Waking Ideas Publishing - Culture & Critics Corner
Written By Danny Nicolas
Justin Daniels is a young singer-songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee. He has a facebook page, a youtube account, a bandcamp page, and is chasing the dream. While he's not going to be winning any awards with current crop of songs produced as they are, the promise of new material, studio recordings, and collaboration sounds like a step in the right direction. Perhaps this is an 'Owl City' type story in progress? You'll be the first to know as we'll be staying in touch with Justin Daniels as he pursues a career many only dream about. In the meantime, below is the interview for your enjoyment and to take a step inside the mind of a young musician.
Waking Ideas: Much of the music on the Car Guitar EP seems to be inspired by personal experience. What is the most unusual experience in your life that has yet to make it into one of your songs?
Justin Daniels: The Car Guitar EP is very much personal. It's all my semi ramblings from high school packaged into the backseat of a car and finally vocalized, flaws and all. Every heartache, hope, dream and fear from ages 16-18 is reflected or symbolized in those songs. As far as most unusual experience goes, that's hard to say. There's a few experiences I can look back on and wonder why I've never written about them, and there's a few I've tried many times to put into music and just failed. As far as most unusual experience? It'd be a tie between all these crazy, life flash before my eyes moment with my best friend, of which there's so many to count, and between the last 4 big days with my ex: 3 am appearances leading into random hotel stayings leading into calling off work and driving 3 hours away for a weekend. I'm sure all my experiences will eventually be vocalized.
Waking Ideas: How do you plan to avoid the Douglas Jenkins Syndrom - where the singer/songwriter runs out of material and are driven to corruption as they lie, chat, steal, and litigate in a vain attempt to hold on to their success?
Justin Daniels: Ah... I think this is largely dependent on two things: For one, I write a LOT, probably too much, about emotions, be it heartache and loss, or happiness and feeling at peace. I will ALWAYS have these experiences. If I am ever complacent completely, and don't experience the highs and lows of those emotions, I will stop writing. At the same time, if I ever hit that awful point, I don't deserve to be writing. Secondly, holding on to success, be it with millions of people or with the 10 people that have seen multiple shows of mine... it's futile to try to hold onto that. They will either be your fans and friends, or they will not. That should have no effect on if you continue to make music; you should make music because you need to make music.
Waking Ideas: What are you futures plans? Do you hope to have a full band performance?
Justin Daniels: My writing, playing, and singing styles have changed and improved drastically since the Car Guitar EP. Some of those songs were written when I was 16. I'm 21 now. For one, I hope to always be improving, but I really hope to spread my music to more people. If just one new person a year hears something I created, and they enjoy it, or even better, it touches them and they relate to it, I feel successful. I'm planning to record a smaller batch of songs and release them in January, if I stay on schedule. As far as a full band performance, I've been looking hard in my area to find another musician(or musicians) to jam with, cowrite with, etc. I'd love to bounce ideas off other people and flesh out some ideas. I met a guy off of TVCY(www.3eb.co.uk) who lives in Louisiana and we're actually doing a Postal Service type project, where he's adding music to a song that I love very much, lyrically. I'm excited to see where that goes, but nothing beats working with likeminded musicians in the same room.
Waking Ideas: Despite the vast heritage on music in Tennessee, success usually follows those that make their way to the big cities - Los Angeles and New York City in particular. Do you plan on moving to capitalize on the networking and energy available in these areas?
Justin Daniels: I don't plan on moving, at the moment. I'm very much set in the Tennessee ways. I would never be opposed to a trip anywhere, be it those cities or a city smaller than Nashville. However, I feel that where I'm at right now is where I'm supposed to be. There's a lot of "fake" energy being thrown about the area lately, with every new band talking about moving here, or a hit TV show using some famous Nashville landmarks. However, I LOVE the way just being in that city makes me feel. There's a reason I wrote the line "And I swear the skyline winked, as if the Music City, knew just what's on my mind". Nashville and Tennessee in general seem to have an air of excitement and wonder about them, while keeping a comforting feeling in my heart.
Waking Ideas: The internet has changed the music industry - the dynamics have completely changed. How do you plan on taking advantage of this?
Justin Daniels: If it weren't for the internet (and a certain ex girlfriend), I never would've had the confidence to record my music, and I never would've found the audience I have. I think that alone shows how I appreciate the dynamic. I rely heavily on the internet, between bandcamp for hosting my music, or Facebook for getting that quick smile from seeing that someone showed an active interest in my music. the more people hear it, the better my chances are of someone connecting to something I've written; the internet was pretty much made for this, in my opinion... Music is meant to be a communication to as many hearts as possible, from one heart to another, and the internet is, at its best, a way to communicate with as many people as possible over as large a distance as you choose. They go hand in hand, and I'm glad to see it more widely accepted nowadays. "Illegal downloading" is a whole other issue, of course, but at the heart of the matter, music & the internet bring out the best in each other.
Waking Ideas: Do you prefer Vinyl or digital?
Justin Daniels: Haha.. As you can tell by my previous answer, I'm a fan of digital music. I love, LOVE the feel of a record. And every album cover looks better as a full 12 inch jacket. But, I'm just not old enough to have much experience with vinyl, and nowadays its so "expensive" and "cool" to have. I don't get behind that, the people that buy vinyl because its vintage. Half the people you see buying records don't even enjoy them, or their taste in music makes you think "Really? The music you like is just too fake to be on a record". Just like recording analog v digital, its what you do AFTER the fact. Recording analog, pressing vinyl, it means squat if you just compress the hell out of it and protools the whole record. I'd say 99% of the music I have experienced has been accompanied by the glow of a computer monitor. some might say it's sad, but there's something about you, the soft glow, and reading the lyrics, or reading people from all over give their opinion and appreciation of the lyrics.
Waking Ideas: What music have you been listening to lately?
Justin Daniels: It's been a pretty wild time lately... looking through my top plays in the last week, I see a lot of The Format, Eve 6, Yellowcard, Robert Ellis, The Dangerous Summer, and a few songs I've had stuck in my head, so I've had the urge to play them: Clumsy by Our Lady Peace, for one. In the car, I've had Third Eye Blind's self titled playing for the first time in what feels like years, but it can't be more than 8 months or so. I wish I could say something totally obscure, or new and unheard of and say everyone needs to check somebody out... I guess what it comes to is that if you haven't given The Dangerous Summer or Robert Ellis a listen, you should. Two amazing acts from two different genres. I listen to the same style of lyrics I write; nostalgia, hope, friendship.
Published on Thursday, December 6th, 2012 at 12:06 am | Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.