|Daniel Davies - Year Long Disaster - Interview Exclusive|
|Written by Tazz Stander|
|Thursday, 20 May 2010 06:00|
Born into rock 'n roll history as the son of Dave Davies of The Kinks, we asked Tazz Stander to sit in a run down park in sunny Islington and find out exactly who Year Long Disaster's enigmatic frontman Daniel Davies really is.
This revealing interview illustrates how drugs over shadowed his life to the point of homelessness, as well as his own rise through the ranks of Rock 'n' Roll and onto our own London stages (that very day playing alongside headliners Karma To Burn). There is a bit of revealing information given to Tazz at one point that excited her no end ... so read on to find out exactly what her excitement was all about, and why is she had been a bloke she would have done a little sex wee!
Daniel thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today. It was with some interest that I realised you took your inspirations for your new record, 'Black Magic: All Mysteries Revealed' further than the likes of Mick Jagger, Pearl Jam and Danzig (all having used Mikhail Bulgakov's novel 'The Master and Margarita'). Talk me through your own inspirations behind this concept album.
All those bands used that book as inspiration?
Mick Jagger used it in his song 'Symphony for the Devil' ...
Yeah, I heard about that.
Pearl Jam used it in 'Pilate' and Danzig used it as inspiration on 'Danzig 3: How God Kills Thee' album cover.
So I guess it's safe to say that Year Long Disaster has taken it a lot further.
I guess. Well, in the book it talks about a bunch of stuff but one of the things is when the Devil comes to Moscow and he does things that may be seen as evil or devious but really it is just to reaffirm the belief in the human spirit that has been lost - intellectuals and what not. There is also the ideas of good and evil, spiritual and material - all these different categories that have been made for us, to define us, to help guide us and that is getting lost. These categories become definite but they shouldn't be. I think that's what it's talking about, that's what I got out of it.
Is that where you drew all your inspiration from?
Not all of it but some of it. When they have the magic show, the gullibility and the greed of all the people is revealed that the trick has actually been on them and they're laughing. I like that idea and the idea at the end that they're granted peace but not salvation. There is a lot of stuff going on in that book. I didn't really get into the political side of it because I don't really know much about politics.
There is a line in your song, 'Show me your Teeth' that makes me think of the evil side in the book - it gets me hard every time ... "show me your teeth ...."
"Show me your teeth, collar your neck" (laughs)
I was quite intrigued that so many other musicians had been inspired but somehow you guys just took it that one step further into more of a concept album.
We used certain elements of the book too but maybe it seems more in the forefront with ours. I think the idea when they perform this magic is like a form of rebellion, like rock 'n' roll is a form of rebellion, which seems slightly lost in music today.
What was the most exciting song to write for this album and why?
I like 'Cyclone' because it almost didn't make it onto the album. It wasn't really working and then we gave it another shot and it worked and it turns out it's a lot of peoples favourite song on the album. 'Stranger in my Room' is another song that I really like which has got more of a Southern Rock feel.
I must say that I was expecting to hear more of a Zeppelin sounding album as that is who your first album reminded me of but I was completely blown away with the Alice in Chains elements in this album until I had a look at who produced it for you (that being Foo Fighters and Alice In Chains producer Nick Raskulinecz).
We work really well with him.
Would you use him again?
Oh yeah, definitely.
The arrangements, as usual, are an integral part of the personality of the song. How much time do you spend arranging a song opposed to writing the melody and lyrics?
It's very much an equal part. The arrangement has to be good. Usually a song starts with a riff and then we go from there by getting a general framework for a song. Most of the structures were done before hand but when we were working with Nick he has some really good ideas about structure which is exactly what we wanted from him. I guess they're both equally as important as each other. You have to have strong lyrics and melodies - it all has to be equal.
It's never been a secret that Year Long Disaster was born during a drug fest so to speak, but do you think that drugs, partying and drinking helps creativity or hinders it?
I think at first it's good ...
Definitely but if you go too far with it, it starts getting in the way of everything in life.
Selling each others guitars and the likes?
(Laughing) Selling your records, guitars, everything.
(Laughing) Pawning everything.
Yeah. At first it's good but if you go too far, I don't think it is. I think some people can maintain it.
(Laughing) A healthy balance?
(Laughing) Is that a healthy balance? I couldn't maintain a healthy balance so I gave up on my health
(Laughs) Oh yeah?
Interestingly enough, tonight you're supporting "Karma to Burn". Rich (Mullins) is obviously in both bands so from that stand point, it's a good option on tour but how do you things work out for both bands as you're both touring brand new albums?
So far it seems to be going well. I sing the single on their new record so it's cool really. The bands are starting to kind of merge together. We wrote that song together and we liked it so we're thinking that maybe we should write some more songs together. I think that is where it's leading to now.
You've toured with the likes of Motorhead, The Cult and The Foo Fighters. What would your ultimate tour be and who would the line up consist of?
I think it would be cool to play with ... I don't know, with bands that are alive? (Laughs) I would like to watch AC/DC every night, they would be a good band to tour with just so I could watch them.
Do you feel the press has a certain degree of responsibility in terms of what they should print because the rock subculture is a lot to do with excess in alcohol and drugs?
I don't know. It's something that is there so maybe the press find it interesting to talk about it. I don't see it being more than anything else but its always going to be a part of rock. The journalists didn't create it but maybe it sells papers.
Unfortunately I couldn't get through a whole interview without a mention of your Dad or your rock 'n roll history. Although I think it's all been covered before so to change tactics very slightly, tell me a fond memory of being on tour as a small boy and how in comparison it is to now.
When you're really little, you don't really know what's going on. Most of it was fun, being on a bus or on a plane ... it's funny seeing pictures in the family album and in each picture, I'm in a different country or city or in a plane, hotel or back stage - those were all my baby pictures. There are some fond memories and maybe some of the crazy stuff I would rather keep to myself, but it makes it hard to relate to people that don't have that lifestyle, or even just the travelling lifestyle, which I just became used to and was very comfortable doing it. When you're a kid it's difficult because other kids are at school and they're all becoming friends over time and you show up every few months, get your work and you leave again. You don't really get time to have bonds with people.
You bonded with one of the coolest bands in the world though.
Yeah and I always seem to bond more with adults now. When I was a kid, they got their second wind and were really popular again. (Laughing) That element is different because we aren't on that level. It just feels like a natural place to be though, on the road.
Could you cite you're Dad's band as one of your musical inspirations?
Yeah, they have a lot of great songs. I like their music so it's definitely an influence although we don't sound anything like them. I think some people expect us to sound like them but we don't. When a certain group of people get together, you don't think about what it should sound like, it just sounds like it does.
Finally, what happens next in the Year Long Disaster camp?
We're going to finish off this Year Long Disaster / Karma to Burn tour in the States and then Year Long Disaster is back in the UK in June to play Download and then its back home again for a bit. Since the bands are merging, were back and forth but after all the touring, we will be writing some songs ...
(Laughing) Look at my excitement.
(Laughing) Our record just came out and you already want more
Come on already (Laughing)
Thank you so much Daniel for talking with me and Uber Rock
Cool, thank you.
If you want to know more about Daniel Davies and Year Long Disaster then why not check out his band's music on their Myspace, or better still get out and buy 'Black Magic: All Mysteries Revealed' it's a cracking album full of musical twists and turns. We at URHQ are now looking forward to Download 2010 where we finally get to see the band live. Roll on June 11th.
Photo Kudos to http://www.cristinamphotography.tk/