This morning, Charleston electronic project Persona La Ave released “Love in the City”, the first single off the upcoming album Isabella. Persona La Ave was born of the creative musings of Dylan Dawkins, and most of the project’s previous releases have been instrumental, with a few songs that have vocals sprinkled throughout. According to Dylan, the new album changes the formula in the sense that there are vocals on every single track, and he sees the record as a process in creating catchy, vocal heavy songs. “Love in the City” is our first glimpse of that.
Isabella got its name solely because it was recorded at 38 Isabella Street, where Dylan lives with Blake Ratliffe and Dan Truncellito of Youngster, and Brian Hannon of Co. and other projects. Over the past year, Dylan has rigged up a “happy fun little bedroom studio situation” and his friends often come over to hang out and record music. He considers the album a love letter to Charleston, and says that it’s very much inspired by the city and the scene here.
The entire album is a collaborative effort between Dylan, his roommates, and several of their friends that stop through the Isabella Street house. “Love in the City” is the first song that they all recorded together, and it plays like a narrative about trying to find love in a new city. Dylan says that it isn’t just romantic love, but finding love through friends, family, and music, too. The first verse is sung by Brian, and Blake wrote and sings the chorus. Dries Vandenburg (SUSTO, Human Resources) came over one day with no real plan, and ended up writing the melodic hook on a keyboard and adding some guitar. The final touch comes from Dylan’s “secret agent man”, Chuck Millican, who lives in Knoxville, TN and added the saxophone part.
After writing “Love in the City”, Dylan and his roommates had so much fun that they decided unanimously “that we should make a whole album of this stuff together”. The recording process was very much about having fun, passing a microphone around the room and getting into the vibe. In the live setting, Persona La Ave brings the same mindset of just having a good time, dancing around on stage and playing over backing tracks like true karaoke professionals.
“There’s something to be said about just chemistry with the group of people that are on stage with you,” Dylan explains. “I don’t really care if you can shred or whatever, but if you can make me laugh with some banter then that’s solid gold in my opinion.”
Listen to “Love in the City” by Persona La Ave below, and stay tuned for the rest of Isabella dropping soon.