AthFest 2014: Dank Sinatra x Vinyl Mag

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It is safe to say that Dank Sinatra is a band that is as unique as the music they play. Originating from Athens, Georgia, these five members manage to fuse energy, joy, an electric mix and a dash of old school rock and roll to create an unforgettable sound in their newest album, Strange.

As they tour the east coast, Matt Henderson, Joe Gaines, Clint Meadows, Josh Birmingham, and Jimmy Mcalpin will take some time from playing concerts on hotel roof tops and travel back to the Classic City for their performance at AthFest.

We caught up with Matt and Jimmy to talk about their biggest influences, “The Dank Tank” and, of course, AthFest!

Vinyl Mag: You recently released your album, Strange – what was the inspiration for the album?

Jimmy Mcalpin: We sought out to make a tighter record than our previous releases and really start to hone a sound that we are continually working on improving and refining.

VM: I saw you recently played the song “Down South Georgia Boy” on BalconyTV Charleston. How was that experience, playing on the roof top of a Holiday Inn?

Matt Henderson: It was a great experience because we met two NASA engineers who were staying in Charleston at the Holiday Inn, and we were able to give them a copy of Strange and chat with them about the opportunity for a tour of the Milky Way in 2015.

VM: You play AtheFest on the 20th. How do you like playing Athens compared to other cities?

JM: Well it is always nice to drive 10 minutes to get to your gig. It’s a great town to play as well; you can always count on some people who are as in to live music as you are to be around for your show.

VM: How has Athens influenced your music?

JM: It probably hasn’t influenced our music in too many stylistic ways so much as it has in conditional ways. There is so much music and so many musicians that it creates an environment of having a good work ethic and an atmosphere of excitement about creating new music and sharing it with friends and the town you live in.

VM: Have you ever been to/played AthFest before?

MH: This is going to be our fourth time playing AthFest, and we would probably be around even if we weren’t, it being one of our favorite times of the year to be in Athens. Can’t wait to see all the other great bands.

VM: What can your fans expect at your show in the Green Room?

JM: We have been working hard lately writing songs and creating new music, and we are looking forward to the opportunity to play live again, so fans can expect to see a band that is ready to play out, have fun and blow stuff up.

VM: What are you currently listening to?

JM: We’ve been listening to a lot of Sibelius (Fifth Symphony) and the thoughts of such men as Ernest Hemingway and David Foster Wallace. Music is a very important thing to listen to as a musician, and it is equally as important to absorb as many other creative arts as possible to provoke creativity in yourself.

VM: What are some unexpected hobbies that each of you have besides music (other creative outlets?)?

JM: Matt is currently engaged in all the World Cup action happening down in Brasil, while Joe has been holed up in his house with a model train project that he is currently working on. He just finished the first boardwalk he will be using as a platform to the other stations. Also we have been playing a lot of monopoly lately.

VM: I recently read that you all are headlining this year’s Unitus Music Festival at Cherokee Farms. How does it feel to go from a starter band to headliner in just a few years?

MH: It is really nice to be sharing the stage with some of our friends in Sumilan and Funk You and being apart of the festival experience. Hopefully we can do some collaborating and get some other musicians on stage during our show.

VM: Are there any differences in your shows when you play a festival vs. a regular show?

JM: There is a lot of energy at a festival and that inevitably will make it into our performances at festival shows. The opportunity to share our music to a diverse audience is also in our thoughts when we are preparing for a festival show. We want to make sure we can deliver the best of what we have to offer to inspire the listeners and grow our fanbase.

VM: We have to know – where did “The Dank Tank” nickname originate?

MH: That is part of the long storied history of Dank-isms we have been writing and hope to publish in the coming months. Part of having a silly name is the opportunity to have fun with it, which we like to do.

VM: Ok last question. Have you finally calculated how you will play the first concert on the moon?

JM: We were doing some calculations recently about how many shows we would have to play in order to raise enough money and awareness to make a lunar show possible, but our calculator broke right in the middle of figuring it out. Once we raise enough money to get a new calculator (have to use a TI-83 because of the extensiveness of the lunar calculations) we can begin the process again.

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