Sunday, 30 March 2008

Adam Daniel

With his brilliant debut Blue Pop Santa Monica's Adam Daniel has placed himself at the dead centre of the power pop map. Not since the magnificent Owsley album has there been such glowing praise emanating from pop fans everywhere. Blue Pop is a superbly presented collection of thirteen bittersweet love songs wrapped in confidently crafted pop of the highest quality. Adam's voice is little short of beautiful; perfect for the wistful words of broken love that are at the heart of it all. The melodies are as unstoppably infectious as a cold sore on the lips of a beautiful girl (Are you sure, Mick? Ed.) and the playing has that deceptive effortlessness of a master craftsman at work. If you love pop in its purest distillation, awash with harmonies and tangled in unforgettable melodies, then there's no doubt in my mind that Blue Pop will always be at the very top of your CD pile.
Like Jason Falkner and Roger Klug, Adam Daniel is one of those clever clogs who plays, composes, arranges, and co-produces everything on his album. In the face of such sickening all-round talent we thought it was high time we got the lowdown from the man himself.

So how did you first get into music?
I got into music young. My Dad's a musician (60s-era folk/pop) and one of my earliest memories is laying on the living room floor listening to the Beach Boys' Wendy on our turntable over and over He taught me how to play / Get Around on guitar when I was nine and pretty much saturated me with 60s stuff; Beach Boys, Zombies, Kenny Rankin, Laura Nyro and The Shirelles. Later my older brother turned me on to 70s classic rock like Boston, and growing up in the 80s I listened to equal parts New Wave, Elvis Costello,TheTubes,The Romantics and hair metal. I steal from all of it. Anything pop.
What sort of thing did you get up to prior to doing your album?
Before going solo and releasing Blue Pop I bounced around Los Angeles a few years looking for the right band. It was good writing chemistry. I graduated UCLA in 1995 and needed to get on. I'd always done solo 4-track demos, and I decided to get serious about them. I rented some studio time, tracked three songs, Cured, In Orbit and Lovebug, and got my record deal soon after with RPG Music.

How did you go about recording the album?
The album was recorded in my co-producer's living room with four rented ADAT's, and his walk-in closet for a vocal booth.Takes could be ruined if the cat walked by too loud. Most of the songs on the record were inspired by a romantic mess I was involved in. Beginning of the end of it. I had a good time playing and singing (almost) everything myself but I have an amazing band behind me now and on the next record they'll be playing and singing with me.
Was there anything you recorded that didn't find it's way onto the finished album?
There's I think six or seven songs recorded that didn't make the album. They may, or may not, surface as B-sides at some point.
What are your own personal favourite songs on the album?
My favourite songs on the album are ever changing. Today I'd say Battle Song, Said Don't Go, and Her Shake. Most people pick out Her Shake, Cured, Breaking Up, and Why I Can't Be Beside You. They're the more obvious singles of the bunch. They're all in G (must mean something).

You're just started playing live at the moment. Who's in your band?
I have a brilliant band with me now; Derrick Tanner (guitar), Marko (drums) and our new bassist Greg Magnuson. Derrick and Greg sing back-up harmonies. We do about seven of the 13 songs from Blue Pop, a few covers, and some new stuff. The band's just four shows old now. Things sound more scrappy live than on the record. I love it.
Where do you go from here?
My current future plans are to keep playing live in Los Angeles and then to get into more widespread touring, though as yet there are no immediate plans. Then probably not so far in the future head back into the studio to demo some new material
Who else in the pop community do you know?
My friends in the pop community are mostly local in Los Angeles. I hang out with David Bash who organises the annual International Pop Overthrow Festival, Linus of Hollywood, and Rick Gallego from Cloud II (two great artists -You HAVE to hear Linus' album My Favourite Record), Rolan Bolan's a pretty close friend, and I've done some sessions with the McDonald brothers from Redd Kross. Closer to your neighbourhood, I'm friends with Jez from Farrah, a guy named Raman (his debut will be out soon on Virgin) and a frighteningly good singer-songwriter in London named Caroline Lofts. Caroline's unsigned as yet.
And finally, what are you listening to yourself these days?
Lately I'm listening to Tsar, Rufus Wainwright, Patty Griffin's Flaming Red, Blinker the Star's August Everywhere and The Jackson Five The Ultimate Collection, but Missy Elliot's Do Real World is the one I'm playing most.

So there you have it, Adam Daniel a brand new top of the range popster for you to embrace and adore. Blue Pop comes with my highest recommendation to lovers of beautifully conceived and superbly executed romantic pop everywhere.

PS since then Adam has recorded an e.p. and another album available only as downloads. They are also fab.

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