- Article by: Katie Wiley | Photo Credits: Olivia Brown
- Posted: 06/14/2012
For many people, high school only brings mono and a handful of awkward relationships, but Amanda Walther and Sheila Carabine -- the Canadian duo that make up Dala -- lucked out and found each other. It’s now been a decade and the two have become stronger than ever, creating an album with powerful vocals and deep, thoughtful lyrics. Their new album, Best Day (6/5/12, Compass Records) -- which is no departure from their folk-pop sound and songbird melodies -- proves what dedication and talent can do. And let's be honest -- having your best friend as a band mate probably helps too.
“It’s been ten years now, and if there were any cracks in the foundation it’d have fallen by now,” Carabine states matter-of-factly. “We count ourselves very lucky I would say.” This is of course in reference to her long-lived working friendship with bandmate Amanda Walther. It’s clear that the two get along swimmingly. They also share in the creative process, working together to create songs they both can relate to, which explains their focus on personal, heart-felt lyrics.
Carabine’s background in poetry is also a factor in her extensive insight into what makes a song special and meaningful. “I write a lot of poetry, and so I can be pretty hard on myself. I use my songs as a way of talking to myself. My songs are pretty personal; I talk about my family and my relationships with my family and my friends and, you know, just struggling with what is important in life and what my purpose is. I feel like through songs, things can become quite clear. You get a clarity that you wouldn’t get otherwise.”
Aside from clarity, Carabine only has one golden rule when it comes to creating and listening to music. “It has to pack an emotional punch. I have to feel it before I understand it. I was brought up on the kind of classic, vintage singer-songwriters of the sixties and seventies. I listened to Cat Stevens growing up, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and Leonard Cohen. For me, the words matter. I loved Peter Gabriel; there is such a weight and a depth to what he’s singing about. The sounds open your mind a little bit. I need to feel like the song encompasses me and is bigger than me.”
Judging by Carabine’s excitement, Dala’s songwriting conventions have proven to be successful, lending themselves especially well to Best Day. “We just released a new record -- eleven original songs. And I’m not saying there’s a secret song on there but I’m also not saying there isn’t!” Carabine giggles. “That just came out and that’s been a few years in the making, and for the next two or three years we’ll be touring pretty intensely in support of that record. We’ll spend most of our time in Canada and the U.S.”
Luckily, Dala is no stranger to touring, as they’ve easily become a staple in the Canadian and U.S. folk-pop touring circuits, frequenting venues and folk festivals alike. Beginning in June, the tour will cover initial stops in Toronto, summer festivals across North America, and the west coast in the fall.
“So much of what we do and what we take pleasure in is the live element. We love touring. So I’d say the tour is the exciting thing. We get to connect with the audience and hopefully they’ll take the album home. We feel pretty lucky to be able to tour and be on the road. You have a real sense of freedom that comes with being a musician and creating your own pieces of art. I think we both enjoy that freedom and would say touring is what we are looking forward to the most.” Who could blame them?
Dala - "Best Day Album Trailer"