Friday Underground Records debuts new EP

Dana Gary’s “Scholasticism” EP draws from her Tennessee and Virginia roots

FUDG Records Recording Session. Photo Courtesy of WDBJ7

FUDG Records Recording Session. Photo Courtesy of WDBJ7

Hannah Denham

Dana Gary, ‘18, released her debut extended play (EP), “Scholasticism,” under the name Purser on Friday with Friday Underground (FUDG) Records.

Gary is a singer/songwriter from Nashville who combines jazz, folk and pop influences in her music style and academic poetry and politics in her lyrics.

Gary and FUDG Records used a Kickstarter campaign to fund the EP’s release.

“‘Scholasticism’ serves as Gary’s reflection upon the relationship between a growing perspective and an unchanging place,” the Kickstarter pitch said. “Nearing the end of the college experience, Gary’s music bursts with the excitement of intellectual and emotional discovery in the final days of adolescence.”

This debut EP is a consolidation of eclectic tastes and dense ideas. Its title is a term Gary learned in a music theory class. She defined scholasticism as “a type of thought process where logic and faith combine,” identifying the faith aspect as her Tennessee roots and the logic aspect as her academic experience at W&L.

The album narrates both the physical and personal coming-of-age journey from her Tennessee roots to newfound ones in Virginia.

“Learning how to reconcile those two places… results in this higher truth,” Gary said. “A lot of the songs are implicitly about the version of myself before college. That would be my Tennessee self.” She navigates this journey toward who she is through what she calls her “Lexington experience” in the first single off the EP, “Ways in Which You Are Like Travelling.”

“I’m missing one at the same time I’m aching to be the other,” she said. “‘Ways in Which You Are Like Travelling’ is the bridge between the two places of self.”

The song, which Gary identified as her favorite, pins her strong vocal force against a delicate guitar. The melancholy guitar allows Gary to show listeners the depth and maturity of her songwriting.

“It was more receiving it than working on it,” she said. “I think it has a sense of completion.”

Gary said her role in the music scene on campus emerged her first year in choir.

“It was the first experience I had at W&L where I could say, ‘This is my place where I can go and be vulnerable,’ and where I could find my people,” she said.

Gary mentioned Choir Director Shane Lynch as a mentor for her music, as well as Graham Spice, the audio engineer for the music department. Spice played guitar on her nearly eight-minute song “Antithesis,” the final track, and helped during the production process.

“It’s really phenomenal to have a faculty member just step out of the woodwork,” she said. “That was W&L in a nutshell for me.”

Gary and FUDG Records began the Kickstarter campaign in February after three months of recording. The campaign raised a total of $3,028 from 80 backers.

Gary approached the project in November 2016 having already written two songs. She spent the next three months working with Austin Frank, ‘17, co-founder and producer of FUDG Records. She and Frank borrowed equipment from the Lenfest Center, where they spent every Saturday in a makeshift studio.

“I’m a perfectionist when it comes to performance, and [Frank] is a perfectionist when it comes to production,” Gary said. Gary is already looking ahead on her music journey. She plans to play gigs with friends in Nashville during the summer to immerse herself in the music scene there. “I have ideas for another project and I just want to make sure it’s entirely different,” she said.