but doesn’t smoke it. He’s teaches guitar and plays for hire locally and regionally.
Jordan Hehl, or as some call him “Jordamn”, plays bass. He’s originally from Salt Lake City. He moved to Tulsa over 10 years ago and graduated from TU with a Bachelor’s in music. He offers music lessons in the time that he is not gigging/rehearsing for hire or for one of his projects.
The affable Dominick Stephens been playing trombone for over 20 years and has a Master’s degree in music from University of Central Oklahoma. Formerly a DJ, Domo has been a familiar presence in the Tulsa music scene for years. He has over 5,000 Facebook friends…
Chris Peters plays drums. He’s 24 years old and comes from a jazz background. Chris is a freelance musician and private music instructor in the Tulsa area. In August, he’ll be attending the University of Northern Colorado pursuing a Master’s degree.
Bishop Marsh is 22 years old, plays trumpet and has been making waves in the Oklahoma Jazz scene since he was 16. He’s a student and a brilliant jazz composer. As a band leader, Bishop holds weekly residencies at Hodges Bend and Duet Jazz Club in downtown Tulsa. He’s easily the most dedicated musician I’ve ever met. He’s literally always practicing or gigging. Pretty sure he sleeps…
Andrew Bair, has played an integral role in bringing our sound to listeners. He plays keys and organ for us live but behind the scenes, this is the man who mixes and produces our records. Andrew is a sharp-eared freelance mixing engineer and has worked on a lot of projects throughout Oklahoma. His band, ADMIRALS, is a Tulsa-based project signed with Idol Records.
I was born in Baton Rouge. My mom was in the church choir growing up. Moved to Austin when I was 12. Started writing songs and playing guitar when I was 14. Had different projects in Austin and Nashville that never really came to fruition. Beat around the country a bit before moving to Tulsa. It was about 4 years ago I visited my parents at their new home in Tulsa and fell in with a network of working musicians in the town. Started the band, gigged locally and regionally for 3 years and now here we are.
You describe your band as “an independent retro soul project”. How has being an independent artist impacted your music releases?
Being an independent artist presents a lot of challenges as well as benefits. Since we don’t have a manager or a record deal, I’ve sought to learn as much as I can about building a sustainable career in music. It’s a challenge to juggle responsibilities like finances, merchandise, social media, emails, etc. because you can easily be doing 4 people’s jobs, while also staying focused on music. That experience you gain is what it’s all about. It’s clearly growth.
We have also lucked out with the help of Horton Records in Tulsa. It’s a nonprofit label that offers independent artists state grants and a streamlined distribution process without binding contractual agreements. We’re very grateful for them!
Retro music can sometimes sound ‘old’. How do you use the instruments in your music to make the sound so fresh?
Man, that’s all Andrew Bair. Mostly, the retro sound is coming from the brass and the song structure. People hear horns and they think old school. We bring warmth with analog outboard gear while recording digitally. We want the instruments to sound organic and we want the mix to be warm.
As the band is based in Tulsa, which Oklahoma artists have most influenced your sound?
Great question. The Gap Band, JJ Cale, and Leon Russell are Tulsa legends. I feel their impact on the Tulsa Sound, roots the modern scene in rhythm. I love Chet Baker’s music. Modern artists we dig include Broncho, The Dull Drums, Nightingale, and John Fullbright.
How did you decide on the band’s name?
We all really loves SpaghettiO’s.
Back story to your debut single “Crown & Weed”?
I was listening to a lot of deep cut R&B around the time I wrote that; like Prince, D’Angelo, Anthony Hamilton, etc. I loved the idea of telling a story, capturing a dysfunctional relationship and resulting infidelity. Some listeners might relate with the storyteller. Others may see him as a scumbag. I like that “right versus wrong” duality.
Your latest single, “I Been Lonely”, is one of five you’ll be releasing this year. How have you used tempo to best express these emotional lyrics?
Chris Foster (Tulsa) wrote the song. One of the most appealing qualities of the song, to me, is how the tempo juxtaposes the lyrics. When Chris first played it for me, it came across as a song lyrically centered on feeling lonely in a relationship, with no real reason as to why. The lyrics expand on that theme of misery abreast an upbeat feel-good groove. It works out.
The new song has a message of loneliness. That’s an emotion many may feel right now being quarantined during the Coronavirus pandemic. How can music bring fans together at a time when everyone is isolated?
True. We feel listeners will relate more so now during this pandemic. We hope it’s uplifting. Being artists, we just want to have a positive effect on our audience however they feel a connection to us.
How can fans best support the band during this time?
Fans can best support us through listening to our music on their favorite digital platform, following us, and sharing our music with their friends and family. By liking our Facebook page and/or following our Instagram, fans can stay updated on what we’re doing at the present moment. For sync and licensing, go to our website daneandthesoup.com & see the contact info at the bottom of the page. Anybody who’d like to express support financially can direct payment to PayPal.me/daneandthesoup.