Monday, December 31, 2012

Q&A with Daddy Lion

First I want to get into a slightly digressive note and say hopefully everyone enjoyed the holidays and has a great year this 2013. On to the good stuff now! I managed to do a Q&A interview with music artist 'Daddy Lion'. One thing I got from this guy is he seems to truly be into making music because he loves it and not to fit into what is popular or be famous. He's on a small label and doesn't have to be worried about making music to sell, he just makes all around good music to me and I hope you take a listen.

Q: How did you come about the artist name 'Daddy Lion'? What is the story behind it?
A: My wife, then girlfriend, was working at a preschool, and she was telling me about how one of the little two year olds would always sit there, reading a book, and whispering to herself 'baby jaguar'. I thought that was kind of funny and somehow decided I would make that the name of my project.  We thought it was something the preschooler had made up, until we realized that she was reading 'Go, Diego, Go!' books, which I think is a spin off of 'Dora the Explorer', and one of the characters had that name. Well, I thought on the unlikely chance that Nickelodeon ever found out and was upset, I would change it. So after a couple of twists and turns 'baby jaguar' morphed into 'Daddy Lion'.  I found out recently, however, that Daddy Lion is also a character on 'Go, Diego, Go!' Oh well.  

Q: Do you have any aspirations to sign to a major label if you were given the offer? Are you more of the type who prefers the artistic freedom that comes with a small label?
A: I've always had the attitude that I'm doing this for the art, and I want my art to be the way I want it to be no matter what. That being said, I wouldn't be opposed to essentially any record deal that might help me build an audience as long as it wouldn't impinge on what I do, but rather open up new doors. 

Q: What is your favorite song you've done? What process did it take from the song being a thought to it being a final finished product?
A: I'm not sure I can name a favorite song. Getting essentially any of my songs to the final finished product, however, has been a long and arduous process overall. Most of the songs on my two records, Habitat and my self-titled EP, began many years ago when the basic musical structures flowed out in fits of inspiration. For most of the lyrics, however, I had to wait years for something meaningful to come to me. The other factors that made my records a long process was having to learn how to self-produce and grow as an instrumentalist. Early on, I would take very rough stripped down recordings and send them to small labels hoping they would help me turn it into a fully realized project.  Sometimes I'd hear back with things like "these are good - but we don't have a budget to set you up in a studio". I knew I'd have to learn to do it all myself if I wanted to eventually hear my music as I imagined it.  

Q: Who and/or what are your musical inspirations?
A: Primarily, a lot of rock spanning from the 60-90's in terms of songwriting inspiration, if not necessarily my "sound", including Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, Joy Division, Husker Du, Sonic Youth, and Modest Mouse. There are undoubtedly many echoes of the past in my music, but I'm not overtly trying to sound like another decade. 

Q: I like the sound of your music a lot. How would you personally describe the sound of your music?
A: Thanks! While several people have pointed to the "dream-pop" elements of Habitat, my music has also been described as anywhere from "spaghetti western" to "Gothic bedroom pop", to how the soundtrack to The Graduate may have sounded had it been a 90's indie film. Most of the songs on Habitat have two clean electric guitars that give the riffs a bit of a sparkly quality, an acoustic underneath which gives it a "strummy" layer, with textured synths I did on an old yamaha keyboard from Circuit City that gives a bit of retro flavor sometimes veering into New Wave.  

Q: Do you have any plans in mind of doing a national tour? 
A: I would love to do so if I can make it happen, but I have no concrete plans at this time, just loose thoughts. Right now I'm playing solo, so that would make it easier to do a tour.  On the other hand, without a band I cannot currently replicate the sound of my records for a live show. I hope at some point to have a band backing me up for shows and to tour in a way that fits in with my school/ work.  
Q: What has been your biggest setback so far as an artist?
A: Everything that didn't turnout as I planned, and there have been more than a few instances, has also propelled me forward in an important way. I really feel that as long as you are persistent as an artist, as long as you don't give up, there are no setbacks, just different paths that are unexpected at times.  

Q: What are your goals as an artist in the future? What do you really want to accomplish most?
A: I want the songs that play in my head to play for you.

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