Dante Elephante
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Dante Elephante

Santa Barbara, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | INDIE

Santa Barbara, California, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Rock Indie


This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Dante Elephante @ Echoplex

Los Angeles, California, United States

Los Angeles, California, United States

Dante Elephante @ Lot 1 Cafe

Los Angeles, California, United States

Los Angeles, California, United States

Dante Elephante @ Velvet Jones

Santa Barbara, California, United States

Santa Barbara, California, United States

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



"Dante Elephante premiere new song “Never Trust A Junkie” produced by Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado — listen"

Dante Elephante are about as Californian as they come. The indie rockers met while attending University Of California, Santa Barbera, playing at local battle of the bands competition and college sponsored events. They then proceeded to record their full-length debut, German Aquatics, all across the Golden State, traveling between Los Angeles and Lompoc.

For album No. 2, they continue to pull from their local roots. Anglo Saxon Summer features the production help of Cali native Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado and sees Dante Elephante exploring the bleaker aspects of the vibrant scene from which they emerged. As a preview, the band’s let loose a new song called “Never Trust A Junkie”.

“The title ‘Never Trust A Junkie’ sums up late 2008 and 2009 for me,” songwriter Ruben Zarate tells Consequence Of Sound. “Most of the ‘musician’ friends I was hanging out with at the time were junkies and put me in dangerous situations. I was driving past a gas station one night, early 2012, where some shady shit went down a few years prior and thought to myself ‘Damn, never trust a junkie’ then I wrote down that title and saved it. Wrote the song not too long after that.”

On the cut, the griminess of gas station junkies is offset by the group’s summery and vibrant surf rock aesthetic. Zarate’s vocal melodies capture that same Californian garage bliss that Rivers Cuomo tapped into for Weezer’s own debut. The bright lead guitar lines and snappy drums give a hopeful contrast to the downer lyrics. It’s about learning tough lessons and realizing, as Zarate sings, “you may be older but you just ain’t that bright.” - Consequence of Sound

"California garage poppers Dante Elephante releasing LP produced by Foxygen's Jonathan Rado, share new video"

Originally hailing the placid wine country land that is Santa Barbara, CA, guitar pop quartet Dante Elephante seem more of a beer kind of band, banging out surfy jams with big wave hooks. Their new album is Anglo Saxon Summer, which was produced by Foxygen's Jonathan Rado and will be out October 2 via Lolipop. The first single is the fun, breezy "Never Trust a Junkie," and the equally fun video for that makes it premiere here. Who will win the band watermelon eating contest in it? Watch below. - BrooklynVegan

"Artist of the Day: Dante Elephante Heat Up With 'Anglo-Saxon Summer'"

When it comes to the music of Dante Elephante, the riffs and rhythms come just as steady as waves. Forming near the shores of Santa Barbara, the SoCal quintet makes the kind of guitar-centric indie pop that could easily soundtrack a surf film or come blasting out of a sweltering all ages punk club at the height of a careless summer. After coming together via a Craigslist ad, the band has extended along the coastline with members spread between San Francisco and Los Angeles at the time being. With Jonathan Rado of Foxygen at the helm of their recently released album, Anglo-Saxon Summer, the band has expanded their sound. We talk to frontman Ruben Zarate about what it was like to grow up in the OC, connecting with Rado, the pleasure of listening to music during long drives and the power of Seinfield.

Hometown: Goleta, CA

Homebase: San Francisco, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles

How did you come up with your name?

Our band name came from the ex-girlfriend of our original bass player, Cheyenne Huerta. Cheyenne is an illustrator in Santa Barbara. He’s created some art for Dante Elephante in the past and we were in bands together since high school.

How did you come to work with Jonathan Rado? What did you bond over?

We recorded two demos with Shane McKillop of Gardens & Villa. Rado heard those demos and was interested in making a full length album with us. Rado was cleaning his room when I first walked in, so I kinda helped him move some stuff to prep for the recording. We got on the conversation of touring and I mentioned that Harry Nilsson never toured. He and I connected with that immediately. I showed up two days before the recording process started and we just hung out. Waited for everyone else to show up. We talked about show tunes, went to Amoeba Records, and ate at the same three restaurants every day. Killer timez.

How did you settle on your album title?

Anglo-Saxon Summer comes from my 17-year-old brain learning about Anglo-Saxons and their poetry. It’s based on a poem 'Summer, Sun-Brightest': An Anglo-Saxon Summer. I used to bring my guitar to school and Mr. Ricci, my English teacher, would let me play guitar in class. He was the only teacher who let me do that.

What's your favorite way/place to listen to music?

My favorite way to listen to music is in a car, driving aimlessly or on a long trip. While mixing the record, I based the mixes off how they sounded in a car. Santa Barbara/Goleta closes around 9pm. So if you drive late enough, then NO ONE will be on the road. My father used to take us “cruising” up and down the main strip when I was kid. Maybe that’s where it comes from?

Outside of playing your respective instruments, what role do you all play in the band personality and skill-wise?

Dante Elephante is like a small business. I run the social media, emails, songwriting, booking, arrangements, working with management and labels and all that fun stuff.

Kevin Boutin: Sensual shredder

Elijah Blackwell: Sentimental viber

Tommy Devoy: Ultimate chiller

Chris Lopez: The strong and silent type

Since they're so rarely said, what are some of the benefits to living in the suburbs?

I think it’s rarely said because there aren’t a lot of positives and if there are, it looks like you’re gloating. “It’s really quiet, low crime rates, etc.” It just sounds weird. There are a lot of love/hates. I love the small community but I also hate it because everyone knows each other’s business. People ask “how’s the band doing” only because they are waiting for you to stop talking so they can tell you what their band is doing. For a small town it’s pretty competitive.

While some of your songs may be about nothing, what are some of the topics you've tackled?

I mainly write about my life—relationships, be that with a friends, family, work, or a significant others. A blend between cryptic and obvious. John Lennon in the documentary Imagine (which follows him while working on that record) finds out that there is a man sleeping in his garden. John confronts the man who is going through a serious trip and thinks The Beatles’s songs are somehow connected to him. John Lennon’s quote spoke to me when I was a kid watching this. “I’m thinking about me, or at best Yoko if it’s a love song. But that’s it, I’m basically singing about me. I’m saying, 'you know, I had a good shit today, and this is what I thought this morning.'” He finishes the quote by saying “I’m singing about me and my life and if it’s relevant for other people’s lives, that’s alright.” That shaped the way I approached everything.

You're able to write songs about nothing and were just at Tom's Restaurant. What is it that you love about Seinfield? What's your favorite episode?

I own every season on DVD! My dad and I used to watch Seinfeld reruns every day when I was a kid. My dad didn’t like Jerry, he only liked Kramer. My favorite character was George. I hate to over-intellectualize a sitcom, but they never had rules and always went against the grain while still remaining widely popular. My favorite episode would probably be “The Chinese Restaurant” or “The Van Buren Boys.”

If you could soundtrack any film, what would it be and why?

Something '90s like Singles or this movie called BandWagon. BandWagon (if you haven’t seen it) is That Thing You Do but in the '90s. I would have loved to have done the soundtrack for that movie. I’d also be super into picking songs for movies. One gnarly mixtape.

What's one of the craziest or strangest Craigslist posts you've seen?

All you have to do is click “gigs” on Craigslist and there you will find a treasure trove of every odd job a model or actor/actress can take. Usually involve the words “no pay” and “comfortable with nudity.”

What are your goals as a band?

1. Make quality records 2. Play shows 3. Pay Rent 4. Quit jobs - Myspace

"PREMIERE: Stream Dante Elephante's 'Anglo Saxon Summer' in Its Entirety"

Summer may be a thing of the past, but that shouldn't effect both your longing for it or the music you listen to. Blending lo-fi psychedelic rock with indie pop, Santa Barbara's Dante Elephante channels the likes of the Beach Boys, Orange Juice and Alex Chilton. Stream their entire new album — Anglo Saxon Summer — exclusively here today. Produced by Jonathan Rado of Foxygen, the band should be on your radar, if they aren't already. - PureVolume

"Catching Up with Dante Elephante"

It’s no small feat to conquer the Santa Barbara music scene, but when a band busts through the bubble and into the wider music world, we call it victory with a capital “V.” This year, S.B. rockers Dante Elephante came out swinging as our ones to watch, and over the course of the past eight months, they’ve exceeded everyone’s expectations. From linking up with L.A. indie label Lolipop Records to heading into the studio with Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado to throwing the doors wide open on their sunny surf-pop sound, the guys have been scoring major points — and winning some major fans along the way.

This Friday, August 22, Dante makes its triumphant return to Santa Barbara with a headlining show at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club. Below, Ruben Zarate shares some snapshots and thoughts from the band’s whirlwind 2014 (so far). - Santa Barbara Independent


"German Aquatics" EP - April 2012

"Anglo-Saxon Summer" - Oct. 2nd, 2015



A music writer once criticized Santa Barbara while taking a stab at another band from the city by saying, “since it’s near wine country rather than Orange County, it lacks the stifling suburbia that can generate great punk music as a response.” Generalization or not, this statement rang true for Ruben Zarate, singer and songwriter of Dante Elephante, spending his formative years surrounded by peers whose tastes didn’t deviate much from the local college party bands and Cali-reggae that has long defined the musical landscape of the town.  Add to that the fact that Zarate is actually from the far less know neighboring town of Goleta, the proverbial “other side of the tracks” defined by a hazy boarder of diminished opulence.  Goleta certainly lacks the affluence referenced in the aforementioned critique, and is best exemplified by the Blue Skies trailer park, who’s sign is memorialized on the cover of the Atari’s“Blue Skies, Broken Hearts” record."

Goleta is small town through and through. Goleta is the kind of place where in one year of high school Zarate got pulled over 16 times driving his dad’s Suburban (no pun intended) home at night after work simply because it had tinted windows and after-market rims.  Despite its lack of diversity and cultural stimulation, Zarate managed to avoid complacency and kept from having his musical tastes dictated by the scene around him. Instead, he dove deep into dusty old record collections, discovering and falling in love with the work of classic songwriters like Brian Wilson, Harry Nilsson, John Lennon, and Alex Chilton, and the post-punk weirdness of Orange Juice, The Pastels, The Pixies.

By the time Zarate established Dante Elephante as a full blown project in 2010 he had already done his time and paid his dues toiling in less than ideal musical projects playing the unfulfilling party music circuit in Isla Vista, home of one of the top party schools in the country.  Inspired to play and write music from an early age by his grandmother, a multi-instrumentalist, and his grandfather, a self proclaimed poet, as well as his many musician cousins, Zarate was left feeling unfulfilled. However, a shot-in-the-dark Craigslist post yielded responses from UCSB students Kevin Boutin, Tommy Devoy, and Chris Lopez, all who proved to be unlikely-yet-true musical co-conspirators for Zarate.  With the newly formed Dante Elephante, Zarate was finally able to explore his musical interests and shine as a timeless songwriter in the vein of his influences.

In spite of the aforementioned journalist’s assessment of the disconnect between Santa Barbara and Orange County, Zarate and company found a home and kinship with the LA based, Orange County transplants runningLolipop Records, and released the surf tinged “German Aquatics” cassette EP with them in 2013.  Soon after, they took a new batch of songs into the home studio of producer Jonathan Rado (one half of Foxygen), who stripped away a bit of the surf sound and helped Zarate tap deeper into his longtime influences, a task made fairly easy due to the overlap of many of Rado’s own musical heroes.  The resulting LP,Anglo-Saxon Summer, is Dante Elephante at it’s most fun, most exacting and most sincere — punk at heart, but with a timeless, organic sound, accentuated by Rado’s key work. At its heart, as will always be, is Zarate’s own songwriting fingerprint. His suburban upbringing has forever wormed it’s way into the core of his art, where it serves as the catalyst and context for many of Zarate’s themes. His ability to craft an anthem based on the mundane day to day, turning the trivial into the substantial, essentially making a song about nothing (in the Seinfeld-ian sense) puts Zarate’s songwriting in the category of some of those other great poets of suburbia, Jonathan Richman, Stephen Malkamus, and Rivers Cuomo; its essence being the trials and tribulations of a small town existence, universal and workaday, yet cinematic and poetic.