Medium Exclusive Premiere: “Life’s Too Short” Dango Rose — The Necessity of Being
Life's Too Short by Dango Rose
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Dango Rose embraces a passion for music as a vital healing influence and spiritual path. He creates and collaborates to support harmony and truth. Born with a poet’s soul and a warrior’s heart his life’s journey has been one of transformation.
For seventeen years, he traveled nationally and internationally in touring bands. In 2006, he co-founded Elephant Revival and spent eleven years performing and recording with this influential outfit that pioneered the genre, “Transcendental Folk.”
Since Elephant Revival decided to go on hiatus in May 2018, Rose has taken refuge in the recording studio while focusing upon songwriting collaborations with various artists. Here he melds his background in traditional forms with the more transformational elements of musical craft. His voice is distinctive, words penetrating and his arrangements — on the edge, yet engaging.
“Ring Out,” the ‘A-side’ of your release. “How do we find and maintain hope against these turbulent times?” You said you returned to a more traditional approach, southern Gospel, the anti-establishment of 60’s Folk and Punk Rock, the grit and grease of old-time music and the spiritual transcendence of a great poet” for the songwriting process for the September release. How do you feel the writing style impacts how the listener processes the lyrics message (a call-to-arms for action)?
Truth be told, whether or not the song encourages a call to arms for action for the listener is probably secondary to whether or not the song connects the listener to what I consider to be a universal truth — “Love is more than what tears us apart.” I suppose the ‘call to arms,’ is actually more of an invitation for the listener to connect with this inherent truth.
Also back in September, you said that “we inch ever closer to the most important election this country has seen since the American Civil War.” The Civil War was fought over the moral issue of slavery. What do you believe is the major moral issue of 2020?
In that statement, I recognize that the stakes have also been incredibly high during other times in America History as well. The Civil Rights Era comes to mind first and foremost. Yet, what the country is up against now with regard to systemic racism and an emboldened mass of white supremacy and covert racism is utterly shocking.
This is also an unprecedented time in our history because of the Internet of Things (IoT), the algorithm, and how this directly affects our social media feeds. It is literally creating a world for each of us that is entirely removed from other individuals that may think or see the world through a different lens. The moral issue is more than just one thing in 2020, but how we treat each other reflects how we treat ourselves and the earth itself, so it’s all very much intertwined.
Stating that “… the seeds of autocratic control are implanted to manipulate us into believing there is no common ground between us. The aim is to turn us against each other and that it is only for the benefit of those that are vying for power and control. It will never be about the good of the populace.” You believe that everybody wants to be seen and understood. What role does music play in reaching that goal for everyone to be acknowledged and accepted?
Music is a vital and healing influence in the world. It suspends time and space, and at the same time, it can extend it. Music is a catalyst for the individual to better understand ones’ self. From this place of understanding, deeper universal truths can be manifested in the external world. It’s the most inspirational tool that humanity has to offer that doesn’t solely rely on the analytical mind.
“For days I’ve been threatened by thoughts of losing you. Life’s too short to be forgettin’ the light that guides us through…” How does “Life’s Too Short,” the ‘B-side’ of your old school style release, cover artwork visually represent this idea?
The vision behind the cover art of “Life’s Too Short” is this…. Even when it feels like we’re moving full steam ahead across the precipice, like The Fool in Tarot, we are still protected by spirits unseen, symbolized here by the wings of our ancestors. A reminder that we can cross any chasm, no matter how far and wide, so long as we continue to hold respect for our fellow man and the goodness inherent in all beings.
Graphic Design Credit — Ashley Willfire
How have you been living that idea, to spend time with your loved ones and forging a path in accordance to the light, during the pandemic?
Some of it is beyond the grave…. But it’s in the everyday actions we take. Reaching out to those we care about — checking in…. Sending kind words of hope and encouragement when necessary, etc….
Reflecting back on your years with Elephant Revival, how did it influence the solo artist you are today?
We worked with intentionality and precision in the arrangements of our songs…. And we allowed the song to dictate the form. In essence, we became servants to the muse, as it was being reflected through us. To be honest, I’m not sure if I am able to capture that entirely in my solo works. Elephant Revival was very much like “The Band” in the sense that the whole was greater than the sum of its parts. As it stands right now, I’m just trying to do the best I can while being true and authentic to the nature of the work.
Recording in the Boulder studio with other artists. What recording options are available for those who can’t get in a studio because of the pandemic shut downs?
Find the DAW that best appeals to you and just start experimenting with it. Pick up a couple few good microphones, some simple outboard gear and just dive right in. There’s definitely a learning curve, but it’s a very rewarding process to create and experiment with a home recording set-up.
You helped found Colorado Public Lands Day with local politicians and environmental conservation agencies. What advice would you give to others who want to start a day like this in their communities?
Honestly, we were more of the honorary band for the founding of Colorado Public Lands Day. It was great to do the honorary work with Governor (now Senator) Hickenlooper and Senator Bennet here in Colorado in the creation of this. The advice I have to give is simple, get involved and stay involved with protecting our public lands and open spaces. These are the greatest resources we have. Our public lands and open spaces are always at risk, so take the necessary action to protect them and fight back against any force that tries to take our public lands away from us.
“In order for love to be trusted, it must be tested.” — Bob Nevans. As Thanksgiving approaches, how does this quote focus on your belief that we must all be seen and understood to truly be united?
It’s just absolutely fuckin’ true. What love do you know that has persisted without being tested? Every great love story, every great myth, every great fable — this is the arc. In order for love to be trusted, it must be tested. Adam and Eve, Cain and Able, Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams — we can go on and on forever….