Shadow Rabbits

Tuesday, Apr 5, 2016
Tagged As: rock
Shadow Rabbits

Sharing their love of both the sounds of and stark visual elements from the classic noir music and films from the 50s, 60s and 70s, Kansas City's Ashley Dattola and Jon Ulasien formed Shadow Rabbits. The songs from their first EP, Truest Blue, conjure the dark moods from that period in a way that pays tribute while building upon the musical lineage of, among others, Joy Division, Patsy Cline and Broadcast with subtle shades of soul and pop. The combination makes for music that's thrilling, mysterious and oddly uplifting. Ahead of some new music and an appearance at this year's Middle of the Map Fest, we are very lucky to share an interview with Dattola and Ulasien, along with their book, music and movie recommendations.

Please introduce yourselves. Where do you live and work?
My name is Ashley Dattola. I live in West Plaza, MO and I work as a nanny.
My name is Jon Ulasien and I live in West Plaza, MO. I’m a motion graphics artist and video editor. I also play in a cover band and work part-time at a fitness center.

Please introduce yourselves. Where do you live and work?
My name is Ashley Dattola. I live in West Plaza, MO and I work as a nanny.
My name is Jon Ulasien and I live in West Plaza, MO. I’m a motion graphics artist and video editor. I also play in a cover band and work part-time at a fitness center.

How did Shadow Rabbits originate?
JON: After knowing Ashley for about a year and a half, she coyly informed me she had written a few songs. Up until that point, I had no idea she could sing or write songs. I was working on some solo material at the time and had her contribute a verse on one of the tracks. It instantly clicked and sounded better than the stuff I was trying to do on my own. We eventually decided to form as Shadow Rabbits and have her voice and lyrics become the anchor for everything else.

Your list of influences ties together an impressive list of artists who arent usually linked: Buddy Holly, Joy Division, Patsy Cline, The Drifters, Johnny Cash, Broadcast. What do you see as the common cord between these artists?
ASHLEY: I grew up listening to my grandmother's record collection. She had a wide range of 40s-60s music and I still love that sound until this day. I think the common denominator between the artists that have influenced us is they all deliver a sense of nostalgia with their sound.

JON: It’s always hard to narrow down all of your influences. The common cord between the ones we chose is the artists, or key members of the band, are now deceased. For me, Broadcast was a band I really started getting into right before Trish Keenan passed away. It created a sense of urgency to carry on what they were doing since I was so heavily inspired by them.

Can you point to one time in your life where you knew you wanted to be a songwriter? Who or what inspired you early on to create music?
JON: My grandmother on my dad’s side was a musician and played an old Casiotone during church services she and my grandfather held in their living room. As a kid, I’d tinker around with it whenever I visited. That led to me learning different instruments and recording stuff on cassettes.

ASHLEY: My first love is writing. At a young age I started keeping a journal. I would write thoughts which turned in to poems and eventually songs. I would perform them for my grandma using an old push vacuum as my mic.

What excites you the most about the Kansas City-area music scene?
ASHLEY: I'm so excited about all of the opportunities arising for local artists such as Middle of the Map. I love the sense of support and community it creates.

JON: I think a lot of people who work in the scene do it because they truly have a passion for it and they’ve created a number of great avenues for new bands to jump in and put themselves out there.

Shadow Rabbits' recommendations from the Johnson County Library catalog:
JON:

Synecdoche, New York (movie): My favorite offering from Charlie Kaufman; a film that perfectly captures the maddening, life-long struggle between an artist and his craft. It also features an amazing score from Jon Brion.

A Ghost is Born by Wilco (CD): I’ve always been fascinated with the structure of this album. The first half is slow and challenging while the back end features some of the band’s finer pop moments.

Jackie Brown: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (CD): This soundtrack plays a large role in what is probably my favorite Tarantino film. It also served as my introduction into soul music.

ASHLEY

Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe. I’ve always been fascinated by the mind of this strange man. He had a way of pulling you in to his stories and transporting you in to his dark world.

An Emergency In Slow Motion: The Inner Life Of Diane Arbus by William Todd Schultz: Diane is known for her photographs of marginalized people but this biography does a great job of showing you the person behind the photographs.

The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy. Everyone knows the mystery of perhaps the most famous crimes of all time; the murder of Elizabeth Short. This fiction takes the murder and uses it as a catalyst in the lives of the people trying to solve the crime.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. This book was recently popularized by the release of the motion picture based on it. It is an exciting read filled with lust, selfishness and best of all… murder.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. A classic novel and one of my all time favorites. What I love most about this book is the relationship between man and monster. It really makes you question who the real monster is.

Shadow Rabbits
Bryan V.

Written by Bryan V.

Fun fact: I once met a guy who met Captain Beefheart.