this is part I in a four part series. visit hillkid.com tomorrow 2/27 for part II.
In a bizarre twist of fate, last week I was given the opportunity to interview Peter Dante, the supreme reigning cool dude from some of my all-time favorite movies (grandma’s boy & Happy Madison Productions) and the other half of Vana Liya’s new song “Give Love, Get Love”.
the two make a seemingly unlikely pair, that is, until you actually talk to them both at the same time and realize they are basically just BFF’s in the seventh grade: constant roasting, tons of inside jokes and non-stop laughter. Plus, their bouncy, kid-friendly bop features wholesome lyrics and a sweet, playful melody that is just plain adorable.
[Vana and I chatting before Dante joined]
AA: I LOVE the song [their new song “Give Love, Get Love”]. I didn’t know he could sing
VL: I’m stoked for it because I feel like it’s going to be the first track people are going to take him seriously, you know?
AA: Yeah, for sure. Your voices are just so opposite and sound cute together
VL: Thank you. It kinda reminds me of a sing-along song
AA: Oh my gosh, I was literally going to say, “This is going to be popular with everyone’s kids!”
VL: Hell yeah! That’s what we wanted
AA: Fuck yes that is so funny you thought that too. Like a five year old could listen to it and your grandma could also listen to it
VL: Dude that’s so awesome because when we first got together one of the things we talked about was life through our own perspectives and making song that would work for him because he’s 50, but also apply to me because I’m 25. That was our goal and I’m so stoked you said that
AA: It’s really fucking cute, I’m proud of you. Good job.
VL: Awww. Thank you. Should I add him in now?
AA: Yeah, yeah
VL: Alright, do we have everybody?
AA: Hello [me, so desperately trying to be cool and not completely awkward, yet failing miserably]
PD: Hi Allie, how are you? Where are you based out of right now?
AA: I’m really good. I’m in Santa Barbara, where are you?
PD: LA, I’m up in Carp now though―with a bunch of animals. One of my cows is dying, you guys! I’m so sad
VL: You have a cow!?
PD: Yeah dude. My ex-wife and I rescued him―That’s why I’m in another room because I have eight dogs and four of them would have been barking the entire interview. I’ll let that happen on a radio interview, but not on something like this.
[all laugh together because we are hilarious and now best friends]
Yeah, Cynthia is insane about animals and―one of my chihuahuas is scratching at the door to get in here―she literally has like 50 or 60 different kinds of animals. We have goats, pigs, chickens, mules, burros, horses, miniature horses, cows...
VL: Don’t run out of breath there, bud
PD: ...Pot bellied pigs. Of course I’m going to run out of breath
[continue to rapidly banter for fifteen minutes about children (he has two sons, 17 & 21), parenting tips (set the bar low and don’t stress so much), mutuals (Hi Marley & Braelyn), Yelping restaurant menus for Vana while she’s on the road (#chickenwings) and finally, my favorite bit where he recounts the time he saw Yesod Williams in Kona which involved, and I quote, “fifty bong rips” and ended with him and Vana becoming a duo]
AA: So yeah, Vana, are you comfortable on this tour? How are the guys you’re with?
[backstory: Vana & Kash’d Out stayed with me while they passed through Santa Barbara and they interacted like a happy little family, so I was asking about the new tour dynamics as opposed to the last with KO]
VL: I can’t really say right now, but everything so far, so good.
AA: Alright, alright.
PD: By the way, that’s a California king bed in the van you’re you’re rolling in right now
VL: You have no idea, I have space for days! ...
It’s definitely different ... but I’m having a lot of fun. We went to Vegas for the first time yesterday and the guys taught me how to play blackjack. I turned twenty dollars into a hundred
AA: Look at you
PD: So, Allie, being in an opposite business, movies, where you go to the same set everyday and have to tolerate the same people, it’s cool she’s already going out with so many different groups of humans because you will find out your vibe really fast on the road doing music.
AA: You see people’s true colors when you spend that much time with them
VL: Especially because you’re put in these different high-pressure situations
PD: Well how’s this guys, don’t listen to their fucking words, look into their eyes. Feel me? If their eyes aren’t telltale in the beginning there will be a point where there’s pressure on them... where they have betrayed you and their eyes will tell you. Then you realize and you’re like, “Goddamn it”. And I’m not saying I don’t forgive and forget with the best of them, because I always do, but when you’re creating―I can’t accept being anything but the best and a little bit different.
AA: That’s been pretty apparent in everything you’ve done, I feel like.
[more back and forth where I thoroughly embarrass myself with a cringeworthy comparison to Tommy Chong (I’M NERVOUS OK LEAVE ME ALONE)―I’ll spare you all the secondhand uncomfort bound to follow with that passage inclusion―and a family-friendly cannabis music festival (eyeball emoji)]
AA: But yeah this song is just very universally appealing. It’s like family-friendly music.
PD: Thank you babe, that’s a huge compliment because when I reached out to her it was also because we both went to school in Long Island and I’m like, “Wow, she went to Stonybrook, I went to Hofstra...”―those are two small schools nobody really knows about and we got that vibe right away. We immediately knew if we did something we were going to make it really good or we weren’t doing anything.