Some words with Day Ravies songwriter and multi instrumentalist, Lani Crooks by Tom Barry

By Tom Barry

Photo by Verity Mackay

You obviously have the confidence to write and play music. Did you always have that confidence, or have you had to build it?

Build it, definitely. I started writing as a teenager but I could barely play guitar and still can’t, so doing that in public wasn’t an option. Confidence to have a playing and songwriting role in an active band came about with Day Ravies, through collaborations with like-minded people who were a bit more experienced playing instruments. It was the experience of being in bands that necessitated me kinda learning some instruments (not that I don’t have a very long way to go). And then once you’re in a semi-active band you just want to write and play all the time, and the confidence slowly builds.

I have some female identifying friends who want to play but lack the confidence. Do you think it’s a harder experience getting on stage as a female?

I think in a mixed-gender band it is not too bad. Especially in indie-rock type bands, girls aren’t unusual. I’ve seen that for all-girl bands it can be harder though, because they automatically get labelled as such. And I do have conversations with females sometimes (and guys too, but less often) who say they would love to be in a band, but don’t see how they ever could. They think they need a certain degree of proficiency and there is probably an unspoken feeling that they might be judged harshly by their male counterparts. I tell them if you really want to, just go for it. Have fun and learn an instrument as you go if need be.

For some people it can have a lot to do with environment and maybe not having enough support to feel comfortable getting involved. Do you feel like you had a positive role model that allowed you to start building your own confidence?

It’s really cheesy to say, because he’s my boyfriend, but yeah, Sam Wilkinson. Both the bands I play in we started together. We work together on each other’s songs and we’re always pushing and inspiring each other. All the band members really inspire me though. They are talented but they also have immaculate taste, so they will tell me whether something is good or not. Without them I’d have no perspective and probably very little confidence. 

Photo by Caroline De Dear

Day Ravies are a pretty active touring band and I guess you guys are meeting new bands and new people all the time. Have you ever noticed any difference in people’s attitudes towards meeting you and Caro, as opposed to Matt and Sam?

I think kind of. I don’t want to embarrass Caro or sell her short in any way, but she is undeniably the heartthrob in the band so she does get some people with a flirty agenda. Actually I think Nev gets a few admirers too (it’s the dimples)! They’re both answered for though, just for the record. And Sam will get the most people who want to talk about guitars and pedals, just cos it figures. I don’t really know where I fit in. Maybe I have blinkers on a bit when it comes to sexism. People probably don’t patronise us (Caro and I) to our faces. I do see it in reviews sometimes though, for sure.

Well I’m glad you guys met and formed a band. It’s one of my favourites. What’s the plan for the future? Are you going to play music forever?

The future is hard. Who knows what can happen with it. Bands do end. Personally I would love to play music forever! I find it so bizarre when people ‘quit music’. Like, surely that’s impossible??

Photo by Bryden Williams