Safe // Sound was able to chat with Daniel Bachman on the eve before his show in Savannah! We were able to figure out a little bit more about the uber talented, elusive twenty-two year old. Here's what he had to say:
It goes without saying, but Hi:
Seven Pines is so atmospheric and evocative, do you attribute your songs to a specific place, region or memory? Is your hometown, Fredricksburg, the Mountains?
Fredericksburg Isn't in the mountains - its about halfway between DC and Richmond on 95 and an hour to the east the bay and an hour to the west some pretty serious foothills. But its still very nice around here in town and around the counties - not completely taken over by DC yet.
more below --->
That whole scene was really big for me when I was a teenager - when all of it was coming out. I don't think that I really fit in to it, especially because its been some years since it was a major thing - but I've been lucky enough to play and get to know some of those people that really hit me when my 16 year old girlfriend burned me all those CDs, haha.
Do particular songs elicit a personal memory, some visual from your past?
Absolutely. A lot of the titles and tunes are from specific nights I've had good or bad that carried some weight with my personal life or things from when I was a kid. I'm a total sentimental sap sometimes - especially with tunes.
I read that you have an obsession with the Civil War, why is this?
My parents house is on an old camp site - we used to dig up stuff all the time - I think its less about the civil war and more just that I really love and feel a connection of the history of that area.
(Fredericksburg - Map, 1862)
I believe you wrote and recorded Seven Pines while in a new city (Philadelphia!) - it, at times, provokes an aching lonesomeness, and I wonder how much of this is your response to being away from "home"?
I recorded it in Philly last May. Philly was a great move for me - I had wanted to move there since I was around 16 or 17 - all my favorite music came out of there and I just wanted to be a part of it. It was rough for the first 6 months - I had a real job - that worked the hell out of me - but I kinda used not having a lot of friends and working and saving to just play a lot and I kinda got better that year. I love that city - and have more friends there than anywhere else now - but I think I got what I needed out of the experience - it was one of the better years I think I've ever had.
Where are you living now?
How does this affect your music?
How does this affect your music?
I'm in Fredericksburg until tour starts tomorrow - then back for 4 days and then I'm moving to Chapel Hill Durham area in NC and hoping to make that my permanent home. I think it's really important to me to have a place like that - to come home to and rest and then have the comfort in a place to continue to work on stuff. I'm not good at writing on the road so when I come home I turn out 4 or 5 songs in a couple weeks and then take them out. If I didnt have a space I'd be touring the same bullshit year round - which was kind of the problem the last 6 months of constantly being on the road.
You started touring when you were 17 - that's incredibly young. I am sure those road experiences helped build your character in so many fundamental ways. It feels like it would force you into very adult situations, with a lot of homesickness in between. Any good wide-eyed stories? (I picture, for some reason, young Daniel some night at a lonely desolate bar, where an unsuspecting woman buys you a beer, drives you around the town, and the rest is ~history~). Did you meet many interesting creatures on the road?
Oh my god yes. That first tour was bleak - February in the northeast. Almost drove into a frozen river - stuck in snowstorms and no one at show. No one at shows for a long time actually. I had a lot of problems with panic attacks and anxiety when I was younger and it was a way for me to work through that shit directly. So thats really why I started touring - that and I wanted to see Vermont - it wasn't really about playing music for people until a couple years later - I just kept doing it and got deeper and deeper into it. Now Im sunk pretty deep. But, yeah I left highschool when I was 17 and my parents were ok with me traveling - it absolutely opened my eyes to a lot that I hadn't seen before and I'm a much stronger person now - although tired and stressed. But, it's been amazing and I never thought that I would ever keep this shit going. I love touring and I think its so important - don't think I could do it forever but I have another 10 years left on it - hopefully.
Performing is a fascinating thing, for you're able to channel whatever personas that you wish - but your performances seem pretty wrapped up in concentration (duh) and I wonder if you still have the feeling that you are both Daniel Bachman, but also an additional identity (think of a spiritual medium). Who do you think you channel/transmit?
During live gigs I'm really just trying to play as hard as I can. In the past Ive tried to emulate other players or tricks and sometimes it comes off a little bit fake - not trying to sound cheesy or anything but I feel comfortable with the way I play finally and I think at least that I'm just trying to be me as much as I can.
Would a dream tour be up the Appalachian trail - maybe along the trail towns?
But, I imagine, you'd have to do it alone.
I've actually only walked very short bits of it in the past - but i'm not opposed to the idea at all.
Wonder if the heads would come out.
COME SEE DANIEL PLAY ON THURSDAY AUG. 29TH @ SAFE // SOUND GALLERY
with Pale Grasses and Richard Leo Johnson
8 PM / $ 5 DONATION