Photo Credit: Michael Spencer
Finding solace in music is often the norm. We listen to a record and find ourselves curled up in the audible blanket the lyrics form around us. When it came to Will Dailey and Golden Walker, well, I found a lot more. A can of worms, as they say, was opened wide as we got onto topics that plague my mind each and every day. From this generation being coddled to the perspective of the white male to technology being the ultimate fall of civilization.
Again, Will Dailey is a musician but the ideas brought forth on his latest release, Golden Walker, sparked conversations that I could write research papers on for months, years even. And frankly, that is my personal solace. Now see it’s time to see what Will brings out of you.
Kendra: Golden Walker captures the mood of a generation; legally being considered grown but feeling as helpless as one was on the first day of kindergarten. Every generation has their struggles, but why do you feel millennials are finding it hard to “adult” more so than their parents or grandparents?
Will Dailey: Starting off with a real softball question here…I’m no doctor but to me, the digital-mobile-everything-all-the-time-big-brother-little-attention-span-cloud-based “now” has very little true grounding in being a human.
At the same time, it connects us all to a broader awareness of the human condition. The challenge becomes measuring and finding true friends, true love and, most importantly, the true self. Any attempt to completely shut out the insanity of this external constant and you are left with dangerous isolation! Where then does one go when the perpetual connection is so disconnecting?
The term, “kids these days” is older than the word “kids” and hurling that complaint is, in itself, an admonition of one’s own disconnection. But the financial realm has made a disgustingly small group of people too wealthy leaving the rest to fight over the scraps. The digital realm dumped the whole wide world on all of our laps at the same time reminding us all of the boat, the house, the money, the food, the vacation and the love we may not have. Everyone’s joy and pain are up for the taking and for the taking apart. That is overwhelming. The real question may not be, “Why are millennials finding it hard?” but why has everything around them been designed to be so hard.
When you can be with someone and hold them, sing to them, listen to them, walk with them- do it. It makes the world smaller, infinitely real, saves lives and fertilizes hope. That is why I love playing pop up concerts and house concerts. You see the whites of eyes. It’s also where the kids go and they’re alright.
Kendra: The kids today would say the whole record, particularly “Today is Crushing Me” is a total mood. Did anything specifically crushing happen the day you penned that or was it a culmination of things?
Will Dailey: Yes! But that thing is for me. The details are there in the bones of the songs if I need to visit them when I sing it but maybe I don’t want to every time. Maybe I want to sing it on another day when I am crushed again by something else or when I am not crushed at all and want to celebrate. I also hope that it becomes a song for someone else on a day that they need it. I don’t want them thinking about my specifics at that moment. It is good enough to know that you are not alone in the feeling. The details are yours and the song can be too.
Kendra: Personally, my heart went straight towards “Middle Child” because I am one. Same for you?
Will Dailey: I am. It brings me joy that middle children are finding it.
Kendra: You also write from the perspective of a sector of the population that has been sort of ostracized in recent years; straight white man. Do you feel like you have to tread lightly on that front because of that?
Will Dailey: It is a time to be listening. I don’t worry too much about how I tread, I just tread how I’ve always tried to tread. I recognize the significant advantage in being an SWM because that was explained to me compassionately at a young age. Still, it’s important for SWM to know how to express weakness confidently and feel confidence respectfully. That is where Golden Walker is coming from through and through.
Kendra: I loved the story behind how Golden Walker came to be. The older sculptor who overheard your music and shared about technology making us feel more alone but your music is a great communicative device. Do you think we’d collapse as a society if our technology took a step back say 30 years?
Will Dailey: That is a fun question. What if it when back 100 years? No internal combustion engines!
Some would suffer for sure. Physically even. Technological advancement is inevitable. I often think of that cave person ranting and raving against this new discovery of rubbing two sticks together and how the danger of fire 24/7 will tear their culture apart. And then the other cave person saying, “Why do you keep saying 24/7!? We follow the sun here and that’s the way it will always be!” And then they argue until they are bones.
Collapse? Probably not. Suffer? Yes. Everything collapses in some way and everything eventually moves on without us. Thankfully I have music every day that works out all these things and keeps my heart from atrophy and my mind from panic… so far. More than worrying about collapsing, I look for our ethical progress forward.
Kendra: The record is out now, but what’s to come this fall for you? Shows? Working on new music?
Will Dailey: Heading to UK and France. Spotting around Northeast US. Making some videos: live and studio. Deluxe version of the album. Taking care of some family that needs help. Then spending most of 2019 celebrating Golden Walker on the West Coast Midwest and East Coast in the US. I’m an indie artist. Write the songs, produce the record, order the pressings, release it and play the shows. It’s a slow cook but a better meal that way.