I recently had the pleasure of catching up with Daniel Zott and Joshua Epstein of Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr. We talked about making music, films, and Iceland among other things
Charles Brownstein: I had the chance to talk with Josh and Daniel just before they were about to hop on stage at the fabulous Commodore Ballroom… What a great song, that was Simple Girl off the 2011 release It’s A Corporate World. We talked a little bit about that track as well as how the band came into fruition, kind of an interesting story.
DE: I think it just started out as like a recording project, it was like an experiment and then we let a couple people hear it and people liked it so much that it kind of blew my mind. it was really exciting and then it just seemed right to put it out into the world, I guess you know. Yeah, and keep making more songs yeah. I mean we had known each other a little bit but we we’d never really hung out that much, we had breakfast one time. Yeah, we had we knew each other’s projects but didn’t think to work together and I think thats what amazed us is we got together and it was just kind of so easy and fun that we realized we should do it more often and then all of sudden we had to be a band I guess because we got to go play shows, if people are liking it it’s stupid to not go play it so. I think people in general these days are you know they tend to if they can write songs they have their own band and I dunno it takes a certain kind of person to think like oh man maybe someone that’s really great would make anything I’m doing better you know I dunno it’s a cool thought to think about like joining forces with someone that you think is like really special. I wish more people would do that I bet there’d be some cool projects
CB: Were you surprised when Warner Brothers came along, because they’re a pretty big label, and not always on the progressive side of things.
DE: Maybe a little at first but I mean when we talked to a lot of labels they kind of they all kind of function in the same way it’s just they’ve gotten a lot bigger but I dunno it didn’t I think if you’re an artist you want someone to be able to put your music out, you want your music to be heard by the most people possible so they’re like any other record label or business that we think it was good partnering with because we want as many people to hear our music as possible. Actually, someone at Warner Brothers found out MySpace page or something actually, that’s like actually how it happened. which is really strange, and then they came to see us play at CMJ in New York and I remember this guy Steve McDonald jumping up on stage and being like “I have to sign you” and I was like whatever man yeah right but he was totally telling the truth.
CB: I chatted with Josh and Daniel a little bit about their love for film as they have screened a movie in the past as well as the stunning video which was shot in Iceland for Nothing But Our Love.
DE: I think films in general are kind of like the highest, they’re such a like higher form of art to me because it combines music and visual and like I think maybe that’s I dunno film just fascinates me for that reason and also that like that movies can still sell and people will go pay $9 to go see a movie once but they won’t pay $9 or $7.99 to buy an album that they’ll have for the rest of their life, it tells you something about the fascination of films you know there’s still something totally unique and way more fantastic with a film than an album and I don’t know maybe there’s some sort of gap to bridge between the 2, you release and album as a movie or something. I don’t know but like I think films are interesting to me in that sort of way Jurassic Park was like, that screening was about having a good time in Austin and we kind of we like to stay young like children and have crazy imaginations and be scared of things still so that’s what that movie’s about.
My wife is from Iceland and so that town is actually where her family works there and it it’s one of the only towns in the world where mentally and physically challenged people and you know fully abled people reside together and live together on completely equal grounds. It’s completely green, they don’t use any energy that’s not geothermal or solar and I don’t know it’s really an amazing place and so to be able to go there and play a song it definitely gave a different meaning to that song. We played the song Nothing But Our Love and just to be in a place where someone thought handicapped people whether it was mentally handicapped or physically handicapped had some value and some worth it was more powerful listening to that song there and just the landscape there is so beautiful when you’re on top of a hill and you’re seeing the beautiful mountains all that stuff is it all kind of added up to an amazing experience. Actually a girl that works at Warner Brothers happened to be in Iceland on vacation and we invited her to come with us because it’s just a really special place and she brought her camera and filmed the day so it was actually
CB: What’s her name? Because the video’s beautiful.
DE: Claire Vogul, yeah so actually that was all just organic stuff that she shot throughout the day and she just edited it together to the song.
CB: I finally spoke with Josh and Daniel about their song writing processes as well as interestingly enough they have a contest right now open to the public about re-mixing their single Simple Girl and it sounds like it’s going pretty well.
DE: I don’t know I think every song does it’s own thing you’ve just got to give it the space to do it’s own thing you know it’s never really, the process differs every time I think it’s always kind of each song has it’s own character and then they’re like little children, you’ve just got to let them grown up. You send them to a private school or a public school, whatever you got to do. I’ve listened to a couple the other day just for fun, there’s some really good, there’re a lot of people out there that really know what they’re doing engineering wise and production wise it’s pretty awesome to hear but yeah. We haven’t done the submissions formally sent to us yet. Yeah I just listened to, people are voting on them now so you can just listen through but yeah it’s cool. It’s a fun thing to do and people like doing that and it’s sort of the song that we’re pushing right now so it makes sense. You know I think everyone should make music if they want to and not everyone can, it’s cool you know. I think that there’s a lot more to listen to, there’s just so much good stuff now it’s like before only the bad stuff didn’t get heard but now there’s so much good stuff that’s not gonna get heard. 20 years from now, they’er are gonna be so many people like there are so many people now DJing stuff like they think they’re so cool cos they sound stuff that no-one’s heard of. I think about 20 years from now there’s gonna be people like digging through this era and find something that
was made in a basement that was on the internet and no-one ever visited the website people that dig it up, it’s like God people are gonna be such music snob assholes.