Tap-dancing, noise-rocking Donna Diane conjures lightning and thunder by layering her Kurt Ballou-designed Craftsman guitar over a Moog Minitaur bass synth.
Facing a mandatory shelter-in-place ordinance to limit the spread of COVID-19, PG enacted a hybrid approach to filming and producing Rig Rundowns. This is the 27th video in that format.
For two people, Djunah deals a lot of volume. The Chicago-based duo is abrasive, angular, visceral, and brash—making them a perfect candidate to carry the flag of ’90s Windy City underground icons like Shellac, The Jesus Lizard, and Slint that all made a home at Chi-town’s indie Touch and Go Records.
When previous projects for Donna Diane (Beat Drun Juel) and drummer Nick Smalkowski (Fake Limbs) crumbled, they combined their volcanic tendencies and formed Djunah. Smalkowski has the tireless duty of propelling the song forward while maintaining its backbone. Donna Diane handles all the rest—she sings, plays guitar, and stomps bass notes with her feet thanks to a Roland-and-Moog hybrid command center.
After honing their kerranging, kinetic combo through rehearsals and tours, the pair traveled to Salem, MA, to record their 2019 debut Ex Voto with Converge guitarist and GodCity Studio overlord Kurt Ballou. (Ex Voto was mastered by Shellac bassist Bob Weston.)
Carving out some rock time, Donna Diane virtually welcomed PG’s Chris Kies into her jam room in Chicago. In this Rig Rundown, the ambitious, self-admitted neurotic musician opens up about crafting a singular sound with two instruments, how having a leg for a bass player is therapeutic, and extracting as much gear info from Kurt Ballou as possible. (Be sure to check out Donna’s channel for videos from her series Can I Touch Your Gear? including this episode with Kurt Ballou.)