In a long-overdue catch-up with Daniel Graves of Aesthetic Perfection, we chat to the man about his latest inspirations for new music, and his love for Sheffield’s Corporation and gravy vodka…good times.
“F*ck elitism, just create what you enjoy!”
S] Where are you right now, Daniel. Set the scene?
DG] “It’s 9:45am and I’m sitting in the bus somewhere between Dover and Sheffield. Like always, I’m unable to sleep so I’m doing all my backed up interviews. There’s a powerful wind that’s knocking the bus around like crazy. I’m sitting in the front lounge alone, ‘Demolition Man’ is on the TV and my nostrils are filled with the stench of stale beer.”
S] How are you enjoying being back in the UK so far?
DG] “I’ve been in the UK for about five hours, most of which was spent trying to sleep. Regardless, you’ve always been stand up folk and I’ve never had anything less than an amazing experience every time I’m here so. I’m quite optimistic!”
S] How is it being out on the road with Faderhead?
DG] “This is actually the second tour we’ve done with Faderhead. Last one was in the US in 2011. It’s always a great time. There’s always loads and loads of vodka!”
S] Sheffield Corp is always a fun venue for industrial/alternative electronic music – any great memories there?
DG] “Vodka gravy. It’s exactly what it sounds like and it tastes as good as you can imagine. Geoff of Modulate concocted the idea and beverage much to the chagrin of the others in the backstage. So, that and Resistanz Festival!”
S] How do you reflect on the ‘Close To Human’ and ‘A Violent Emotion’ records now in 2014?
DG] “They’re a part of my history. They’re a part of who I am. I think people assume that because I don’t write music that sounds like that right now, that somehow I must be trying to distance myself from it. Nothing could be further from the truth. I embrace my history, I just don’t wish to repeat it.”
S] How do you feel like you’ve changed and progressed as a musician over the last year?
DG] “It’s hard to say. I lack the luxury of perspective. I know that I’ve tried to push myself to be a better producer, a better singer and a better songwriter. I feel like that’s improved, but I also feel like there’s a long way to go. But, as the Germans say, ‘The journey is the goal!'”
S] Your vocals vary much more on this record, and it’s welcomed by our camp – was this a conscious decision?
DG] “Over the years, my favorite instrument has become my voice. I love programming and playing guitar, but I feel a special connection to singing. What I’m consciously doing is working to become a better singer and come up with unique and interesting ways to use my voice. Whether or not I’ve achieved that at all is debatable, but it’s the goal!”
S] Talk us through the inspiration behind ‘Antibody’ and then ‘Big Bad Wolf’ – what experiences and ideas inspired the track?
DG] “I think it’s extremely important not to reveal too much behind the inspiration for art. Experiencing art is a very profound and personal thing, and the meaning is always filtered through the person consuming it. Yes, those songs have specific meanings to me, but what those songs mean to ME is not necessarily what they will mean to you. People often approach me to thank me for writing certain songs, and telling me what they’ve meant to them, and it’s almost never what I was thinking / feeling while writing them. I find that wonderful and beautiful. I don’t want to sour that.”
S] As an artist currently inspired by a range of music, what’s your attitude to alternative-electronic and industrial music in 2014?
DG] “I think too many people have misunderstood my motivation for the change in sound or for writing something like ‘FVCK INDVSTRIAL’. This is my scene. I am humbled and honored to be a part of it. It has supported me and brought me to where I am today. But, like with every single scene out there, people can be very narrow minded. I find it ironic that underground scenes claim to be the refuge of the outcasts, a place where people can go to be themselves, yet shun anything that doesn’t fit their rigid idea of what their scene should be. All I want is for people to understand that it’s ok not to fit in anywhere. Like-minded people should convene and enjoy their shared interests, but seriously, f*ck elitism, just create what you enjoy!”