Our latest New Groove band selected via our Jambands 250 Poll is Dakini. The Pennsylvania-based quartet consists of Pat Boyer (electric guitar, vocals, acoustic guitar, banjo) and his brother Nate Boyer (keyboards, vocals, harmonica, acoustic guitar), along with bassist Shane Hatter and his cousin Jon Lengyel (drums, vocals, guitars, mandolin, flute). In the following interview, Hatter share some insight into the family dynamics, the group’s development and all that has followed…
Can you talk about the development of the group? How did you meet and how did the current line-up solidify?
Well we have a unique situation with this band in that the drummer Jon and Myself are first cousin. His Father and my Mother are brother and sister. Nate (Keyboards) and Pat (Guitar) are brothers. So we really have a family scenario. We all grew up in the same small town (Hegins, PA), and have known each other from a very young age. The formation of Dakini started in 1998 and for the most part we have been together ever since, with the exception of a couple years where various members have taken breaks for one reason or another, but other than that we have been doing this a pretty long time.
In terms of your musical backgrounds and interests, what does each of you bring to bear?
Well we definitely have the same and different influences. We are all heavily influenced by The Grateful Dead, The Band, and Bob Dylan just to name a few. Jon brings songs to the table that are more of a rock and roll style, where Nate’s tunes have more of a country folk mix to them, and Pat’s songs are a funky, country psychedelic polka type feel but they all stray from there norm and do various other styles as well, so it really adds a eclectic mix of songs and variety. I on the other hand tend to focus more on just different elements of the bass and music in general.”
On your website you guys indicate “Electric sets are most dominant at a Dakini show, but they are very much at home acoustically, playing a variety of stringed and percussive instruments.” Can you talk about the balance you strike between those two realms?
We are all heavily influenced by acoustic music, whether it be bluegrass, or folk, and we all love playing acoustically as much as we do electrically.We go between phases of playing all electric shows, to breaking those electric shows down at times and throwing an acoustic set in there. We also play full acoustic gigs, which is always refreshing and fun for us. I stick solely to the bass but the other guys play various acoustic instruments that range from acoustic guitars, to banjo, mandolin, harmonica, Shakuhachi flutes and various percussion instruments. It really adds a different element to the sound and energy that Dakini can produce, and I believe the fans really dig that about us.
How would you describe the vitality and support of your local music scene?
Hmm. Our local music scene is pretty non-existent. We are from a really small town that is into the top 40 radio hits and and DJs’ playing popular music and that sort of thing, we rarely play locally and mostly travel. Our fan base is very loyal to us though and we love them all so much for that! PA has a lot of really great clubs for our genre of music, and there are a lot of great little festivals in PA that make it worth while to be here. A Bears Picnic, all the Jibberjazz festies (Some kind Of Jam, Meeting of the mind, Mid Summer meltdown) S.H.A.R.E. Fest, Jerryfest, Jammin’ For The Animals, Musikfest and various others.
Who writes the band’s music? How it is typically presented to the group and how does it then come together?
Jon, Nate and Pat write most of the tunes, and occasionally we write some stuff as a full band. Usually it is presented by whoever writes the songs. They play it acoustically to the rest of the band and we pretty much go from there and hone it till it feels right. The writer has a idea of what he wants, but gives the rest of the band freedom to experiment with their parts until something sticks. A lot of the time we try different things in the live setting and songs change a lot through time. We definitely try different ways of playing them and a lot of tunes have different feels we incorporate also. For example, we might have a song that for the most part is a bluegrass feeling tune, but we will change it up on different occasions and maybe play it funky, or with a rock edge, or something like that. The fans and the band never really know how it will be played until it is played live. It really keeps us all on our toes. The band and the fans included.
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