By NOTES FROM VIVACE
I’ve always enjoyed showing up for the first band/artist. Often times, the audience is smaller when compared to the rest of the night, but the closest friends and fans are there to support. And so it was on a recent night at The Hi Hat.
Crook opened the night with an emotionally impactful set. Many who came took a seat on the floor. They listened attentively as Daniel Crook sat in front of his keyboard, playing notes with care and vocals filled with raw tenderness. In the below interview, he mentions that those who go to his sets are often brought to tears. As if to emphasize the point, towards the end of his set, he received a text from a friend regarding some unpleasant news that the friend was going through (which I’ll leave the contents of the text message off this write-up).
And so with that, we were fortunate enough to interview Daniel Crook:
Q. How would you describe your music?
A. I often write from a painful place. I try to grab on to intangible moments and transform them in to some sort of victory. Often, my music carries itself in to a bit of a dream world in which we say the things we wished we would have said or we reacted in ways that maybe carried more dignity. The music is built to be cinematic, like a film score for our many emotional landscapes.
Q. Do you find greater enjoyment writing a great song or performing a great song? Why the choice?
A. Performance is always on my mind when writing. I’m trying to think of the visual character of each song constantly. This is more visible when I am performing with my whole band than when I am solo/locked in to the keyboard. I want the songs I write to have a visceral, lasting effect on the listener and often that requires a bit of physical finesse.
Q. What are your thoughts about the Los Angeles music scene?
A. Los Angeles went through a bit of a nostalgia spell in which the German and English music of the 60’s 70’s and early 80’s being made by artists such as Can, Suicide and Television were brought back in to focus. We saw this kind of reinvigorated understanding of that era’s more psychedelic moments which seemed to kind of break people away from the early 2000’s grip of influence that had been informing Los Angeles artists for around a decade. Now, there is this new, maybe more enlightened era of pop bubbling up beneath us; something still accessible to the crowd but coded with deeper language, sometimes with no words at all.
Artists like myself, MRK and Draemings, to name a few, have been attempting to tap in to what that looks and feels like on a larger stage. To me, the musicians I am surrounded by in this city are really trying to say something that is not always overtly political albeit nonetheless transgressive.
Own final thoughts: I get a lot of tears in the crowd when I perform. When asked if that’s my goal, I have to kind of sort out why I write such emotional songs. I am trying to create a place in which we all have the opportunity to fall apart in the presence of strangers. So much of our day to day life is spent attempting to seem invulnerable or stoic, we put on mask after mask hoping that the person we put out in to the world will be deemed “fit to function.” I believe this is a tool of capitalism, built and maintained in order to keep us repressed. I just want to show or provide people with a counterpoint to that, “look, see? We’re all in pain. This is just as confusing to me as it is to you but there can be great victory in our sadness, in our confusion or in our fight. It’s okay, just feel it.”