Laish is the project of the British songwriter Daniel Green that we introduced three years ago with second studio album Obituaries. Pendulum Swing is the new album that will be out on November 4th via Talitres. We had the pleasure to have an interesting talk with him. Check also tour dates and watch these two live acoustic videos for “Gambling” and “Song For Everything“.
First. You moved to London. How much and in which way this “event” has affected your new album? And what is your idea of London as a resident?
Moving to London was difficult for me. I found the city to be unforgiving and cold. Everything seemed to be unaffordable and everyone seemed to have their shit together way more than I did. I was recently single and I didn’t have a particularly clear plan or sense of why I was there. I just had a feeling that I should be there.
I started teaching guitar and music production at a charity working with vulnerable adults. I enjoyed sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm for music and soon I started teaching children the guitar until it became my regular employment. Finding steady work allowed me to focus on my own projects and I started something called We Come Alive, a monthly music night and also cover song project. I found community and collaboration and many amazing souls doing what I was doing. I also found new love!
I began to see that despite its apparently cold exterior, London is actually amazing! Anything is possible here and it is full of the most inspiring people. In order to live here you have to be willing to mission, to be creative, to travel, to work incredibly hard. Laziness is not really an option. Brighton had been very good to me and I still love the place and the people, but I felt that I was fossilising, becoming trapped in amber. I have been three years here and now London really feels like home.
It’s been three years since the release of “Obituaries”. “Pendulum Swing” is the new album. What about the idea and development of this new work?
One day I am happy, confident, full of joy and enthusiasm. The next I am plunged into self doubt, loathing and depression. And so it always goes, perhaps for everyone. The pendulum swing of emotion.
This is the first album recorded in a proper studio, and with Dave Gerard at the controls. I was able to focus more on the songs and the parts and the sounds, than when I recorded at home and I would get distracted by say the problematic frequencies of the bass drum.
What else is new: I used my beautiful Jazzmaster electric guitar for all but one of the songs. I used live drums throughout. I used pianos and synth sounds. I didn’t multitrack my vocals.
I think that my music can be quite intense, and I think the anxiety and apology of Obituaries gave way to a bit more of a sense of fun with the new record. I wanted to make songs that would be satisfying to play live and that would be enjoyable to listen to on a record. Not to say there aren’t still some tortured moments but I hope there is eventually a conclusion. The opening and closing lines of the album are a good clue.
Ruth Pickett directed the video for the first excerpt “Love on the Conditional”. What about the song and the video?
Ruth is a dear friend from my school days and we had lost touch until meeting again recently at a party. We immediately decided we should work together given our vocational paths. She is such a unique character. So inspired and yet so organised!
Hal, who stars in the video, is an old friend and a tremendously talented comedian and film maker. We spoke about working together and I had to ask Ruth to be involved, as she had made the two great videos for Learning to Love the Bomb and Song for Everything. My brother, Matt, is also a comedian and I asked him to join in.
The idea was born out of the lyrics of the song. A song about feeling disappointed with someone. That love is on the condition of something changing.
Hal plays a sort of cartoon version of me. One who is probably drinking too much and not really getting all that much done, and yet kind of blissfully living his own selfish dream. In the video, my parents and my girlfriend (played by my real girlfriend, Talitha) are ashamed and disappointed with me, and have hired a mediator (played by brother Matt) to stage an intervention. Time to grow up, get a real job, stop pretending to be a musician. This video doesn’t portray my reality, it’s a music video! I was having fun, and my word, we all laughed like mad all day long!
“Pendulum Swing” will be out also on vinyl. Are you a vinyl collector?
Nope. Like most people, I suspect, I am torn between the desire to live a minimal life with few belonging and also to be surrounded by lots of beautiful books and records and collected trinkets. My listening habits have recently become Spotify-centric, which I don’t feel great about for all the usual reasons, but the convenience wins out. However, when supporting Junius Meyvant on tour, I saw how much value the vinyl record has. People love it so much. It is inherently rare as only a few hundred are usually pressed and it is a signed copy. The artwork is large and satisfying and you know you’re only ever going to listen to it on your nice home stereo. I’m basically talking myself into buying a turntable as I write.
There will be a tour to present the album? Can you give us some dates?
– I read a post on your official facebook page about Nick Cave’s new album. Can you tell us something about it?
Watching 20,000 Days on Earth was my way into Nick Cave. I had appreciated some of his early albums but seeing this film and watching some recent live footage made me a fan. His total dedication to the work is inspiring. And the Brighton setting was nostalgic for me.
I was deeply saddened by the news of his son dying last year. I couldn’t imagine how anyone could recover from such an unimaginable horror, but he came back the only way he knew how, with blisteringly emotional music and a film documenting the experience which I have yet to see.
What are the best releases that you have appreciated this year?
I have enjoyed the new stuff from Ezra Furman, Whitney, Lisa Hannigan, David Bowie, Damien Jurado, Nick Cave, Radiohead, Toro Y Moi, Andrew Bird, Andy Shauf.