May 26, 2021
Dan Kinnaley is a veteran of the underground music scene in Fort Wayne.
The New Haven native has played in quite a few local bands over the years, including The Snarks, Burial Party, and novelty death-metal band Truck Flag.
But Kinnaley’s latest project is his most personal.
Solo with lots of support
Sparkle Teeth is pretty much all Dan plus some drums and production help from local studio wizard Jason Davis.
It’s also a collaboration with his partner and artist Kristin Watrous, who has supplied the visuals to Kinnaley’s music.
“A few years ago, I bought an interface and EZ Drummer 2 in an effort to make better demos for the bands I was in,” Kinnaley said. “I started playing around with a few ideas that I realized wouldn’t work for any of them, so I decided to see if I could flesh them out on my own.”
That’s how Sparkle Teeth came about.
“I was initially inspired by bands like Cloakroom, Narrow Head, and Slow Crush,” he said. “I think they’re doing new and interesting things with the kind of melodic-yet-muscular guitar rock that a lot of my favorite genres, like college rock, post-hardcore, post-punk, shoegaze, and grunge, all share.
“I was also listening to a lot of dream pop and synth-based music at the time, which I think creeps into the melodies a bit.”
Kinnaley had to perfect his method for laying down the vocals, since he wasn’t typically singing in his other projects.
“One of my favorite vocalists and lyricists is Joe Casey from Protomartyr,” he said. “I love the way he paints a scene with words and how the quality of his voice brings those scenes to life.
“I try not to ape anyone outright, but I’m not a singer and I didn’t know where to start learning, so I sang along to Protomartyr songs in the car until I felt comfortable enough to sing these songs.”
New music Next week
Sparkle Teeth’s debut EP drops on June 4. It contains three songs, which are the first three tracks Kinnaley wrote for the band.
“After I finished the demos, I showed them to Jason Davis of https://whatzup.com/ music-comedy/streetlamps-for-spotlights-love-jangle-rock-" target="_blank">Streetlamps for Spotlights and he agreed to play drums on the record,” Kinnaley said. “We recorded the drums at his studio, Off The Cuff, in January of 2020 and I tracked the guitar, bass, and synth at home shortly after.
“I knew that I wanted to go back to Off The Cuff to record vocals and mix. Jason has an excellent ear for this style of music and I knew he’d have valuable insight into vocal production and mixing.”
As for new songs, Kinnaley is thinking ahead.
“I’m hoping to write a few more and release a Sparkle Teeth album sometime in 2022.”
While there are no live shows booked yet, Kinnaley has recorded a live set with a few friends/bandmates for something special.
“I recently put together a band of some of my favorite musicians to film a set of the three songs to help promote the EP,” Kinnaley said. “Dan Arnos and Elizabeth Helms, who played with me in The Snarks, are on board on drums and keys respectively. Ian Haas from disappear. is playing bass, and Nick Burks from Stonecutters and War Cloud is playing lead guitar.”
Kinnaley was thrilled for all the support from fellow musicians and friends who were willing to help him out with this project.
“No matter what else happens with this project, knowing all of them said yes to playing these songs with me feels like the biggest compliment,” he said. “We’ll be recording them at the Brass Rail before the bar opens, and it has me itching to get back to playing shows again. Hopefully once we nail down a few of the new songs, we can book a show or two this fall.”
Along with the start of Sparkle Teeth, Kinnaley began his journey as a recording studio owner in 2020.
A recent move and purchase of a new place just outside of the Fort has Kinnaley and partner Watrous with a lot of room for them both to grow and create their art.
“Our new place has all the room we each need, and I’m so excited to have a proper studio,” Kinnaley said. “The basement is currently being renovated into a control room, live room, and isolation room that will be able to accomodate tracking a full band live. I’ll also be able to offer editing, mixing, and pre-production services. I’m calling it Chipped Tooth Audio, and I’m hoping to start making music here in the summer.”
You can purchase the Sparkle Teeth EP at sparkleteeth.bandcamp.com. For live show updates, follow Sparkle Teeth on Facebook.
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