Playlist: Danny Denial’s ‘Dead Like Me’ influences

In preparation for his latest record, cult US alt-rock artist, Danny Denial has gifted us this kick-ass playlist of influences that led to the creation of the body of work […]

In preparation for his latest record, cult US alt-rock artist, Danny Denial has gifted us this kick-ass playlist of influences that led to the creation of the body of work he refers to as, ‘Dead Like Me’.

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Sonic Youth – Death Valley ‘69

Sonic Youth is always a reference point for me, but the late 80s stuff in particular resonates. There’s something really disturbing about way Thurston Moore and Lydia Lunch’s voices flog at one another and all of the dissonance the guitars create in the space between. That sonic discord/discomfort is something I wanted to play with on this record. Ty Kennedy who produced and also plays in Virgo Sadness, added these very severe backing vocals on ‘Dethhead’ and ‘Crises’, while his wife Camille Alexander of London-based A VOID added these creepy whispering vocals on ‘Old’ that just make you feel that things aren’t quite right. It’s great.

Lemonheads – Hate Your Friends

Obviously 90’s alternative, punk and grunge was a heavy influence. I really took cues from the aggressive stuff on Lemonheads’ ‘Hate Your Friends’ record, particularly the title track, in the way all the songs storm in, stay a short, fast track and just as quickly blow their fuse to oblivion. I’ve never been a writer of short songs, I had like a 10 minute song on my last album,  so that was my intent with the majority of these new songs.

Babes In Toyland – Handsome and Gretel

Babes In Toyland were always really acerbic and rubbed raw while being a lot of fun. The catchy ugliness of a song like ‘Handsome and Gretel’ massively inspired the writing style of songs like, ‘Suck My Jesus’ and ‘Groupie’. A lot of noise, lust and messiness, but held together by a simple hook that comes out like a rabid stutter. I love that.

Teenage Jesus and the Jerks – Orphans

I already technically included Lydia Lunch who guested on ‘Death Valley ‘69’, but ‘Orphans’ by Teenage Jesus is one of my all-time staples of alternative music. Hearing Lunch’s frantic vocals over that shrill, uneasy guitar was life changing and I’ve strived to write something as disgusting ever since. That was the space I was in when I wrote and recorded the track ‘Dethheads’ for sure.

Nirvana – Floyd The Barber

There’s an unwritten rule somewhere that musicians aren’t supposed to admit a Nirvana influence, even when it’s so fucking obvious, but who fucking cares, I love Nirvana. ‘Bleach’ was my favorite record of theirs, and the DNA of ‘Floyd The Barber’ was something I’ve admired to for its lyrical elusiveness and that massive drum line. It’s mean, aggressive drumming you can dance to, and I think John Oden who did drums on my record totally got that.

Patrick Wolf – Bluebells

I feel like people will be most thrown by this as my last song choice, but Patrick Wolf is an absolute influence on me. Mostly as a songwriter, but also as an instrumentalist. The last two songs on ‘Dead Like Me’ come off this 6-track-long rage binge, so they live in this drearier, more melancholic space. The intricacies of the instrumentation are shed more light and it’s more about atmosphere, a state of mind – I’ve always felt Patrick Wolf nailed that in ‘Bluebells’. That’s something I tried to tap into most for the title track ‘Dead Like Me’ and a direction I’d be curious about going in for another project perhaps.

Dom Smith

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