Jake Hanner met the future lead singer of his band a few hours after she was born. He was disappointed she was a girl and cried. Eighteen years later, Jake got over it, and he and sister Casey decided to start a band. “We didn’t grow up listening to a lot of the same music,” explains Casey, “but when we started writing together, we realized that we approached creating music in the same way.” The brother sister duo also quickly realized that their shared upbringing could translate to solid pop tunes.
Casey sings and plays an old black and white Silvertone guitar while Jake H plays drums, triggers samples from his octapad, and sings backup. Bassist Jake Churton, the studied musician of the group, entered the picture when brother and sister decided to complete their live band. “One day the guy we hired to play keyboard couldn’t make it to practice,” remembers Jake H, “So Jake C started playing the lead keyboard lick with his bass. Casey and I just looked at each other and both knew we had found our third member.” After shooting down Casey’s idea to name the band “Casey and the Jakes,” they became Donora.
The recording process has always been a family affair for Donora, with Churton an honorary member. The Hanners were raised in a musical household, living over the recording studio their father runs. It was their father who suggested the duo even play together in the first place. Casey’s bedroom was directly above the studio’s control room, and she attributes her ability to sleep through anything to this fact. Jake grew up watching his father in the studio and happened to pick up a thing or two. He recently built his own studio where he engineers and produces the band’s albums. “I wanted a place where we could come together as a band and just create, “ Jake H explains of the band’s new recording home.
Donora’s third full-length release on Rostrum Records is titled Ha Ha Heart. As the band puts it, this album is about letting go of everything that is holding you back; it’s about celebrating who you are. Casey explains, “We wanted to be as honest as we could be with this album. From the creative process, to the music itself, to the artwork… This is us.”