In this latest interview, we chat to Danny Kiranos (Amigo The Devil) about his creative process, new music and more.
S] Hi mate, how are you?
In a broad, overall perspective I’d say everything is terrifying and uncertain which makes it confusing when good things happen. On a smaller, “one day at a time” scale everything seems hopeful and moving in a better direction than we all have been shifted into over the last year. That’s on the personal level at least. With the music aspect itself we feel very fortunate to be surrounded by such incredible people and have been overwhelmed by support and kindness on this release. I’m feeling very grateful which makes the personal issues seem like a loose pile of dead leaves…easily shifted.
S] How did this record push you in new ways as an artist?
I’d say these songs pushed the boundaries I was either able to or willing to work within to new depths, heights and widths. Sometimes we were able to throw them away altogether! Not only the songs, but the process itself unwrapped all of these boxes that I’ve kept locked away beneath clutter that I still don’t believe we’ve sorted through entirely. After diving into an experience like the recording of Born Against, I believe this exploration will continue to be the case with future recordings which brings entirely new excitement to the writing and creating process.
S] Take me through the development of ‘Small Stone’ – that’s so stunning!
Thank you so much, it was without a doubt one of those songs that I couldn’t believe was ours once it was finished. I knew going into it that I wanted a lot of movement throughout and that was the main focus. Considering the lyrics deal with change and the shifting of tides, we really focused on capturing layers and multiple depths throughout. Sometimes that meant adding a piece while more often it meant taking away to reveal what’s underneath. Just to avoid any confusion, when I say we, I do mean the team working on the record (Beau Bedford and Jeffrey Saenz) and not some multiple aspects of myself haha.
S] Also love ‘Shadow’ – what experiences went into that one?
When I was writing Shadow it began as a very lofi-esque concept with meek instrumentation and very light, almost pathetic sounding guitar strumming. When the writing part was finished, which is rarely something I ever feel, I knew immediately that it needed the complete opposite. It had to sound abrasive and somewhat rattling. Most of the sonic landscape of that song is built anything but instruments around the studio! Whether it was running a knife across everything in the room to see what sounded best or banging a mallet on anything that should most likely not be hit with one. There were some very “oops” moments but both hilarious and rewarding in the end. It was just a lot of laughing and child-like joy that went into that one. The same feelings I used to get smashing pots together in the kitchen as a kid. I was clearly well-behaved.
S] What does success mean to you as an artist now?
I believe success isn’t necessarily the amount of anything received but the means by which it’s acquired. Within music, that means becoming a better songwriter and storyteller by allowing myself to exist outside of the comfort zone that I know works. Very luckily there has been an incredibly supportive team around this project not only within the team itself but the family and community that we’re grateful to have supporting us. I’m learning at the same rate that anyone is watching us do anything so it’s an exciting ebb and flow in the process. At the live shows for example, learning how to give a better performance by watching and hearing the crowd instead of deciding what the show must be. I don’t know everything and hope I never feel like I do. That is success to me…the continuous education and mutual betterment between us writing/creating and anyone listening. We’d be nothing without all of you.
S] What’s inspiring you outside of music at the moment – specific people, places and movies for example?
As someone who has spent their entire adult life trying to avoid being home, traveling has been the largest loss in recent times. Whether it was driving an hour to sleep in a national park for the week or saving up to take the ferry down to Antarctica from Punta Arenas, those opportunities were thrown into limbo although I’m grateful I ever had the ability to do any of them in the first place. In place of actually running away, I’ve spent a lot of time researching new places to run away to! All jokes aside, I’ve been spending a lot of time working on home brewing beer again, an old passion of mine that I’d put down. Cigars are one of my favorite crafts in this life and I’ve been finding a lot of inspiration in the history and art of them. Other than spending time in nature around the house and reading a lot, I’ve been watching a lot of trash tv…like 90 day fiancee….all of it. So whether that’s inspiration or not should be obvious on the next record.
S] Do you have a message for fans of yours in the UK?
Every time we’ve been over there, whether for tour or just drinking our way around, we’ve always been welcomed and shown such an amazing time. I’m grateful for any of you that I’ve run into and randomly had a pint with, anyone that’s shown me around or taken me under their local wings to the real spots for experiences I’ll never forget. I hope you’re all well, safe and keeping the mind strong so I can selfishly run into you and drag you to karaoke where we’ll most likely get kicked out for something stupid that I do. We can laugh about it later.
S] Thanks for your time!
Thank you for yours and I appreciate you showing us support and kindness. All the best!