If the fizz of Mountain Dew could be translated into music, it would sound exactly like Danny Winn and the Earthlings: exhilarating, high-energy and really, really bubbly. Leave it to those catchy, filled beats or maybe even the infectious bass lines, and before you know it there'll be a pit of fans in front of the stage skanking like there's no tomorrow.
For the past three years DW&E have been the face of the local ska scene, playing their music not to make a political stand, not to effect vast social change, but simply, says Danny Winn, " ... to put fun back into music, and try to bring ska back to mainstream radio without selling out."
And with the impending release of their third album that, in the same manner of the two records that came before it, was recorded and produced right in the comfort of Danny's own home, the band is doing a damn fine job of it.
"I'm afraid of record labels," Winn says. "The world is small enough, especially with the Internet, to get in the back door. We're having fun trying to get where we're going by ourselves. We don't take advantage of our crowd--it's rewarding to know it's all about the band and not a gimmick."
And, for the record, Danny Winn and the Earthlings are not about changing their sound. "Our new album is very much the same as the last one, but a step above quality-wise, with an upgrade in equipment," Winn says. "There's much more depth and musicianship. It's the same, but better. We're a ska band and don't want to drop our ska roots. Our talent level isn't inhibiting anymore. We can do almost anything and it will sound good because of the level of talent we're working with."
If there's only one thing you can give Danny Winn credit for, it's his passion for the job. I asked what kind of music he would play if not ska. His response? "Reggae. Really fast reggae." Surprise, surprise.
"Ska is just my favorite music in the world," he says, with that fond tone in his voice. "Seeing people with foot-long mohawks enjoying a band with a three-piece horn section is amazing. I can't even think about writing a regular old song without horns and without syncopation. There's already so much of it out there, why write more?"