Dear Fawn
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Dear Fawn

Dayton, Ohio, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Dayton, Ohio, United States
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Alternative Indie


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Dear Fawn - "I Played The Queen" EP"

Dayton indie rock band Dear Fawn just released their new EP, I Played The Queen, this week on Dayton imprint Gas Daddy Go! Records. The band is led by the stunning vocals and songwriting of Tifani Tanaka and rounded out by King Elk members Kyle Melton, Andy Smith and Tyler Bellingar. Unlike King Elk’s 50’s and 60’s inspired psych-pop, the more experimental Dear Fawn create a darker, grittier punk and New Wave infused garage rock sound that recalls the grimy swagger of The Dead Weather.
A cascading classic rock-like guitar melody dissolves into a twisty surf-rock riff on the opener, “The Bad Seed” which also provides the introduction to Tifani’s smoky, blues-soaked croon. Standout track, “Bandwagon” follows and settles into a stomping groove with buzzing keyboards and a rumbling bass line along with welcoming lyrics that contrast nicely with the menacing music. The first single, “There Are Tigers In The Basement” also stands out with a hip-shaking rhythm, soaring vocals and some catchy 60’s girl group melodies. The title track, “I Played The Queen” is highlighted by a slinky, danceable rhythm and Tifani’s soulful vocals. “You’re a Noose” is led by a warbling and bouncy New Wave-like keyboard melody and “Not In The Lionhearted Room” is built upon snaking guitar lines that curl and creep around the infectious vocal melody. Closing out the seven-song EP is the super-charged “White Russian” with its crunchy 90’s-style guitar riff, thrashing drums, stop/start rhythm and the psych-rock guitar freakout that ends the song and the EP on a high note.
I Played The Queen, the very promising debut EP from Dear Fawn is available now on a limited run of CDs and as a digital download via the Gas Daddy Go! Bandcamp page and it provides further proof of the Gem City’s excellent musical talent. - Atlas and the Anchor

"Interview/Dear Fawn"

MN – Tell us about your latest release…

906092186 1 Interview / Dear Fawn

Tifani Tanaka - This is our first release ever. We are pretty excited to finally get in the game. We chose songs that we felt described our band as a whole. There are a lot of different ideas that we all bring to the table and our EP is simply a sample of all of those ideas and how we’ve been able to mesh them into something that seems to make sense. At least to us.

Where can we purchase/download it?

Kyle Melton - You can purchase the record online through Gas Daddy Go! Records []. I’m one of the owners of the label and there are several other great Dayton bands worth checking out as well.

Can we catch you live in 2013?

KM – Yes, we’ll be playing live more in 2013, but most likely in the Midwest US. We hope to branch out more. We’ll accept offers to ship us to the UK as well.

Any other plans for 2013?

KM – We already have another album’s worth of material which we’ll start working on very soon with Darryl Robbins of The Motel Beds [check them out as well!].

Out of your songs: which is your favourite and why?

T-T – My favorite song is “Not in the Lion-Hearted Room”. The lyrics have the most meaning for me and our fans seem to connect with this song the most. Our demo for this song is what first made people notice us. It’s come such a long way since then, but I feel like it will always hold the most value to success thus far.

KM – I like “Bandwagon” and “You’re a Noose” a lot, as those have come such a long way from their inception. When playing those live, we all tend to cut loose and sing along with Tifani at the top of our lungs, which tends to incite audiences to do the same.

What’s the worst thing about being an independent musician?

KM – Work schedules between band members can be pretty hard to line up. We all have to work for a living which makes playing shows a little difficult to plan ahead. It’s hard to try to play out of town when you don’t have the support or the funds.

TT – I dunno, there’s a lot you can complain about being an independent musician, but I think it has its advantages as well. You’re free to follow your own instincts as far as writing and putting yourself out there. Sure, you don’t have enormous marketing budgets to reach millions of people and have your music jammed down their throats, but who really wants that? I like the organic nature of being an independent musician.

What’s the best advice you can give as a DIY act?

Try every idea you have. When I first started writing I knew what I wanted to sound like but I was too afraid to go for it since it wasn’t what first introduced ourselves as sounding like. Since our band has started to form a fan base we are always challenging each other to throw every possible idea out there whether it be a melody, a drum beat, a bass line, or a guitar riff. The simplest of ideas can turn into the greatest of songs. Don’t be afraid to steering from your known sound. Something else may end up sounding even better.

CHEEERSSSS! IMN signing out! - Independent Music News (UK)

"A seed, a tiger, a noose and a queen"

Dear Fawn celebrates debut EP at Jimmie’s Ladder 11
By Zach Rogers
Photo: Dear Fawn releases debut EP April 13: [l to r] Tifani Tanaka, Tyler Bellingar, Andy Smith and Kyle Melton; photo credit: Katie Sule

The hardest thing for any band is maintaining a balance between finding a sound and not getting pigeonholed within that realm. Dear Fawn succeeds in doing just that, and on their debut EP I Played the Queen, they provide a variety of influences while sounding distinctly Dear Fawn-ish in the process. The band will celebrate the release with a show at Jimmie’s Ladder 11 on Saturday, April 13, and you can expect nothing but pure rock n’ roll goodness from this loosely tight-knit machine.

I Played the Queen comes after a progressive time for the band. Although only a year old, Dear Fawn sounds like a band that’s been playing together for much longer than that. Maybe because it’s partially true. Three-fourths of the band – guitarist/keyboardist Tyler Bellingar, bassist/guitarist (and Dayton City Paper Editor) Kyle Melton and drummer Andy Smith – have a history in another local group, King Elk. However, Dear Fawn isn’t some offshoot side project, instead forming nearly by chance with Melton and singer/keyboardist Tifani Tanaka.

“Tifani and I were just hanging out one night and she asked if she could try singing into the PA at my house,” said Melton. “I was blown away. A few weeks later she wanted to try recording, and the two of us worked for like six weeks and came up with sketches for a few songs. I played the demos to Andy and Tyler and they offered their services, and it was obvious that it clicked.”

With everyone onboard, Dear Fawn started cranking out songs at a rapid pace. The experience of playing together in the past made this somewhat easier, although Melton points out that it comes from a completely different place than before. “I’ve never been in a keyboard-driven band, so that’s a huge part of the appeal to me.”

Pretty soon, the band had some tunes on their hands. “Initially, Kyle helped translate Tifani’s ideas,” said Bellingar. “She would sing and Kyle would figure out the rest. When Andy and I joined, things quickly became more organic.”

“Sometimes the music comes first from screwing around at band practice,” said Tanaka, “and other times the lyrics do. I write all the lyrics, mostly about the saddest shit you can imagine.”

The group has gained a reputation around Dayton as a solid live act, and it was on stage that the band perfected their early ideas and also started developing new ones. They’re known for swapping instruments, which came more out of necessity than entertainment. “It wasn’t really an idea we had,” explained Tanaka. “We all just started fighting over who got to play what. In an attempt to make everyone happy, we started playing musical chairs.” Whatever the reason, Dear Fawn fills each show with enough energy to explode at a moment’s notice, and that extra pep in their step pays off well for both band and audience.

All the songs on I Played the Queen display alternate sides of the group, and their influences are wide-ranging to say the least. “We all have different musical connections with each other,” said Bellingar. “Kyle and Andy geek on GBV (Guided by Voices) together. Andy and I listen to Curtis Mayfield and The Smiths in the dark and cry a lot. We all dug the newest Beach House and Tame Impala records. But I think the most obvious and tangible influence on our style is easily the theme song to ‘Charles in Charge.’ Magnificent.”

Opening song, “The Bad Seed,” sails like a desert storm. The guitar grapples the melody and it’s hard to tell whether it’s choking or making sweet, vicious love to it. Either way, the record begins with a velocity that carries throughout all seven songs. “Bandwagon” is an acid-laced stomp guided by a bunch of merry pranksters who assure that, “Everybody’s welcome in my band,” and the song is so entrancing it’s hard to resist hopping on the bus. “You’re a Noose” finds Dear Fawn at their poppiest, with the keyboard driving the song through various twists and turns. The EP’s closer, “White Russian,” sounds like a manic all-nighter with the Dude himself.

“We went in with John Lakes and knocked out the basic tracks in an afternoon,” said Melton. “We’d just come off a month-long residency at South Park Tavern, so we were pretty tuned into the material at that point.”

The band’s hard work isn’t going unnoticed. In addition to their hometown appeal, they’re also making waves across the pond. Recently, UK indie blog Independent Music News included Dear Fawn in their list of the Top 50 Independent/Unsigned Rock/Alternative Acts for the year. Touché, my friends. Touché!

“Of all the bands I’ve been in, this one has progressed so fast and so far,” said Melton. “To think back to Tifani trying to show me how a drum beat should go or trying to figure out if a song would work by playing a cowbell and a bass together, to where we are now is kind of mind-blowing.”

Dear Fawn will be celebrating the release of their I Played the Queen EP on Saturday, April 13th at Jimmie’s Ladder 11, 936 Brown St. Also on the bill is Pharoahs. Show starts at 10 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit

Reach DCP freelance writer Zach Rogers at
- See more at: - Dayton City Paper

"Dear Fawn"

Dear Fawn have been building a solid reputation in their hometown of Dayton, Ohio by playing spirited live shows which display their allegiance to rock n’ roll and quirky musical experimentation. Consisting of singer/keyboardist Tifani Tanaka, guitarist/keyboardist Tyler Bellingar, bassist/guitarist Kyle Melton and drummer Andy Smith, the band spent the latter half of 2012 recording songs for their debut EP, titled I Played the Queen, which will drop via Gas Daddy Go! Records on April 13.

Ghettoblaster caught up with Tanaka and Melton to discuss the EP. This is what they told us about it…

When did you begin writing the material for your most recent album?

I’ve been writing some of the lyrics for years now, but it wasn’t until last winter that they became fully developed. The melodies have changed quite a bit to fit the music, but the foundation is still there. –Tifani Tanaka

Tifani and I started working together putting music to her words last February/March. It was a very tedious process initially, as I was tracking one instrument at a time on each song. It was my first attempt at trying to play everything on a song, but I enjoyed the process. The two of us worked up demo versions of three of the songs before Tyler and Andy started playing with us last April. There were another few songs that we worked on as well that kinda got pushed aside before we started working on the album. –Kyle Melton

What was the most difficult song to take from the initial writing stage through recording and mixing? Why was it so troublesome?

I would say “Not in the Lion-Hearted Room” was the most difficult. It seems to be a fan favorite so I wanted it to be the best. Our early demo had a much different key tone, which I feel in love with but it was much slower and I didn’t feel that I showed enough emotion through my vocals. Our EP version is much more polished but I’m still having trouble accepting that it’s not “perfect” in my eyes. -TT

Which of the songs on the record is most different from your original concept for the song?

Kyle and I had originally written an entire different version of “The Bad Seed”. It had a very “country circus” sound to it. It was pretty and airy with a lot of bass. One day Andy and Tyler where screwing around during practice and came up with a very loud and dynamic sound and I couldn’t help but throw “The Bad Seed’s” lyrics over it. It sounded much more cohesive with our other songs and turned out to be one of our favorites. -TT

Did you have any guest musicians play or sing on the record? After recording “There are Tigers in the Basement” we knew we needed to add bass to the song to make it complete. After a while of fighting over who got to write the part, Tyler handed the bass over to our producer John Lakes and told him to do what he could. After only hearing the song a few times himself, he came up with the perfect bass part that changes the entire mood of the song. We couldn’t be happier with the outcome. -TT

Who produced the record? What input did that person have that changed the face of the record?

John Lakes recorded the album, but it we all really produced it together. After having spent a good deal of time last spring working on demos for several of the songs, we had a pretty clear idea of what the tracks should sound like. The recording and mixing of the album was pretty collaborative and having someone as seasoned as John at the helm certainly helped in creating a good sound and he definitely offered up some great ideas, even stepping in and playing bass on “Tigers,” but for the most part he was extremely gracious in allowing us to chase our ideas and translating them. The end result is something I think we’re all quite proud of. -KM

Is there an overarching concept behind your new album that ties the record together?

When we first started playing we had so many ideas and we couldn’t help but try them all. Our EP is very erratic. Each song sounds much different from the next. Since writing these songs we have a much more unified sound, but we felt it was important to show what all we are capable of. Our next record will have a much better flow but these songs were our babies and we just couldn’t leave them behind because they didn’t fit into our now more consistent sound. -TT

Have you begun playing these songs live and which songs have elicited the strongest reaction from your fans?

Everyone tends to sing along to “Not in the Lion-Hearted Room.” It’s very dark and the lyrics are very depressing but everyone seems to love it! They also seem to enjoy dancing around to “I Played the Queen” and “White Russians.” We have the most amazingly dedicated fans who make every show so much more worth playing. The support we’ve been shown throughout our journey so far has been the best part of the entire experience for me. I feel like one very lucky lady with some very amazing boys by my side. -TT - Ghettoblaster Magazine

"Dear Fawn: I Played The Queen EP [Album Review]"

Dear Fawn
I Played The Queen EP
Gas Daddy Go! Records [2013]

Fire Note Says: Dear Fawn’s debut EP is a solid combination of musicianship and songwriting.

Album Review: I’m proud to say it; I was there for Dear Fawn’s live debut opening up for the Seedy Seeds last summer. It was a nice wowing moment as their stage presence was tight and it appeared the gang had seemed to have played together for quite some time – in a sense that was true. Dear Fawn brings together Kyle Melton, Andy Smith, and Tyler Bellingar of Dayton, Ohio’s King Elk which are all tied together by the sultry blare vocals of Tifani Tanaka. Their debut seven song EP, I Played The Queen, forgoes the sun drenched psych-pop ascetic of King Elk in favor of a grittier garage punk flavor. It’s all very solid with every song showing off another aspect of creativity.

A big win for Dear Fawn are the dynamics held between Tanaka and Melton. A unique understanding of trust is shown here as the two complement each other well and are always on the same wavelength. Crashing out the gate, “The Bad Seed” bounds forward with a classic surf riff. Tifani’s bluesy boom complements the track very nicely. “Bandwagon” feels like it could make itself right at home on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs self-titled EP. A groovy bass line gives the feeling of constant motion and Tifani”s distance, fuzzed, lo-fi Karen O like wails make it a dead ringer. Throughout the album Tifani uses her razor sharp sense of humor to give a more honest version of a young woman trapped in these times. Title track “I Played the Queen” is a nice example of this. A slow sullen bass intro sets the pace, but what really gets to me is the uneasy, vertigo keys that the track coasts on. One of my favorite tracks, the moody slink of “Not In the Lionhearted Room” is carefully calculated yet haphazard skitter of guitar strings accompanied with an infectious melodic chorus that easily sticks inside your brain. Final song and one of the more straightforward of the bunch, “White Russian,” kicks the EP’s final moments into overdrive as it even throws in a Thee Oh Sees guitar freak out near the end.

Dear Fawn’s I Played The Queen is an exciting album for a good amount of reasons. There is a nice foundation of promise built here. If they ever release a LP (and I hope they do) I’d like to see a bit more of a risk taken. Each song here has a strong character to it and I respect that, but it gives off a bit of a disjointed flow that’s only a bit on the disruptive side. But with time I see stronger dynamics, more risks, and adventurous styles taking place. Let’s hope Dear Fawn is here to stay because as they continue to hone their boozy blues garage punk tones they’ll keep my ear for sure.

Key Tracks: “Bandwagon”, “Not In The Lionhearted Room”, “White Russian”

Artists With Similar Fire: The Dead Weather / Blondie / The Yeah Yeah Yeahs - The Fire Note


I Played the Queen (2013)

You're Never Coming Back (2014)



   In 2012, Tifani Tanaka collaborated with her friends for the release of, "I Played the Queen". The EP was a lo-fi throwback to when lyrics played an important part of music before style superseded substance. The EP featured surf soaked guitars, stripped down drums, and an urgency in Tifani's vocals that quickly made waves in the Dayton music scene. After a recording session with John Lakes, the EP was put out in the spring of 2013 by Gas Daddy Go Records.

    After some heavy contemplation, the line up changed to suit Tifani's ever evolving vision. Her idea involved expanding the scope of her lyrics by using sparse instrumentation meshed with ethereal guitars, hollow drums and simplistic keys. Dear Fawn's music now ranges from background music fit for Grimm Fairy Tales to lullabies with heartbreaking themes of unrequited love.The band released the EP "You're Never Coming Back" in early December of 2014. A digital self-release of 5 songs, this recording is a sample of what is to come. Quiet and considerate at first, then driven and focused through the end. This effort will be followed up with a new recording by the fall of 2015.  

Band Members