Interview With Daniel Anderson
by: Theresa Yarbrough
-August 31, 2006-
Daniel Anderson is a 22 year old guitarist/songwriter from Raleigh, North Carolina. I've known Daniel for a few years and have watched him grow as a musician in many different directions. You may as well know, this didn't start out as an official interview since it was actually just Daniel and I in a conversation but the flow was going so good and the convo just seemed to take on a spirit of its own so much that we decided to spin it into an interview.
I had a lot of fun with it, Daniel's quite witty and funny. Producers and engineers take note, this kid would be an asset to anyone in the studio. The rest of you....just hang on for the ride because I expect you'll be hearing a lot from Daniel in the not-so-far-away future. Daniel at Myspace
Ty: Hi Daniel, thanks for all the mp3's of new songs you've been creating. I have to say that I was very pleased to see you creating something besides blues.
Daniel: Thanks! I'm just trying to expand a little bit...see if I can do other stuff besides blues or jazz or whatever but jazz is closely related to blues, it transitions and crosses over well.
I listen to many different genres of music and don't let myself fall into one little box or one little niche then have nothing else to offer. That seems to be a problem facing many new artists today. They get to a certain point then have nowhere else to go.
Ty: Have you been hiding your penchant for jazz or is it a new influence for you?
Daniel: I've had an interest in jazz for awhile actually, but most people can't disassociate slide guitar from anything other than southern rock and blues so it's hard to "get it out there" so to speak.
Ty: What you said about limiting your scope of music is true and could quite possibly make the difference in a working songwriter/musician and an unemployed one. Do you just enjoy writing and
playing or is your goal more far-reaching?
Daniel: Both. I really enjoy writing and playing and using everything I learn as a stepping stone to help me achieve the musical goals I have set.
Did you know that Alan Thicke, of Growing Pains fame, wrote and sang the theme song to Diff'rent Strokes? Yep he sure did. He also wrote the theme song to Wheel Of Fortune.
Ty: Whoa....where did that come from? (surprised laugh)
Daniel : Just thinking that he's getting some hellacious royalties (laughs)
Ty: Well Alan Thicke is the man then. Your mention of royalties brings a question to mind, have you considered releasing your own album sometime in the near future?
Daniel: Certainly. I'd love to do that in the near future. Just have to wait until the timing is right and the stars are aligned or whatever else.
Ty: Piecing together what you've said so far I get the feeling that you've spent a lot of time in preparing yourself for those goals. What would you say is the single most important preparation to acheiving your goal as a musician?
Daniel: I believe that the most important thing you have to do to prepare is to realize that you need to be able to take criticism, good and bad, learn from it, and use it to refine what you're trying to do. If you can't do that, you'll find yourself running around in circles constantly because you'll just be doing the same thing over and over and never learning anything to better yourself.
Ty: That makes you a producers dream ya know? (laughs) Have you had your share of critique and criticism?
Daniel: Definitely! I'd have to say it's been good for the most part though. I've been privileged to have had some pretty supportive people surrounding me. Then again, once you get on stage or up in front of people, you pretty much can tell right away if you're hittin' it or not.
The general population are probably the toughest critics to please. People have short attention spans so you've either got to hit it, or just move on. Everyone is gonna have to take the "move on" approach every once in awhile, so you can't allow it to get you down.
Ty: It is true that every artist has an off-night but how do you distinguish whether it's an off-night or your audience is just not getting it?
Daniel: Hearing a lot of chattering amongst themselves out there is usually a good way to distinguish it. (laughing) You know you've got to step it up a notch then. That goes back to me talking about short attention spans. If you don't catch them soon enough, they'll find other things to do.
Ty: How does performing fit into those goals that you mentioned earlier?
Daniel: Performing is a huge part for many reasons. First and foremost, it's instant feedback. Like I said, you'll know if you're on it or not. It's also a quick way of reaching out to multiple people. It's really an intimacy thing as well. It's about creating a vibe for people to relate to emotionally, spiritually, about creating musical extentions.
The real issue at hand though is finding people that have the desire to feel those feelings. Real music fans.
Ty:That's pretty intense, it's like you're saying that when the audience is getting it that they're an extension of the band or at least of the band's performance.
Daniel: That's exactly what it is.
Ty: What's it like for you when you're in your groove and your performance is right on?
Daniel: Well, to be politically correct, it "creates a euphoirc state". I think you know what I mean.. (gives a knowing smile)
Ty: haha, I could ask you to explain that but if my readers don't get it ...well...far be it from me to attempt an explanation.
Daniel: yeah i know
Ty: You chose guitar as your main instrument, any particular reason why?
Danie: When I was little I was always into music. I had the little Mickey Mouse drum set and all of that. My first love was really drums. This was when I was really really young. I wanted a guitar too. Hell I wanted every instrument ever made.
Then when I was 11 I had the opportunity to get a real guitar so I went ahead and got it.
Ty: How did you learn to play guitar?
Daniel: My mom and I met and became friends with a man named Kelley King. Really great player that pretty much just taught me a few basic things, showed me a couple of songs and I took it from there.
Shortly afterward I was sitting in with his band occasionally. He was probably my biggest inspiration early on honestly.
Ty: What age was that?
Danie: Eleven, twelve, around there. It was around that age that I began to listen to more guitar oriented music.
Ty: Who did you grow up listening to on the radio?
Daniel: Usually during the day I'd just listen to whatever my mom had on the radio while I was playing with my GI Joes or Matchbox cars and that was usually country or gospel. Nothing on Earth was cooler than my Sgt. Slaughter action figure kicking some ass with praise music blasting in the background. Every kid hits a phase where they start thinking for themselves on a musical level though as opposed to just listening to what their parents had around and when that happened I listened to the local rock stations.
Ty: Was there a defining moment when you knew you were going to pursue music with a goal?
Daniel: As cheesey as it sounds, since I was little, banging Mickey Mouse's face in, I knew it was what I wanted to do. So no, there wasn't really a particular moment where I said "Ok let's do this."
Ty: So getting to the place you are now, musicially, was just something that evolved over the years from a love of music?
Daniel: Pretty much. It starts with finding something, then discovering where it evolved from, then discovering where that evolved from, then finding something else and doing the same thing.Then finally allowing your own personality to come through.
Ty: As a songwriter and as a musician who are some of your influences?
Danie: Being a slide player there's always the obvious; Duane Allman, Elmore James, Derek Trucks, all the great slide players. Then there's the ones that pretty much everyone has been influenced by like Clapton, Hendrix, SRV. I'm really into Soulive right now as well. There are also a lot of vocalists that I listen to, primarily Otis Redding though.
He's just got this tone and passion in his voice that is amazing.
Ty: So many musicians become clones of their influences, how do you keep this from happening?
Daniel: Just by listening to many different people and trying not to dwell on just one influence.
Ty: Let's talk about your equipment, what products have you tested and which ones do you use?
Daniel: My Gibson Les Paul Standard through a Fender Super Reverb, but I use a Fender Stratocaster for playing in standard tuning because my Les Paul stays in open E all the time.
My old amp was a Marshall JCM 900 half stack from the early 90's.
Ty: Every musician hopes for the perfect endorsement. What would be the ultimate endorsement for you?
Daniel: One from Gibson would be nice. There are a lot of great smaller companies that are kind of under the radar. There is a guy around here, Terry McInturff, makes some beautiful stuff.
Ty: I happen to know that your Gibson is autographed by someone famous? Care to tell everyone else that story?
Daniel: It has six autographs actually. Derek Trucks, Todd Smallie (bassist for Derek Trucks Band), Kofi Burbridge, Mike Mattison, and Yonrico Scott from the Derek Trucks Band. Actually everything except for part of the "Y" has faded from Yonrico. I was able to snag those signatures after a show in Greensboro last year. The other one is Robert Randolph. I got to play with RRFB (Robert Randolph & The Family Band) last February and got that one after the show. Everyone else from the band is on my guitar case.
Ty: How cool is that? Maybe you'll share a picture of you onstage with Robert Randolph with our readers. You mentioned Greesboro, you're from Raleigh, NC. What's the music scene like in Raleigh and have you connected well with it?
Daniel: From what I've seen there are a lot of "singer/songwriter" types here. There are a few noteworthy artists out there though. Right now I've just signed on to be part of a blues band with some vets from the scene here. It's a lot different than anything I've been doing lately but it should be fun. I'm still working on my own stuff though and hoping to put something together soon.
b>Daniel: Here is my approach to writing a song in most cases. I like to come up with a bass part and a drum part first to create the groove, then base my guitar playing around that groove.
Ty: So you get a feel for a rhythm first ?
Daniel: Usually. That song "Floatation" though, the version thats on my myspace music site started off with just guitar.
Ty: That song is light and airy, smooth and easy. I like it, it makes me smile..
Daniel: Yeah people seem to like that song.
Ty: Is it something you work for or is it something that just comes naturally?
Daniel: Is what something I work for? Writing a song or coming up with a groove? lol
Ty: Coming up with the groove.
Daniel: It usually just comes naturally. It's hard for me to sit down and say "Ok, I'm going to come up with a groove now."
Ty: hmmm, I've discovered that most song-writers get creative with at least several instruments.
Ty: You just mentioned that you have songs at Myspace. I've noticed that you have 3 separate accounts there? Any particular reason for this?
Daniel: I want to become the musical equivalent of Tom. Just kidding.
That would mean that I'd have to deal with a bunch of whiney emo bands.
Seriously, one is to promote my blues/jazz/jam/whatever else project, another for my new project, and another is just personal for friends and family, you know, to reconnect with people from high school and all the other trendy myspace things.
Myspace is great! Maybe Tom can hook me up with some money for saying that. (laughs)
Ty: You always have some pretty eclectic music playing on your myspace. One day I tuned in and you had "Freddy's Dead" as your background music.
Daniel: Well...the world don't move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you, may not be right for some.
Ty: Myspace is a great networking tool for an artist. Most bands allow their friends to develop naturally but there are bands that use programs that randomly add friends by volume. What do you think about that?
Daniel: I guess it really depends on what the people are doing. If they are just inviting like random people they see then it might be kinda lame, but if they're focusing on a group that shares interests as far as influences and musical tastes it's not as bad I guess.
Maybe it could be compared to handing out a promo CD or something, you can give them to people who are interested or not. Like I said...depends on who is being targeted I guess.
Ty: I love that analogy. For someone who's looking at an artist at myspace as a potential client those numbers could be deceiving
Daniel: Yeah...here is my thing with that...
The truth lies within the number of plays the artist has, there is no excuse for having a higher number of friends than the number of plays you have but if you scout people and send requests to people that you know are into the stuff that you might be into
that's cool and all.
Ty: I think you nailed it, the number of plays should exceed the number of friends. That would be a good indication to determine whether or not the band is just collecting friends or building a fanbase.
Daniel: I've seen artists that have more friends than plays and that's just ridiculous...so thats really what people should be looking for.
Ty: Any other comment you'd like to add about Myspace?
Daniel:The truth lies within the ratio of plays to friends, thats my final answer.
Ty: Do you believe that opportunities exists for talented artists in the music business or do you think the business would rather work an artist that could sell posters, lunchboxes, and teen mags?
Daniel: The latter of the two, that's the way it always has been. It's called the business, businesses are for making money, and if that gets you paid, do it. There will always be a little niche for the real artists though, the only problem is finding those people that are willing to bring the artists with talent out in front of people.
Ty: I must say, your understanding of the music business is not something you share in common with most musicians but evenso would you like to become a part of that business?
Daniel: I would like to become a part of the part that brings the talent out. I don't want to be on some 10 year old girl's lunchbox. (laughs)
Ty: Aah c'mon, isn't it everybody's dream to be that famous?
Daniel: Nah, I'm more of a lay-back-and-roll with whatever comes my way type of guy.
Ty: What other interests do you have besides your music?
Daniel: I'm really into sports, gotta love my Braves! I have to stay up on current events, too. I like to know what's going on with the rest of the world. Oh! and bowling. I treat bowling as a sport...I'm pretty competitive (laughs)
Ty: What is the single most important thing in your life?
Daniel: I don't really have just one important thing. My family, my love, my friends, and my music are probably the four most important. Without the first three, my music wouldn't exist though. They all inspire me in crazy little ways wether they know it or not.
Ty: Where do you hope to be a year from now with your music?
Daniel: Wherever it takes me. Hopefully somewhere that allows me to play for many people and share my music with many people.