Danté Knows ends 2022 with two EPs in the bag. The first, Phase One, came out in February and introduced audiences to the artist’s appetite for genre-bending. This is even more apparent on the New York-born, Sydney-based artist’s latest release, VICIOUS, which hews closer to the worlds of indie rock and psych-pop than the trap and hip hop sound of his earlier singles.
Danté Knows worked on both releases with Sydney producer Caleb Tasker (Pleasure Coma, Rest For the Wicked). They were joined in the studio by various members of Sticky Fingers, representatives of the Bodega Collective and Tasker’s Pleasure Coma band mate Joseph Plunkett. Music Feeds caught up with Danté and Tasker to learn more about their collaborative process.
Danté Knows – ‘Lost Your Mind’
Music Feeds: Danté when did you move to Sydney?
Danté Knows: I moved to Sydney in 2019. I think it was October 21st. I’m in love with Australia. I been here for the last three years just soaking it up. For me, even winter over here is summertime.
MF: Did you grow up in Brooklyn?
Danté: Yeah, I grew up in Brooklyn and also a little in South America and Florida as well.
MF: Tasker, when did you meet Danté?
Tasker: I don’t recall the meeting. Danté does, though. Apparently at Bad Friday?
Danté: Yeah, we met at Bad Friday. I think it would be the first festival I went to in Australia. I believe The Music & Booze Co put that together. Shout out to the Rule brothers. So, we met there very briefly.
Tasker: I don’t remember.
Danté: I think it was through a mutual friend, PG-13, Paris Grant. So, he introduced me to Tasker and we actually had a full conversation. I believe it was at Waywards, probably.
It’s funny, because we went on tour with each other before ever writing music together or even hanging out. We went on tour before we even just, like, chilled together.
Tasker: I just went up to Danté backstage at Splendour and I was like, “If you ever tour, I’m your DJ.” He goes, “Done.” We probably talked for like two more minutes and that was it.
Danté: 100 per cent. And, you know, hustle speaks.
MF: What was the tour you were on?
Danté: That was the Sticky Fingers arena tour. We did the support slot for that one. I think Chillinit was on that as well. It was a beautiful experience – my first tour ever, first green room, first anything. So, Tasker approached me probably six months prior to that, just randomly telling me, “I’m your guy now.” And he wasn’t lying; he was my guy.
Danté Knows – ‘my baD’
MF: So, if we fast forward. Phase One came out in February. Was that completely produced by you, Tasker?
MF: The new EP, VICIOUS, there are a bunch of other people doing some co-production.
Tasker: 100 per cent. The word producer is vague these days, because some people will think producer means it’s your beat samples or whatever and then you’ve got people like Rick Rubin who’ll produce a Strokes album and will probably just be sitting on the couch.
So, say Seamus [Coyle] brings in a formed idea that has a direction, I’m like, “Yeah, you’re producing something.” We were more collaborative with the songwriting and everyone contributing.
Danté: Yeah, VICIOUS was very collaborative. Usually we’d have three of us in the room, minimum. But the usual was like five or more characters.
Tasker: There’d be, like, sometimes ten, twelve people in the room. It was just a party pretty much. I think it was just after lockdown finished. Everyone would just meet at the Marrickville Bowling Club, have a few Vodka Cruisers.
There was no aim to make an EP or an album or anything. It was just friends having the best time of our lives writing and vibing off each other.
MF: So, you had Seamus Coyle, Joseph Plunkett. Who else was around?
Tasker: Paddy Cornwall.
Danté: Freddy Crabs.
Tasker: One of the songs was a Bodega soiree. There’s a song called ‘Forever’. So we kind of took that same vibe we had in this Marrickville place and did a Bodega with all the Bodega crew.
MF: Does Gold Fang make an appearance?
Danté: He doesn’t make an appearance on VICIOUS.
Tasker: He was there for every session.
Danté: He was very involved – so, VICIOUS is a small cut-out of probably like 40-50 other songs that we have from that chain of writing. So there’s songs where members from Triple One were on and there’s songs with Maxine as well, who’s a great singer. All these different collabs. Don West. There’s so many different people who were in the room at different times.
Tasker: There was even a moment where there was a brass section. In Marrickville, there’s like 30 studios all on this street and people are just like, “What the fuck are you guys doing?” And suddenly you’ve got a brass section in there. We just tried everything.
Danté: 100 per cent.