Danielle (Dee) DiMeola, lead guitarist from the band My Lonely Heart brings something exciting to the New Jersey music scene. With her incredible electric guitar skills, and love of playing in a band with some of her best friends, she dedicates her life to music. Ever since the very popular game Guitar Hero was released in 2005, Dee has been enticed by the sound of an electric guitar. Switching between her Les Paul and Fender Jazzmaster, Dee and the other members of My Lonely Heart (TJ, Chris, and Adam) recently graced the stage at two famous New Jersey venues, The Stone Pony and Starland Ballroom. After speaking with Dee about their new EP, My Lonely Heart is definitely a great pop/punk rock band that you should look out for.
You released your first EP “Learning How To Live” last august, how did you come up with the title?
Basically we took it from the lyrics from the first song on the EP “Two Years Ten Seconds”. One of the first lines of the song is actually just the line “learning how to live”. That’s what made it “Learning How To Live”, because the whole process we went about writing it we were just kind of like figuring out how exactly to work together and learn how to work together as a band, and we were all going through different things in life so we thought it fit the title of the EP pretty well.
Do you have a favorite track off the EP that you’re especially proud of?
It depends on the context of it like if we’re playing it live or if we’re just listening to the studio version. To play live my favorite song is probably “Keeping Secrets” just because we go nuts when we play it, the energy is insane, and usually the crowd gets pretty hyped up about it too. It’s a fun way to end the show because we usually end the show with it. Probably to listen to, “911 Call” is my favorite because I like all the different sounds that we have in it, and all the different guitar parts, and it’s just kind of different from the rest of the EP and it sounds pretty cool to me.
You also cover many well-known songs on your YouTube page like the Foo Fighters “My Hero”, and The All American rejects “Dirty little secret”, what is your favorite band to do covers of?
I think each of us have a different band to do covers of. My favorite is usually covers we do of “Mayday Parade” and “Fall Out Boy” a lot. Probably “Sugar We’re Going Down” is my favorite one to play because everybody knows that song and it’s really fun to play live.
My Lonely Heart recently played at two very famous venues in NJ, the Stone Pony and The Starland Ballroom. How exciting was it to experience playing on the same stage as bands like My Chemical Romance, Maroon 5, and Panic at the Disco that have played these venues before?
It was unreal. We never expected to actually be able to play at those venues when we started this band, so getting that opportunity was just a dream come true for all of us. Basically, the Stone Pony was the first one that blew our minds and then when we played at the Starland Ballroom we were just like “Oh my god, we’re on the same stage as all of our favorite bands that have played on it!”. It was just really cool, and a lot of fun. They’re really big stages so we got to run around and go crazy without having to worry about running into each other or anything like that. It was a lot of fun and such a cool experience. Those two shows we had the two biggest crowds we’ve ever played too and it was such a surreal feeling that we never expected to actually happen when we started this band.
To be able to perform at such well known venues you have to be prepared, how often does My Lonely Heart practice for a live show?
We usually practice once a week; it varies every week, but we usually practice Tuesday or Wednesday. We practice anywhere from two in the afternoon to ten o’clock at night, so we just play music for hours. We usually do once a week because it fits into everybody’s schedule pretty well.
What would be your dream venue to play at, if it could be anywhere in the world?
That’s a tough one. Probably the stereotypical answer of Madison Square Garden because it’s just an iconic venue and a big place that everybody wants to play at. That’s probably the dream venue.
Do you ever get nervous right before you’re about to go on stage, or is playing live something that is so ingrained in your soul it doesn’t even phase you?
It used to be pretty nerve-racking at the beginning when we first started playing shows because we were so new to it and we didn’t know what to expect. Now, it’s pretty easy. We usually know the kind of crowd that’s going to be at specific shows and how to prepare ourselves for it. We just go up there and have fun, play a fun show, and hope the crowd likes it.
A female playing lead guitar in a pop punk/rock band isn’t something that we see a lot. What inspired you to play the electric guitar, and how did you learn the skills to be able to play one so well?
What made me want to play guitar was the game Guitar Hero; which is pretty funny, but I played that game when I was about 10 when it first came out. I thought it was really cool, and I liked a lot of the songs on it, so I basically begged my parents to get me a real electric guitar. From there, I started taking lessons for a while and that’s how I learned.
What famous guitarist influences you the most?
I have a few. One of them is Taylor York from Paramore. He’s probably the biggest one because Paramore is my favorite band. I love everything they’ve ever done. His guitar parts you can kind of hear them in some of our stuff; there’s similar writing styles. Another one is Frank Iero from My Chemical Romance. I have one of the same guitars that he had at one point. I like his writing style that again, makes it into some of our songs and there’s similar playing styles as well. Also this is a fairly newer one, but Lynn Gunn from the band PVRIS, she’s another guitarist because she’s one of the few females that I look up to that actually plays guitar. I thought that was really cool, it’s cool to see another female doing what I do. They’re band got me into a lot of different styles of guitar, like into a lot of reverb and stuff and I try to use that in some of our songs that turns out really cool.
Do you have a favorite guitar you like to play?
I like to play both of the ones I use. It depends on the type of song really, or what we’re playing. I usually have them in two different tunings so it’s easier to swap back and forth so you’re not standing there tuning up and down an entire set. I think it really depends on the day, because I just got a Jazz Master for Christmas. I’ve been playing that a lot lately just because it’s new and it’s something I’m still getting used to playing.
Being the only female in the band, if you were to add another member, would you be open to adding another female in the band or does it not matter?
It doesn’t really matter. It’s more about who you work well with as opposed to what gender is in your band. That’s basically how the band came together because with everyone in the band it has been trial and error going through different people to try and work with. We finally all click and work together really well and it’s about that. If we found another girl that plays drums or guitar or whatever that could fit in the band and we wanted to add another member, we’d definitely be open to it.
How would you describe My Lonely Heart’s sound, and who would you compare it to?
We don’t even really know honestly. We just have so many different sounds incorporated with our music that it’s kind of hard to pick. We generally say we are like a pop/punk alternative rock band. We usually say we’re similar to older Paramore, and older Fall Out Boy style of music.
What is the next step for the band in terms of releasing new music?
Right now we’re planning to go and record our next EP either later this year, or early next year. We’re not too sure yet but we’re definitely going to. We have a bunch of new songs and we’re still writing more so we’re planning to release that hopefully by sometime next year and we’re excited.
Is there anything specific you’d like people to know about My Lonely Heart that you won’t typically know from listening to your music or seeing you play live?
Just that we’re really all best friends coming together to make music that we all like to play. We just want to play music and get it out there for people to listen to. We hope that our music can impact people’s lives the way that music has impacted our lives, and that somebody can make the connection with our band that we’ve made with some of our favorite bands.