This is an updated playlist now that the album has officially released.
When thinking up questions for this interview, it was tough to figure out whether to direct the questions towards Daniel Machado, or Danny Joe. The more and more you listen to this album, the more you realize they’re mixed at some level. On DANASCUS Danny Joe’s sharp tongue leads the way, but musically it’s Daniel at his finest, using this as an outlet to try things beyond the scope of The Restoration and expand on what he was doing there. For me the saga of Danny Joe began with The Restoration’s song “New South Blues” which opened wide his can of worms with the South. Here Danny Joe pops open a can of worms with everything else he’s had on his mind. Buckle up for a ride through the first half of D A N A S C U S.
How did the Danny Joe Machado come about? It seemed like this character that naturally evolved quicker and quicker as we started to have more and more “our stupid state” moments in South Carolina over the last couple of years.
For me characters usually develop from a type of song I want to write, or out of a song I’ve already written. That was the case with Danny Joe but the external character also developed from a costume I bought to try to one-up my family in our annual over-the-top patriotism competition. I later wore the costume to the Mardi Gras festival in town. As a shy person I loved how freeing it felt to walk around in something so ridiculous. To enjoy being ridiculous—that might be South Carolina’s problem on the national stage.
How different is the writing process between The Restoration and Danny Joe. With both projects you’re writing from a character perspective, but with Danny Joe it does seem like you have more of a personal touch there.
It’s more similar than I would have thought. I’ve learned to use an emotional anchor to myself as a jumping off point into characters that experience things I haven’t experienced and believe things I don’t believe. The key is that you have to respect that no matter how far away the character gets from yourself you’re both human beings. I used the same approach to bring the Danny Joe album together. It’s funny because writing for, and, in the case of performing AS Danny Joe, embodying an asshole musician from the 70s/80s/etc has made me far more uncomfortable than writing for murderers and more straightforward “villains” from the more distant past. I think I really enjoy that kind of discomfort as a creative person.
At first it seemed like Danny Joe might be a short little side project, but it’s built up into way more than that. Tell me a little about your live band and what made you decide to build the project up more.
I love working with the Restoration team, from our usual producer Stephen Russ to the band: Adam Corbett (bass) Sharon Gnanashekar (keys) Sean Thomson (guitar/bass) and Steve Sancho (drums). Only because of the decreased presence of violin on this album did I decide to play most of the violin myself this time which resulted in Lauren Garner not being on the project. Because he was a big inspiration to the do-it-yourslef mixing / production approach of the project it was exciting to bring Marshall Brown in to play some guitar and give me some additional feedback on the mixes. Because this team typically records the basic band parts live we knew the songs as a band before recording. Having a one-track mind pretty much necessitates that anything I’m primary songwriter on is my main thing at a given time. I suppose at this point we’ve accepted a few show offers as Danny Joe And Band as a result.
What has to happen for Danny Joe to make a non shitty album? Maybe go electronic, and not in a way that means you just have to plug something into the wall.
I don’t think it’s possible for Danny Joe to make a non shitty album.
What can we expect from the second half of the album? Anyone listening will obviously be hoping that it’s better than the first half heard here.
Well side A is stasis. We meet Danny Joe, we may experience multiple sides to him. Even with a loose concept album like this we should at least expect some kind of arc for the character—one could hope. It might just be pure absolute shit.
Album Release Saturday August 29th at Conundrum Music Hall. FB Event