Michael Green Interviews... Danny Young
Originally posted on March 28th 2019 here is a Q & A with singer-songwriter Danny Young. He talked about his experiences in music.
Where did it all start for you getting into music?
My earliest memory of wanting to play music was looking through the Argos catalogue when I was 10 and obssessing over the guitars. I didn't really listen to music at the time but I had the image of a lead guitarist engrained in my head - long hair, tattoos, low strung Les Paul (basically Slash) - and I thought that was the coolest thing in the World. Around the same time my older brother Matt had friends who needed a Bassist for their band so our parents were kind enough to buy us our first instruments at Christmas and neither of us have looked back since. Who are your influences? Recently I'm really getting into Thee Oh Sees, particularly for the main man John Dwyer's prolific output and DIY approach to releasing music. Jack White is another influence on me for the same reasons. Other Artists I always come back to listening to are Father John Misty, King Krule and Mac Demarco. I admire anything or anyone that has a big personality attached. With songwriting where do you tend to get your inspiration from e.g how do you start your songs & what's your process? For me, the most enjoyable songs to write start when I'm walking down the street or doing some menial task and my mind wanders. Other times I'll be fooling around with a drum machine, chords or a solo and something will standout to me. It feels very organic; I think everyone has a natural rhythm inside of them and everybody's rhythm is unique. I find that those glimpses of it reaching the surface are the most exciting and give me a rush to catch that lightning in a bottle. My biggest struggle is actively trying to write lyrics to fit music. The songs that stick around all come together at the same time. Lately I've been recording instrumentation then putting a microphone infront of my mouth and seeing what words come out. I'll record a few takes and something will start to form. At the time I have little idea where it's coming from, what it's based on or what it means but listening back I develop an idea. It's insightful, honest and therapeutic for myself because at the end of all the songs and recordings it's just me satisfying the urge inside to get 'something' out. It's an absolute bonus when other people to take the time to listen.
How important is it do you feel it is to listen to current music as well as music from the past?
I feel it's important as an Artist to keep your finger on the pulse of current music, even if it's not what you're particularly keen on. Since music has become so widely accessible there's a lot of good stuff getting out and a lot of not so good stuff. Both sides inspire me; whether it's 'Man, this song is great! I wish I wrote this song!' or 'Man, this song sucks! I could write a better song!'. Even if a song has 2 seconds of music that makes you turn your head, that's inspiring. The whole songs doesn't need to be subjectively great for you to be able to appreciate it. Being familiar with the roots of music is beneficial too. It helps you deconstruct where current music is developing it's ideas from and what trends are coming back in to popularity.
Do you feel it is important to watch other acts perform and to watch other live music?
Absolutely. When I play a gig now I still think 'Wow, I get to watch 2 or 3 bands for free!'. So many bands falter from not having a live fan base to keep them going which is a huge shame. I've heard more musicians, promoters and fans talking recently about how important it is to stick around and watch all the bands on a bill and I agree. It's great to see people talking about that community vibe, even if it is talk on social media; people are aware of it at least. If you watch 2 songs and are completely sold that something is not for you that's cool, you gave it a shot and found out for yourself. Music originated as a live experience and I think it's unfair to form your judgement of a band on recordings alone.
Finally what tips do you have for anyone starting out when it comes to songwriting & performing?
Sometimes you need to write ten bad songs to write one great song. Inspiration is a fire that needs to be fuelled so don't become disheartened or give up. Do what you want to do and stay true to yourself; whether it's being yourself 100% or jumping on the latest trend, wherever your passion lies just do it well and have fun doing it. Performing should be as enjoyable as recording and releasing music. I've taken a few month long breaks from playing live because my heart wasn't in it, mainly because I wasn't getting the reaction I wanted from audiences. Not every audience will be 'your' audience and even if they are they may not shout and dance and clap; it's 2019! The World is ping ponging between amazing and devastating. The tough crowds are the one's the really shape you, the one's that make you really work for it. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose but writing a set of songs and getting up on stage to begin with deserves a round of applause.
To find out more about Danny go to https://punkowskirecords.bandcamp.com
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