A Homecoming Worthy of Attention: Tunnel’s Natasha Janfaza Returns to the District
July 14, 2022 @ 11:00am
Like with most cities, the people in D.C. are by no means static and are always on the move toward greatness.
Whether it’s a newcomer getting a job here in the DMV or a long-time resident heading away for passions in parts unknown, people willing to call Washington home never stay still and can push forth their stories in any climate.
And in the case of Tunnel’s Natasha Janfaza, a new EP is the driving force behind her return to the District.
Growing up in the iconic glow of Los Angeles, Janfaza (the mastermind behind indie/shoegaze project Tunnel) first came to the District as a Georgetown student training in the classical world of music. All while embracing the DIY authenticity of the D.C. punk scene.
“I needed the praxis of a live setting to understand my role in music and the community around me,” Janfaza says. “It was important to take what I learned in class and put it into a live and interactive communal practice.”
Despite solidifying this project in her Californian hometown, Tunnel’s highly-anticipated EP “Vanilla” is a passion project that has firm roots in D.C. punk that Janfaza was educated in.
Along with an imminent July 15 release on D.C. label House of Joy and a same-day performance at Comet Ping Pong, Tunnel’s debut also features drums from Brendan Canty, a tried-and-true D.C. punk member of District legends Fugazi and an extremely forthcoming collaborator according to Janfaza.
“Most of the work [on “Vanilla”] was done remotely and embraced this copy and paste method,” Janfaza informs. “We can’t wait to play this live for the first time.”
From a first listen, “Vanilla” is clearly an EP that displays a phenomenal mix of talent, dedication and robust intentionality.
Nothing feels out-of-pace. Rather, you can hear the effort Janfaza takes to make a critically-acclaimed debut.
Embracing a sound that conflates shoegaze tropes with modern alternative philosophy, Tunnel’s most prevalent voice in “Vanilla” is the stance it takes against white hegemony and the silencing of queer BIPOC.
“This is a journey about the naive notion that aligning yourself with whiteness is a safety net,” Janfaza declares. “The more you repress something, the bigger this monster grows.”
Aside from being an obvious dynamo in her craft, Janfaza also comes through as someone who embraces humor in her work, poking fun at the resurged shoegaze sound and how Pharrel Williams’ “Happy” would sound amazing with gloomy, ethereal instrumentals.
Despite California having a large stake in what “Vanilla” has become, the prominent D.C. influence in this debut makes for an EP that knows where it is and a talented creator who knows who she is.
“Vanilla” releases on July 15. Tunnel takes the stage the same day at Comet Ping Pong at 10 p.m. Get tickets here.
Comet Ping Pong: 5037 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; cometpingpong.com // @cometpingpong
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