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Interview With Daniel Lee Kendall

Earlier today I caught up for a coffee and a chat with the Central Coast’s Daniel Lee Kendall, who has had a very busy year so far, releasing his second EP and touring around the country with bands such as Hungry Kids Of Hungary and Georgia Fair. He was just as likable in person as he is as a musician.

APYS: How have you enjoyed your time in Melbourne so far?

DLK: It’s been good, I really like Melbourne.

APYS: You’re currently touring with Hungry Kids of Hungary, that must be exciting. How have the shows been going?

DLK: They’ve been good, I wasn’t really expecting much seeing as I was the first on out of four acts. I was thinking I’d get like ten people, but there were nice little crowds there. They’ve been really great so far.

APYS: Do you find there are any problems with translating your music to these bigger venues?

DLK: Sometimes, yeah. It can be hard to get everyone’s attention, but I suppose that’s something you have to be prepared for when you’re playing as a support act, you can’t expect everyone to listen straight away.

APYS: Have you played many shows in Melbourne?

DLK: I think about four overall.

APYS: Yeah I did see you earlier this year with Georgia Fair, how did that co-headline tour go?

DLK: It went really well. It was a lot of fun at the smaller venues like crowded cafes, and they’re great guys, I get along with them really well.

APYS: You finished that show with a cover of ‘A Horse With No Name’ on stage with Ben and Jordan, which you’ve also put up on Youtube- whose choice was that song?

DLK: We were actually going to do a Dylan song at first, but it sort of didn’t suit the vibe. I think we just threw around a random tune and it kind of stuck, I thought it ended up working very well.

APYS: And you also did a cover of Passion Pit’s ‘The Reeling’ during your own set, which I thought was a very interesting choice for an acoustic set.

DLK: I’m a big fan of dance music generally, and I love Passion Pit. Back in the 60s and 70s doing covers was such an accepted thing, but it’s sort of died out a bit, and I never used to feel like doing covers because I thought it made you less legitimate as an artist. But I realised that was silly, so I looked at some potential covers and thought the lyrics of this track were really cool and it just worked well for me.

APYS: I also noticed that during ‘Lost In The Moment’ a couple of people in the crowd started laughing during your whistling and kind of put you off- does that happen a lot?

DLK: Yeah it has happened a couple of times. Whenever I’m in a sort of funny mood and I hear someone singing along in the crowd it kind of puts me off, and I just think it’s funny. And once you start laughing when you’re whistling you’ve got no chance.

APYS: You’ve just released your second EP ‘Talk The Night Away’, can you tell me the story behind that?

DLK: It’s not much of a story really, it’s just a collection of songs from a larger pool of songs. I just grabbed a bunch that I thought worked well together and showed a whole range of different styles while still keeping my own style in mind. I just wanted to get songs out as quickly as possible I suppose.

APYS: When I listened to the EP I found it very bittersweet, was this intended?

DLK: Yeah, that’s an interesting question. I certainly don’t intend it though I suppose, I just kind of write whatever is going on. ‘Hold Me Now’ sounds like a bit of a happy song but the lyrics are actually about loneliness. But then I guess I don’t really think about it too much, I tend to just write the lyrics and match the music later, if it ends up as a pop song that’s just the way it is. So I don’t intend to do it, no.

APYS: All your songwriting is very intimate and honest, I assume it is all written about real people and events?

DLK: Generally there’s always something behind it. Sometimes there will be a thought about another person that isn’t always directly related to me, but there’s always some truth there.

APYS: Have you ever had someone recognise a song was written about them?

DLK: Yeah, it’s happened a few times. The first time I played ‘Gone’ live my ex-girlfriend was in the crowd, so that was pretty awkward. But I suppose you live and you learn.

APYS: Have you found that the recording process has differed much from your first EP?

DLK: It’s pretty much stayed the same. I just muck around at home and do all my little bits and pieces there and then bring it into the studio and use all the good gear with a second set of ears to polish it up and make it shine.

APYS: So like you said before you tend to write lyrics first and the music?

DLK: Lately it seems to be going that way, although it’s not always like that. Sometimes I might have a tune in my head but it doesn’t always stay the same and it can just help me to write a rhythm which can allow me to actually sing the song. There’s definitely no set procedure.

APYS: How did you first get into writing your own music?

DLK: Well I was in a little band and I tried writing things with them for a while, but it was pretty unsuccessful. Then that broke up and I was on Garageband just making some silly music and I ended up trying to write an acoustic song with some lyrics and it kind of worked. I guess I just gave it a go.

APYS: Who are some of your favourite bands to listen to at the moment?

DLK: At the moment I’m loving The Doors and I’ve just recently discovered Tom Waits which is great, and for the last six months I’ve been on a Bob Dylan trip through history lane. So I’d say they’re the ones on my iPod at the moment.

APYS: Did you see Dylan this Australian tour?

DLK: I did, I saw his Sydney show. It was pretty great, I just wanted to see him flesh, and I walked down the front to make sure that I actually see him. I went with no expectations I suppose, I guess if you went actually wanting a Dylan concert you might have been disappointed.

APYS: How have your family and friends responded to your success?

DLK: They really enjoy it. My Dad still writes a fair bit of poetry so he loves seeing the stuff I write. And mum’s a mum, she’s proud of everything I do.

APYS: And finally, what does the rest of the year hold in store for you?

DLK: Hopefully plenty more shows, and then working towards an album as well. I’ll release it as soon as it feels right. I’m thinking we might include some of the songs from the EPs, treating them more as singles. But I guess we’ll just wait and see how it goes.

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4 Responses to “Interview With Daniel Lee Kendall”

  1. Nice interview. I really haven’t given his work much of a listen but will check him out a bit more now.

  2. Nice work Lachy! DLK has been my pop-crush since I saw him at Big Sound Live last year – can’t wait to catch him again!

    • Thanks Bianca, I’m looking forward to his next shows as well. He mentioned he’s probably going to do a headline tour sometime soon.

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