The Donnies The Amys are the long-running duo project of singer-keyboardist Donnie Stemp and drummer-producer Amy Aileen Wood. Their nine-year catalog boasts devastatingly pretty songs (some of which you might have heard in TV and film), many confronting devastatingly important topics.
Their new EP, “Wilder Fire,” arriving Friday as the follow-up to their 2020 album “High Fire” (a release we slept on, but it’s never too late to wake up), was inspired by the fear of climate change and assorted feelings of impending doom. Take, for instance, “Black Helicopters,” a warm song about icy paranoia over the choppers that fill L.A.’s skies:
The EP, produced by Wood, mixed by Bryan Cook and including a ghostly cover of “I Think We’re Alone Now,” was written before and during quarantine. So when Buzz Bands LA asked Stemp (playfully, really) to name five things The Donnies The Amys accomplished during the pandemic, he was at the ready:
1. I grew many mustaches. I kept thinking it would be a good time to sport a mustache, then I would inevitably shave it off a few days later when I realized I looked like a creep. Then a few weeks later I would think, maybe it IS cool, maybe I should try it again.
2. Amy won a Grammy (for her work with Fiona Apple on the album “Fetch the Bolt Cutters”), but back to my mustaches …
3. I vacationed in Hawaii at both the start and (what I thought was) the end of the pandemic. Went to Maui on March 15, 2020, knowing that flights may stop and I might get stuck there. It was a risk I was willing to take. Then I went back in June 2021, to mark the end of the pandemic, before I knew Delta was going to be a thing.
4. Amy and I finished this EP. I remember the first track we worked on was labeled “Quarantine Day 1,” because it was literally the first day of quarantine that we started sending mixes and files back and forth from our houses. Then we met up at a house in Palm Springs around the summer of 2020 to track some vocals and get deep into some in-person collaboration.
5. Whiskey, Weed, White Claw.
The duo points out that the spare piano ballad “The Blood” is the linchpin of the EP; it’s a foreboding meditation on the climate crisis that asks, “Why are my dreams about waking up?”
||| Also: Watch the video for “The Blood” and stream “Say”
||| Also: Stream the duo’s 2020 album “High Fire”