Hidden Beats

We Are Story Tellers

Spotlight - Daniel James McFadyen

In this newest Spotlight – Daniel James McFadyen, we take some time to chat about his journey in music and his recent project Sunshine. From early influences and even the first album bought, learn more about Daniel in this great interview now!

What inspired you to pursue a career in music, and what were some of your earliest musical influences?

Playing music was always a big part of my life, but it was never my “main focus” until after attending university. While at school I started to organize open mics, and I found myself playing gigs every weekend. These were mainly cover bar gigs, but I really enjoyed them and people always showed up. I started a band with my girlfriend at the time and a few friends, and we started to pick up some steam. After that relationship ended, I graduated from school and was jobless, so I started writing more and recorded some songs. I’ve been touring ever since!

My earliest influences were classic rock bands like Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, which I discovered in my step-dad’s record collection. What really got me interested in music was when I discovered alternative folk and rock. I became obsessed with Modest Mouse when I was in grade seven. I remember downloading their discography on Limewire and that was all I listened to. Most of my friends really didn’t like them and they would make fun of me for it.

Do you remember the first album you bought that set you on your journey?

When I was fourteen, I flew from Toronto to Halifax to visit my sister at university. When I landed in Halifax, my mom drove me to HMV in Dartmouth and I picked up two CDs — Arcade Fire’s “The Funeral” and Modest Mouse’s “The Moon and Antarctica”. It was all we listened to in the car and my Mom hated it. I still feel really connected to those albums and get a weird nostalgic feeling anytime I hear any of the songs. They weren’t my first CDs, but definitely the most memorable and influential.

How has your style of music evolved over the years, and what factors have influenced those changes?

I think my style has stayed fairly consistent over the years, but as I have gained more confidence as a songwriter I am willing to take more risks and release music that I like, with less concern if others will as well. A lot of the tracks released over the last few years were self-produced so I worked with what I had. This new EP was produced primarily by my friend Quinn Bachand, who plays practically every instrument, so we were able to experiment a lot.

Can you walk us through your creative process for writing and recording your new single "Sunshine"?

Sunshine came from a ten-second voice note on my phone from 2020 that I have no recollection of recording. When I need inspiration for a new song, I tend to go back through my voice notes to see if there is any good stuff. I found a small clip of me singing “Well she’s comparable to sunshine sometimes I can’t find the right way to describe it”….. And that was it. So then I thought I should try a little harder to describe it. The rest of the song is me explaining how this woman is like sunshine, but I challenged myself to focus on the negative aspects of sunshine which gave a darker lyrical twist in contrast to the happy-sounding tune.

Once I got to the studio with the idea, it was clear that “Sunshine” would be the lead single off my EP. Quinn had a lot of great ideas right away, so we recorded this song first, and it came together in a few days. We used a nylon string guitar on this song because we felt that a steel string sounded too bright, and the nylon strings contrasted with the piercing keyboard part really nicely. The strings and the saxophone solo were the final piece and we were really happy with the result.

How has your experience as a musician influenced your personal and professional life, and what have been some of the biggest challenges you've faced along the way?

A lot of my friends are musicians which is always interesting. The hardest challenge continues to be balanced. Touring is hard mentally and physically and knowing when you need a break is important. When you work for yourself there is always something you could be doing, whether it’s promoting a show or writing songs. I’ve always struggled with shutting off and relaxing; there is not a lot of structure in the industry, so it’s important to take care of yourself. It’s all worth it, though.

How do you approach performing live, and what do you enjoy most about performing for an audience?

I have a “leave it all on stage” mentality. Our goal is to make people feel something, whether it’s happy or sad. We try to put ourselves out there and feel the music as much as we can, even if it looks silly sometimes. The best part about playing live is connecting with the audience, and I want people to feel like they’re apart of the show.

Who are some of your favorite musicians or bands, and how have they influenced your own music?

My favorite band changes a lot but recently I have been listening to a lot of local musicians. My friend George Woodhouse and the Public Service’s CD is in my car right now, so I have been listening to that a lot. Adam Baldwin, Shane Pendergast, and Old Man Luedecke, among others!

What’s something on your go to playlist people wouldn’t expect you to listen to?

I really enjoy old and new country music. I have been listening to a lot of Doc Watson, Charley Crockett, and Corb Lund. I guess people might not expect that!

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians who are just starting out, and what do you wish you had known when you were first starting your own music journey?

Release music and finish all of your songs. Nothing is going to be perfect, play the quantity game and put your music out there. There is a reason you started writing it so finish it and release it. Something else I wish I knew when I was starting out was that most of your fans will be family and friends. People want to have a relationship with their favorite artists, so take the time to talk to people and listen to their stories — it builds a loyal bond!

How do you balance your artistic vision with the demands of the music industry?

I don’t think I really have to. I happen to really like a lot of the same music that the industry is “demanding”. I’m lucky that my music is pretty digestible for the most part, so it all works out quite nicely.

What’s one thing you think should be asked more in interviews that isn’t asked enough?

Maybe about my dog Maggie. She’s a three-year-old cockapoo and she loves me.

What can fans expect to see from you in the coming months?

Lots of shows and content, yellow crocs, fatigue, songs, smiles.

Spotlight – Daniel James McFadyen is in the books! Big thanks to Daniel for taking the time to chat

Check out the music right here!

Keep up with all of the comings and goings from Daniel here

If you want your own Spotlight all you have to do is send us a message here

© Hidden Beats Corp. All Rights Reserved 2020

(Visited 81 times, 1 visits today)