Reading KL: Dasha Logan
Time Out KL has started a new series called ‘Reading KL’ which aims to study reading cultures among KL-ites. In our second interview of the series, we speak to svelte local singer Dasha Logan about her favourite songwriters and how her father (Loganathan Arumugam, famed vocalist of Alleycats) influenced her reading habits. By Surekha Ragavan
When did you write your first song?
When I was very young, I used to randomly write about food. I understood that I didn’t understand love so I used to write about food. I started writing more when I was in college and I used to randomly write songs about long-distance relationships.
Are your songs usually based on personal experiences?
Not really. It’s mostly based on other people’s experiences. I haven’t experienced much in my personal life, so I try to write stuff based on the funny stuff I hear from my friends. And my brother’s love life is also quite entertaining so I write based on that also.
How does your reading material influence your songwriting?
Learning new words! But there’s one book, ‘The World According To Garp’ by John Irving. There was a sentence in there which I caught and just started writing a song. Something like, ‘Dear Frank, the dog’s in the yard, the kids are in school and I’m leaving’. And I really liked that sentence, it’s just quite funny that a woman so completely fed up is leaving.
How important are lyrics to you?
I’m a very lyrical person. Some people listen to songs and they say it’s such a nice song. And I’m like, ‘Do you know what the song’s about?’ The song ‘You and I Both’ by Jason Mraz is a sad song about a girl who leaves him but it sounds so happy and people are just like ‘You and I bothhh…’
John Mayer, Amy Winehouse. I do like Adele because she’s so simple. John Legend, The Beatles, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Harry Nilsson. Harry Nilsson would write songs about his desk, his dog... Oh Barbra Streisand too if she writes her own songs la. I think one man who can link his lyrics to his melody so well is John Mayer. I don’t know how he does it. John Mayer is my bible, he has the answer to all my problems.
He’s a beautiful writer. Apparently he’s kind of a major douche though.
He’s racist and he’s sexist but he just has to get it out of his system. Then he’ll ask me to marry him [laughs]. He’s my man. People can say whatever they want about him. I had a friend and she was always like ‘John Mayer’s such an idiot’. And I go like, ‘Can you just listen to "Heartbreak Warfare"?’ And the next day, she was like ‘I hate you, 'cause I love his album. I still hate him, but I love his album.’ I don’t know how he manages to write such good songs.
Moving on to books, what are your favourites?
‘Pillars of the Earth’. It’s a massive, fat book like a dictionary. ‘The Book Thief’ is also such a nice book. There’s this book called ‘Just Friends’, it was so much fun to read. Oh Sophie Kinsella – love her! And I love my Harry Potters la. And ‘Gargoyle!’ There’s a book called ‘Gargoyle’, it’s such a good love story. It was hard to find but they have it in MPH, and it’s about love through time.
What sort of genres do you usually read?
I switch. I categorise my books into no-brainers and brainers. So if I read too many brainers, I’m like ‘I need my no-brainers!’ I don’t do the whole non-fiction thing, I would just read that stuff off the Internet.
Do you read a lot backstage?
There's so much waiting involved and you're just sitting around waiting for your slot. For my dad, he found reading backstage to be an easier way to occupy his time.
What do you like best about reading?
I call books my portable television. It’s pure entertainment anytime, anywhere. And it keeps me very calm. I have this boyfriend, when he smokes, he always walks away from me. And usually I’m like drumming my fingers and waiting so it’s good to have a book. My dad was also a reader, so it must have caught on. He’s a fantasy reader and he passed on Terry Brooks’s ‘Magical Kingdom for Sale - SOLD!’. It’s about a guy who buys a kingdom and it’s very funny.
Catch Dasha Logan at 'It's a very Hot Summer', a Donna Summer tribute concert also featuring Rozz, Poova and Melissa Indot. See event listing for more details.