Secret Dakota Ring is the homemade indie-pop brainchild of Serious Business co-founder Andy Ross. The project emerged in late 2002 when Andy began recording the music he'd written after a string of jarring events: his band broke up, his relationship dissolved, he quit his day-job, he started taking the Long Island Rail Road out to Sayville on Long Island where college pal Travis Harrison rented a windowless shack on Montauk Highway (Trav's mom let Andy crash on the couch). The songs he'd come up with included a handful of super catchy, major-key bangers ("Whiskey," "My Window") that sounded honest and unpretentious, and a series of heartbreaking slower, sadder songs built around solo performances ("At Night," "Beautiful Girl"). Within a few months, the guys had moved to a new studio in Long Island City, hatched plans to start a label and Andy and finished what became Do Not Leave Baggage All the Way (SBR02).
By January 2004 when Baggage was mastered, Travis and Andy were involved in starting two other projects, The Unsacred Hearts and DraculaZombieUSA, had upgraded to a fancy loft in Brooklyn and had officially hatched Serious Business Records. A year later, Andy joined Chicago pop-rockers OK Go and is still currently on tour supporting their sophomore release "Oh No". He danced on treadmills in front of bazillions of humans at the 2006 MTV VMAs. He won a Grammy too.
Fast forward to 2008, with Serious Business, now based in SoHo, rapidly becoming a NYC institution and A Ross a fully-fledged and seasoned rock star
. With the second Secret Dakota Ring album Cantarell
, Andy Ross steers his project towards beautifully realized stylistic extremes of pop. Each track reveals a bevy of musical surprises. From the multi-layered summer-of-love psychedelia of “Losing Eyeballs” to the stark strings-only arrangement of “They Got The Wrong Guy” to the Hitsville USA pep of “The Fade to Black,” SDR have crafted a uniquely detailed and completely individual half-hour of ultra-catchy and unpretentious pop music out November 11, 2008 on Serious Business / No Office Records.
Ross wrote Cantarell
in tour buses and hotel rooms as he toured the world as OK Go’s guitarist. Every time he found himself in New York City, he’d head to work at Serious Business to collaborate with SDR drummer and co-producer Harrison. The sessions began as fun and informal, but as the months progressed, the songs started to pile up.
It had been more than three years since Do Not Leave Baggage All The Way
, which sold out of its first and only pressing thanks to strong word-of-mouth and with virtually no promotional effort or live support, and Ross and Harrison felt it was time to release this new collection of songs.
With Ross living in LA and constantly touring and the nexus of Serious Business remaining in NYC, the process developed as a bi-coastal, FTP-assisted, postal-service-indebted effort. Along the way, they enlisted the prodigious talents of producer/multi-instrumentalists Josh Kaufman (Rocketship Park, Caithlin DeMarrais) and Assaf Spector (Penniless Wilds) to help separately on a few tunes.
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