The Dentata is the stuff of legend. The word describes the mythical toothed vagina, derived from centuries-old folklore. In Japanese culture, the Ainu legend tells of a sharp-toothed demon hidden inside the vagina of a young woman, who emasculated two young men on their wedding nights.
The Dentata reappears in myths and folklore in the Chaco and Guina tribes of South America, in Hinduism, and in Maori mythology—typically in tales of a goddess taking her revenge. Fast-forward to the 20th century, Camille Paglia wrote in her 1991 book Sexual Personae: “the toothed vagina is no sexist hallucination: every penis is made less in every vagina, just as mankind, male and female, is devoured by mother nature.” It’s fitting that Dentana is Dana’s chosen last name.
The first time I met Dana was at a house party in Los Angeles. When I write her for this interview, I remind her that the first thing we talked about was Diamond’s verse in Crime Mob’s ‘Stilettos (Pumps)’. I knew she was cool because she could rap every word. Dana wrote me back from Switzerland, where she’d travelled to meet Kanye West. It was Kanye who asked her to give the closing performance at September’s PornHub awards, where he served as creative director.
Impressive, absolutely, but Dana found some success with earlier projects too. In the early 10s she played lead guitar and sang for the Toronto metal band Dentata; and through 2016 she experimented with a electronic, R&B sound under the mononym DANA, centred around her powerhouse vocals. Her 2018 EP Danavi$ion, released as Dana Dentata, kept the sexually explicit, fuck-you-pay-me lyrics of the DANA era, but delivered them with a cadence closer that that of long-time heroes Eminem and Kid Rock. Here, we talk about how Dana’s vision came into focus, and where she’s going next.
Dana, you have a vision that you always refer to as Danavi$ion. Explain what that phrase means.
For a very long time I tried to explain what I wanted to do to people and they just didn’t get it. I shouldn’t have listened to anyone. Finally I started calling everything I do for myself Danavi$ion: from music to styling, to directing my own videos and even a way of thinking with the kinda shit I say. Full Danavi$ion.
How old were you when you realised that you wanted to do music? What was your first band like?
I’ve never ever had a thought in my life about anything other than doing music. I was in a couple bootleg bands [as a teenager], but at 19 I started Dentata, the baddest band of bitches. Our shows consisted of naked barbies, blood and a lot of girls screaming. If you’re a lurk you’ll find the videos, lol.
How did you meet your current live guitarist Leelee? You guys are such a great match.
She wrote me on Instagram. I saw her and she looked cool as fuck. I asked her what kinda music she liked and she said Marilyn Manson and Travis Scott. I was like Yasssss.
I’d say your breakout single as a solo artist was ‘TND (Trust No Dick)‘. I remember we were on our way to a Kid Rock concert when you first told me about writing that song. Can you tell the story again?
I dated a guy I met at the club. He took me out of the club and consumed my life for three years. It was hell on earth. He didn’t deserve my real fucking name. I shoulda charged that bitch. Damn.
If it wasn’t already clear, we both appreciate and understand the genius of the artist known as Kid Rock. Your track ‘Ride A Cowboy’ is a really sultry, Kid Rock inspired track oozing in sex appeal. How have rappers like Kid and Eminem influenced your music?
First of all, they are both iconic. I feel connected to a very masculine energy inside of me, and I feel it inside of them too. It’s the aggressive, don’t give a fuck attitude that I relate to. They say whatever the fuck they want to say with BDE. Their music makes me feel and I want to make people fucking feel something.
What do you have to say to people that have criticised you in the past?
Trust. No. Dick.
In the future, what barriers would you like to see be eliminated for female musicians?
We need more female producers. Need. What is stopping this? That needs to be eliminated stat. My worst problem [in the industry] has been people trying to take ownership over me in very weird and manipulative ways. Ops. No one should own anyone.
There are rumours swirling that you’ve been in the studio with Kanye West. What can you say about the future of your music?
I can say you’re going to hear a lot of new really good music. I feel like I’ve completed my dream album and I cannot wait to perform this shit. I’m finally free. I’m going to create a world and everyone’s invited.