For this week’s spotlight I’m breaking my own rules, as I’ve chosen someone who hasn’t made it into the Cool Top 20 chart (yet). However, he has been a passionate supporter of indie music and the Cool 20. So, to thank Daniel for his support, I decided to feature him in our spotlight.
Most of us know Daniel as the indie music nerd from ‘The Finds’. How would Daniel describe ‘The Finds’?
“Did you ever have that friend that was telling you about new music and you were always amazed at the stuff they found? Heck, that was probably you, if you’re reading this. It was definitely me growing up. Now imagine a group of those people voting every day on which of their new Finds makes into the best non-chart oriented playlist on the internet. That’s ‘The Finds’.”
You are a stay at home dad, a part-time musician and you run The Finds. How do you balance music with your other obligations?
“Wireless headphones and cell phone technology. Without those advances it would be impossible. I’m almost always listening to something while spending time my son or accomplishing my daily tasks.”
Daniel has released several albums on Spotify. The newest one being ‘Blue Shift Reflections’. How would you describe your own music?
“It’s varied and progressed a bit. The first two albums were pure melodic electronic music, with the exception of ‘Underture Complete‘, which was my first attempt at an elaborate blend of acoustic and electronic sounds and ‘Alpha‘ which leaned on Rock influences heavily.”
“The third album ‘Rise/Fall‘ was an homage to the industrial and noise genres that I listened to a lot as a young adult. Almost half of the tracks on that album are old recordings that I made while in Iraq in 2007, ‘Switchblade Symphony‘, ‘And Then She Fell‘, ‘Running Through Hoops‘, ‘Drowning‘ and ‘King of the Damned.’ I cleaned them up as much as current technology allows, but there’s still mixing issues and a lot of grime.”
“‘In Finem Omnia‘ ‘(In the End’ in Latin) was a concept album based loosely on a combination of the Book of Revelations, Science Fiction Dystopia’s and current events. It’s still very electronic and rock influenced.”
“The most recent full album ‘Blue Shift Reflections‘ was all about blues influences, which I’ve really been getting into lately, and storytelling, while the next offering ‘No More’ drifts more into pure Rock territory.”
“I’ve got two new releases scheduled. ‘No More’ comes out November 13th. I think it’s the first piece I’ve put together that really has a shot of entering the Cool Top 20.
‘Mask Off’ is another single slated for the start of the next year and I’m excited about the songwriting, but it might be a little too niche to make the chart.”
Are there any songs you wish you’d written yourself?
“There’s so many and I usually do a cover when that happens, just for my own private enjoyment. For example, in my private collection I have covers of Huey Lewis – ‘Power of Love’, Snow Patrol – ‘Run’, The Scorpions – ‘Still Loving You,’ and the latest one, Sophie Dorsten – ‘Tomorrow.'”
Daniel and I have something in common. Like my dad, his dad also worked at the local (top 40) radio station on weekends. His parents split up when he was 5 years old. Daniel’s fondest musical memories go hand in hand with his father.
“So, on those weekends I’d visit, I’d get to go with him to the radio station. As I got older, I was able to help him more and more and become even more engaged. I still remember those days as vivid as yesterday. He’d have me read Billboard magazine, and we’d have very lively discussions about which songs were going to be the new number one record in the country. Because of my dad’s job and my assistance, I received a lot of swag in the form of old radio station demos, and my most prized possessions of that age: Vinyl records of old Casey’s Top 40 recordings.”
What was the first single or record you bought yourself?
“I didn’t actually buy much music at all, until he quit doing the radio show. However, I am sure that at some point around the age of 10, I did save a few allowances to purchase Paula Abdul’s ‘Forever Your Girl‘. I had a small obsession with that album.”
What’s the last album you listened to?
“The last album I listened to, front and back was by a local country band, Muscadine Bloodline, ‘Burn it at Both Ends‘. It’s a stellar offering from them that will surely propel them into the mainstream.”
What was the first concert you attended?
“As far as concerts, the first one I was taken to, was an Amy Grant/Alabama concert by my mother at age 7. The first concert I attended as an adult was a wonderful show down at the now closed ‘Music Hall’ in Birmingham featuring Joey Ramone and The Misfits.”
Have your musical tastes changed over the years?
“My tastes change a lot, but not in the way you might think. There’s not a genre I’ve ever liked that I just all of a sudden like more or less, I just learn to appreciate new genre’s in different way as time moves forward.”
Daniel isn’t a big fan of the current music scene. Here’s what he had to say about that topic:
“I’m not a fan of the music industry, the way the big three conspired against their own artists in exchange for equity positions in Spotify, for example, but I love quite a few current music scenes. The most mainstream of those current scenes that I’ve come to wildly appreciate is K-Pop. I think once Teddy Riley started doing productions with those artists, it started to grab my attention.”
How do you feel about the internet in the music industry?
“I do wish the various scenes were a little less fragmented into camps and more people enjoyed a wide range of musical styles. There’s so much variety I just can’t take anyone seriously that says they hate the music of today, because it’s just that they haven’t heard whatever niche they would like. That’s another place that ‘The Finds’ comes into play.”
Which artist from the Cool Top 20 do you expect to make it big?
“Ditsea Yella is going to be big in their niche, and that’s all but a guarantee. HOL has immense mainstream crossover potential and she’s still very young. The same can be said of Diddie Hair, as he’s an immense talent. There’s a lot of older talent there too that has the quality to make that transition, but I’m cynical when it comes to older acts and predicting their success, because I know the way the industry works, and how rarely that happens outside of country music.”
Which song from the new submissions should enter the chart?
“I see Sophie Dorsten submitted ‘Growing‘ and that’s an automatic. She’s going to be a star without question. If you look at her metrics, it’s just unreal. I look at stats a lot when considering my nominations and she has an insane fan conversion ratio. Statistically, anyone that listens to her hits follow. I’ve never seen that before in as long as I’ve had the ability to follow conversion counts.”
What’s your favourite song in the Cool 20?
“GHST MDRN – ‘The Depths‘ is still my favourite. ‘Body Soul and Blues‘ by Bourbon Blues Ensemble is a close second. ‘Sad Song‘ by Diddie Hair suffers from a low mastering level, but it’s still a top quality ballad with excellent vocals. I expect ‘Good 4 U‘ by dxadpoxt and ‘Champagne & Caviar‘ by Ditsea Yella to grow on me even more with repeated listens, and as such expect them to do very well in the weeks ahead.”
If you follow us on Twitter, you probably know Daniel always has a few suggestions for the next spotlight. So Daniel, who should be in the spotlight next week?
“Ditsea Yella or dxadpoxt! I just noticed that they charted!”
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