Photo Credit: Chase Warren
You just never know what you’re in for when you press play on a video, definitely not an emotional attachment to a hot dog. However, that’s what came to be when I took some time to digest the latest from Danielle Durack. We talked not only about the video that warmed my heart but also her new album, ‘Escape Artist,’ out on February 16th. That and more in this back-and-forth exchange.
Kendra: You’re just about four albums in with the release of this year’s ‘Escape Artist,’ but let’s go back for a second to ‘Bonnie Rose.’ What would the Danielle who made that record think of the singer-songwriter you are now?
Danielle Durack: I mostly think the Danielle who wrote Bonnie Rose would be really happy to see I’m still doing this — still writing, and still prioritizing music in my life. I’m not sure if she would have anticipated the sonic changes in my music, but based on what I was listening to at the time, I’m sure she would have been stoked to see the path I took.
Kendra: If you had to compare the overall feelings you wanted to convey throughout ‘Escape Artist’ to somewhere in Nashville, where would that be and why?
Danielle Durack: Nashville is a bit of a new world for me, and it couldn’t be more different than Phoenix where I spent the last 27 years. There’s not really a place that comes to mind here that feels like Escape Artist — probably because the album is so emotionally tied to my old apartment back in Phoenix where nearly all of these songs were written. All of the promotional photos were taken there as well, including the photo used in the album artwork. A good chunk of the songs on ‘Escape Artist’ were written during lockdown, so the comfort, introspection, and isolation of being stuck at home all really found their way into the music.
Kendra: Now we have to talk about “Good Dog.” I love that you originally started off penning this with your dog in mind because my dog is the same way. He’s sitting next to me as I type these words out, but how long after the song was said and done did you realize – oh…this was just me unknowingly holding a mirror up to myself?
Danielle Durack: So I think I wrote the choruses first, which pretty explicitly compares me to my dog, but then I kind of ran with that idea for the verses. I wrote from my dog’s perspective in an attempt to project, but by the time I wrote the bridge I was like, “Okay yeah I’m not fooling anyone this song is about me.” So the last chorus gives you a tiny little window as to what the song is actually about, which is my own anxious attachment style.
Kendra: As for the video, thank you! It reminded me a lot of one of my favorites, Blur’s “Coffee & TV.” So adorable and I don’t know, I think while they were hot dogs – I felt the emotion from them. Is that weird? Anyways, are you someone who grew up taking notes on videos and thinking about how you’d want to interpret your songs visually?
Danielle Durack: I don’t think it’s weird, in fact, I’m really stoked to hear that!
Other than an online acting course I took in college, I’ve never really put a ton of thought into film or videos. In fact, I think the thing I love about visual media is how mindlessly I can enjoy it. I think the ideas for my music videos come out of necessity – video elements are really important in music right now, or so I’ve been told – and if I have to make “content” I guess I just want to make something that informs the art in a fun, interesting way. I really struggled with coming up with a video concept for “Good Dog,” because it’s such a sad song and there were so many obvious ways I could take it, but once Jamee Lind (Good Dog Director) presented the hot dog idea, I knew it was something that we could have some fun with.
Kendra: As for “Shirt Song,” I’d love to know if you had any favorite band/concert tees from growing up that you still hold dear?
Danielle Durack: I have a Front Bottoms shirt that I must have gotten in high school that has stayed in heavy rotation, but these days if I’m going to wear a band tee, I try to rep my friends’ bands like Palo Brea, Bread Pilot, Wheelwright and Veronica Everheart.
Kendra: Time for a side note – with it being February, I’m asking everyone for their favorite and/or the best love song they’ve ever heard…
Danielle Durack: It’s so hard to narrow it down to a single song I have at least 10 playlists centered around this exact question, but gun to my head I’d probably say “You Are” by Mree — it’s the sappiest most angelic little song but I love it so much, and I think it’s the closest representation of how I personally feel when I’m in love. Anything by Adrianne Lenker is a very, very close second.
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘Escape Artist’ out on February 16th and a lengthy run on the road already set in stone, what else can fans expect as we continue rolling forward in 2024?
Danielle Durack: I’m hoping to get on the road again later this year and hit some cities I’ll miss this time around, but definitely more shows and of course, always more music on the horizon!