Love is a wonderful thing, married life is great, so is family and hot breakfasts in the morning. All banalities? Maybe… but the beauty of DG Solaris‘ debut lies in their ability to make sappy truths like these appear fresh and inviting. Just as fresh and inviting as the sounds that support the twelve tracks on the album and that many of us have been familiar with for years: something that lies somewhere between twee pop, the most intimate folk and, more generally, all the British pop with argyle jumpers and Sarah Records and Postcard covers hanging in the bedroom.
In our personal scale of values, works such as “Spirit Glow” are between “little delight” and “hidden gem”, the categories that we find ourselves questioning every time we get hold of records involving the songwriter Danny Green, former owner of  Laish moniker (we have already talked about it HERE and HERE) and who in this project shares burdens and honours with his wife: the singer and flutist Leana Green. 

Family dimension is the starting point (or maybe the finishing line) for what the authors label as a “psychedelic love story in a musical form”: an album in which the joy of love, declined in all its nuances (from the sensual one of the physical abandonment to the sentimental one of understanding and complicity), can’t completely redeem the melancholic soul and the sometimes subtly disturbing figures of Danny’s writing.
If “Total Understanding” starts the dance by melting the glaciality of its synths into an interplay between the two voices that evokes hot sexuality, “Feeding a Feeling” is a pop masterpiece with pastel colors and a jaunty rhythm.

DG Solaris - Feeding a Feeling [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

“The chocolate milky river” has visionary lyrics and delicately arpeggiated acoustics, while “Spirit glow” celebrates love, finding the domestic hearth its natural habitat and leading straight into “Don’t need to tell you”, a killer pop treat and declaration of love by Leana’s voice that any man would love to hear. The song finds its counterpart in the following “Brother I’ll Ask You”, which speaks of suffering and open wounds using the same pop vocabulary. 

DG Solaris - Don't Need to Tell You [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

A pop immediacy that in the second part gives way to more evocative introspection. It ranges from the ascending, celestial vocal line of “Breath of the Wind”, to the arpeggios and domestic noises of “The Moon”, in which the sound thickens, without losing the oneiric delicacy of the dream. “Cosmic sigh” is another number of cosmic abandonment to the sensuality of love, while “As many as stars” churn out lyrics (by Zoe Solomons) against an elementary Casio rhythm, drawing a parallel between love for a lover and love for God, which Leonard Cohen would have liked. This is followed by the folk-like essentiality of “Forgiveness” and of the closing track “I will hold you”, as bare and essential as the truths it conveys: 

and you may shudder like a tree in the wind/ but our roots share the same ground/ I will hold you.

We got in touch with Danny and Leana to ask a few questions about the project and to understand its genesis and future evolution. They answered us between a baby bottle and a dirty nappy, because the love that the album celebrates in its many facets, now dreamlike, now soaked in everyday life, recently led to the birth of little Phoenix.

Hi Danny and Leana,
let’s talk about you first: how did you meet? How did your collaboration start? Was the artistic or sentimental partnership born first?
We found each other on the dating app, OK Cupid. We met for a drink at the Hawley Arms, Camden in March 2018 and we have been joined at the hip ever since. I later read the notebook I was using at the time, and the day after we met, I had written, “I think I’m going to marry Leana”.
We were living at opposite ends of London at the time, and within three weeks of meeting, I moved into her flat. We began playing music together for fun. Leana is classically trained on piano, flute and voice, but had never done the being in a band thing.

That summer we got engaged while on holiday in India and before the year was over, we were married. Then in January we took six months off from our lives, sold up and went on a beautiful trip across Peru, Colombia, Chile and Mexico. On our trip, we wrote an album’s worth of songs and when we returned, within a week, we went to Bella Union’s studio in London, to record and mix the album over an intensive two month period. Then in 2020 (year of doom), we released the album during the summer of nothing.
And in September, we gave birth to our first child, Phoenix. It’s been a magical time. And all the more in contrast with the rather greyscale existence we currently live, isolated in lockdown London.


How does your songwriting work? I think I recognized certain melodic and lyrical figures typical of Danny. But I could be wrong…
I can claim some of the songs as mostly mine like ‘Spirit Glow’ and ‘Total Understanding’ which I wrote in London soon after we met, and ‘Forgiveness’ which was written in Peru. ‘Breath of the Wind’ and ‘I Will Hold You’ are entirely Leana’s lyrics, and the rest we composed pretty collaboratively. We are well able to understand each other’s musical impulses, and when we decide to write a song together, usually something will get completed.
Most of the songs for the Laish albums were written by me alone and it does take me longer to feel happy with a song, and to know it is finished. Writing with Leana is a more enjoyable experience – to be able to share the process with her than to struggle away on my own. Having instant feedback is so useful. 


Can you tell us the genesis of this “psychedelic love story”? Was it really written in the jungle and in the mountains of South America?! Your lyrics seem to me to convey the beauty of the sentimental relationship, from sexual complicity to the understanding and richness of daily and domestic life… yet there remains a certain restlessness that you can never  completely get rid of. Do you find yourself in this description?
Nine of the twelve songs were written on our travels. Because we live in a great city like London, we were drawn to immerse ourselves in nature, to travel to beautiful mountains and jungles and to live a simple life with much time for playing music, making food and wholesome activities like yoga.
We brought a laptop, a small synth, a guitar and a microphone with us, which was enough to make some fairly simple demos. It was also very heavy to carry around. We mostly stayed in places for a few weeks at a time, so it often gave us the opportunity for a day or two to set the gear up and work on some early recordings. All of these feature the sound of cicadas and crickets and other exotic nature sounds, much of which we retained for the studio versions.
As the album began to take shape, it was clear that there was a theme emerging. The lyrics to ‘Total Understanding’ explore both a deep emotional connection alongside a sexual expression which can be about something darker, more creative – it can take on a life of its own. We explore the insecurity of new love on ‘Feeding a Feeling’, a calm domestic idyllic scene on ‘Spirit Glow’, a happy declaration of love on ‘Don’t Need to Tell You’, a mystical connection to the moon, on ‘The Moon’. 

‘As Many as the Stars’, the lyrics were written by one of my longest serving and dearest friends, Zoe Solomons. She is a very talented poet. She sent me the poem and I felt there was a song there so we got to work. For me it is the saddest song on the album, but the sentiment is very beautiful. 

‘Now we are standing, two of many, as many as the stars’.

‘Forgiveness’ I wrote as an attempt to wipe the slate clean with all those who are owed an apology. As if a song could do that, but worth a try?
‘The Chocolate Milky River’ and ‘Brother I’ll Ask Her’ were inspired by my experiences with shamanic plant medicine in Peru. That’s a whole other tale…


Talking about the arrangements, I was amazed by the tracks in which the synths are more in evidence, giving an almost dreamy aura to the songs… What kind of listening did you grow up with? Which are the influences that, in your opinion, you just can’t keep from emerging in your music and which ones would you like to emerge?
As this was not destined to be a Laish album, we had felt that there should be a clear progression in sound. Leana plays piano and flute, so exploring synths, piano and flutes seemed to be a natural thing for us to do. Synths have always retained something of a mysterious aura to me, as I am essentially a guitarist. I still feel I have so much to learn when it comes to arranging with synths. We had been listening to a fair amount of Tame Impala, Dirty Projectors, early Paul McCartney solo records, Weyes Blood, Mac Demarco, Sufjan Stevens. No doubt some of these atmospheres bled into our record.

A couple of questions for Danny:
Are you still in touch with the guys at Willkommen Collective? What memories do you have of that experience and what did it leave you?
Yes, I am and in fact, many of them have made appearances on the Laish and DG Solaris records including Kristin McClement (vocals), Jools Owen (drums), Will Calderbank (cello) and Mike Siddell (violin). Many of the Willkommen Collective folk are still in Brighton, so when I get down there, I will usually have an opportunity to catch up.
I have many fond memories of my time in Brighton. The Willkommen Collective taught me a lot about how to approach the DIY ethos to making and releasing albums. I released my first Laish album on Willkommen Records. I did my first ever tours playing drums for Sons of Noel and Adrian, who I played with for about 6 years. Sons of Noel supported Mumford and Sons on their last tour of small venues before they went stratospheric. It also led me to playing drums for Laura Marling for a supporting show with Neil Young in Paris. I even got to meet the man himself. He was a gentleman.

On these Sons tours, I would often do opening support slots, as Laish. It was very thrilling to travel through Germany, Switzerland, UK – playing often to some pretty large and appreciative audiences. This gave me the confidence to start organizing my own DIY Laish tours in UK, Germany, and Italy.

I feel very lucky to have had these touring experiences as a younger man, but I certainly feel sorry for younger musicians starting out as the future for touring is looking pretty bleak for UK musicians. Covid has all but killed the music industry in the short term, but Brexit is the real killer. Unless something drastically changes, the kind of tours I was doing previously just won’t be possible. The new pile of costs and admin will turn what would have been a break-even tour into a huge loss-making tour. Luckily, I hold an Irish passport, so I hope to be able to continue with solo shows, but what about my band? Leana?!


What about Laish? What will happen to them? Will you record again with that name? Phoenix permitting, what are your next projects?
I still play with Matt Canty and Tom Chadd who have been the backbone to Laish for the last five years. For now, I don’t plan to release music as Laish. I consider Laish to be my history as the name holds associations for me with so many ex-bandmates, ex-girlfriends, ex-labels and old cities, whereas DG Solaris is located firmly in my present and it feels fresh and exciting, and with a name we can all agree on the pronunciation of ;-)
I have written a couple of songs with modern low-voiced legend, Jeremy Tuplin, which we plan to release fairly soon.
I have made a start on an album of new songs. I am still working away on this, although my time is a little more limited as we are caring for our new son.

Finally, I am doing bespoke private online shows on Zoom (for birthdays, anniversaries, etc) – via Lockdown Presents.

PS Danny also kindly sent us this sell-made playlist with a selection chosen from his various projects