Daiana Feuer is well-known in the Los Angeles music scene—and she’s no stranger to the desert.
The L.A.-based freelance journalist and frontwoman of Bloody Death Skull also organizes a festival in Wonder Valley known as Deserted at the Palms. Finally, she’s a DJ, and is resuming a residency at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, with sets in the Amigo Room starting on Friday, Sept. 2, and continuing on Sunday, Sept. 11 and 18.
Bloody Death Skull shows are unique, to say the least. Feuer fronts the band on vocals and also plays the ukulele. The members are also known to dress up in costumes, and a female member often sits on the floor playing with action figures as the other members—including John and Bridgette Seasons of Haunted Summer—perform.
Feuer explained how she started creating music.
“I studied creative writing in college,” Feuer said during a recent phone interview. “I was inspired by what you can do with writing in song form; there’s just so much you can create. You can create these elaborate or strange moments and images through a song which hit you in a whole different way than what you can do with a story. I got really into that after grad school.
“I thought, ‘Mehhhh, I’m going to put the novel on the shelf; I’m going to write some songs!’ I picked up my friend’s ukulele; he was a lefty, but I picked it up and I was like, ‘Whoa, I’m in love!’ … It spoke to me and just fit the kind of songs I want to make. It sounds really great with those girl groups and those ’50s types of song structures—at least to me it does. Then I found an electric ukulele, which is a whole other thing.”
She said that when she started Bloody Death Skull with a friend, her interest in the arts influenced how they wrote songs and performed.
“We would write 10 songs in an hour as an exercise in creativity. I think that’s what fuels Bloody Death Skull: Immediacy, and not thinking so much—trusting that what comes out of you is real,” she said. “We’re really inspired by surrealism and those kinds of tactics that they use to create art.”
Bloody Death Skull performs a lot of covers of psychedelic rock songs—in the band’s own unique fashion, of course. Feuer described the kind of music that inspired the sound.
“I’d say it’s pretty much split between stuff like Roky Erickson and girl groups of the ’60s (like) The Shirelles and The Shangri-Las—all that teen pop of the early ‘60s,” Feuer said. “It’s between that and early psychedelic rock. Also, the proto-punk stuff like Richard Hell and Television.”
Deserted at the Palms has attracted some big names within the indie-music scene over the past couple of years. This past May, groups such as Fartbarf, Death Valley Girls and The Dead Ships performed. Interesting random fact, Feuer’s father, David Feuer, a rabbi, was at the door collecting entry fees and putting on wristbands.
“I love the desert. I love everything about it—the atmosphere, the nature and the weird locations that almost feel like they transport you to another universe,” she Feuer said. “The minute I stepped into the Palms, I said, ‘I have to do an event here!’ I just wanted to bring people to that place so they could experience it. Aside from bringing great music, I try hard not to change the environment too much. What people come to is the real thing of that venue and particular place. It’s so far out and unique. I go to a lot of big music festivals, given my background in journalism, and it’s fun, but I also think there’s something really beautiful (about) something not as crazy-ambitious and more about the environment that’s already there, and bringing a great soundtrack to that.”
Feuer has DJ’d at the Ace Hotel in the past—and having attended a performance in the past, I can tell you that you’ll hear a great variety of music.
“I did a residency there last year in September, too, so I’m coming back and doing it again,” she said. “I guess it varies between ’60s and ’70s, a lot of rock, pop, psychedelic and garage, and music from now that carries the torch of those genres. There’s something about those decades that I’m really drawn to, so I look for a lot of music from that time period. … I think the biggest pat on the back for a DJ is when someone comes up to you and asks, ‘What’s this song?’ I kind of strive to have people discover their favorite new song when I DJ. Through journalism, I’m exposed to a lot of new music, so I want to give that stuff exposure, too.”
Feuer explained what makes the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, where DJ Day was once a resident, a great place for people who aren’t run-of-the-mill DJs.
“I think that they really try to find DJs who have a statement about music,” Feuer said, “people who are crate-diggers and tastemakers themselves in whatever they do. I’m not a typical DJ, and I don’t DJ for a living, but I have so much exposure and taste. They try to find people like that—people who don’t necessarily know what they’re doing in terms of turntables, but people who have an interesting approach to what’s in their bins.”
Daiana Feuer will be DJing at 11 p.m., Friday, Sept. 2; and 9 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 11 and 18, at the Amigo Room at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club. 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Admission to the 21-and-older event is free. For more information, call 760-325-9900, or visit www.acehotel.com/palmsprings.