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INTERVIEW: Danny Cal

Hi Danny, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi VENTS! I’ve been incredible! The weather is getting warmer, I’ve been working on a lot of new music that I’m really excited about…I think Spring is really a time for rebirth, starting fresh, and I’m really trying to channel that positive creative energy in my life right now.

Can you tell us more about the story behind your track ¨Can’t Let You Go¨?

For sure. Can’t Let You Go was the initial brainchild of EGM (producer)—he and I were buddies in college and made a bunch of music together and recorded. He came to me with this new idea to take us in a very high energy, fun, pop direction, and I was totally down. After weeks of writing and rewriting lyrics, recording for hours, and drawing from all of our financial resources and personal mentors, I was finally satisfied with the song. I wanted to be sure this first release really spotlighted who I am, and really told a story that others would be able to relate to. At the core, it’s a song about the person that catches your eye on a night out and you just have to have them.

Did any event in particular inspire the song?

I would say that the song is an amalgamate of those experiences—when I would go out, I’d meet someone and the sound of their voice, the smell of their hair, the way they walked…all those things would have me falling head over heels in love after just an hour or two. Obviously, after the fact, I’d realize they were just what I needed in that moment, or someone that I just had to spend the night with, and that I hadn’t actually met my soulmate. Those experiences and interactions tend to blend into each other and follow that similar arc of emotions: desire, craving, passion, a return to rational thinking—I tried to capture that in this song.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Definitely. I’m a huge fan of what artists are doing these days with their visual content—the production value has gotten so incredibly high—and music videos are really what get people talking about your music. Right now, my head is definitely in the music as I build my identity, and I’m really excited to see how my vision comes together in the form of a video.

How was the recording and writing process?

Very intense. I’m very much a perfectionist which can make things a bit difficult when both you and your producer have strong opinions about how things should sound. It’s a great partnership because we are both so honest with each other, so I’ll say something like “okay, no, that lyric is terrible let’s change it to this” and nobody will be offended. In the same regard, I’m very open to the critique as well which ends in a final product that everyone is truly proud of. I will sometimes record in EGM’s apartment, rather than a studio, which has its advantages and disadvantages. For one, we don’t have to worry about time limits or scheduling, and it’s very comfortable. On the other hand, you don’t have all of the same technology. But these days, some of the best DJs and producers in the world work off their laptops. We really don’t lose the quality there. EGM is so good and works so hard to make sure his work is perfect so I never worry.

In what way has NYC influenced your sound?

I actually grew up in the suburbs of New York and I went to high school at Regis, an all-boys Catholic school on the Upper East Side, so although true New Yorkers would kill me for saying it, I feel in some ways that my most formative years were spent hanging around the city. People say that it’s a very cold, fast-paced, rude culture here, but I don’t see that. I see efficiency and kindness when needed. I think the one difficult thing in NYC is that it’s hard to find things to smile about. The subway is always too slow, there are too many people on the sidewalk, rent is too expensive, it smells, the list goes on and on. In my music, I draw from that efficiency and energy of New York, but try and find melodies, chord progressions, and beats that just force you to smile, that you can’t help but sing along to. There’s so much going on in NYC and I want my songs to channel that activity and blast it up and out—bubbling over the tops of the skyscrapers.

What was it like to work with Ariel Borujow and Sunny Nam? How did those relationships develop?

EGM jumping in here! Once we finished production of the tracks, I wanted to bring in the best of the best. For Mixing, I brought in Grammy-winning engineer Ariel Borujow (Madonna, J.Lo) who, much like adding that perfect Instagram filter, adjusted audio/effect levels to bring out amazing color and clarity in the track! I met him through one of my high school music teachers at a friend’s rooftop party! For Mastering, we brought in Sunny Nam (Frank Zappa, Barry Manilow)- a world-renowned engineer, professor, and mentor of mine from college! He lent his incredible ear in-fine tuning the master levels and adding that final layer of gloss. We’re so grateful to have worked with both of these ncredible people!

How much did they get to influence the album?

Ariel and Sunny came in at the very end of the record-making process, after we were finished with songs and production, to sonically finesse and fine-tune our self-produced tracks to sound their best across all audio platforms. They really did amazing work!!

Does the dual release mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

Back to Danny Cal! I’m working on building an album now. It was so exciting to get this double release out into the world because I’ve really had a lot of traction with it so far. It’s thrilling to know that people like my sound and are eager for more. I love the writing and recording process, but it’s definitely a challenge to keep the ball rolling while struggling to pay rent and never really sleeping enough. The music is the only thing that keeps me sane so I just keep on writing.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

Not yet, you’ll see 😉

Any plans to hit the road?

Definitely! I have two confirmed shows in NYC: Saturday 4/30, 8pm at The Bitter End and Thursday 5/26, 9pm at Leftfield on Ludlow. I recently performed at Rockwood Music Hall to a full house—I premiered some of the new songs I’ve been working on and the audience loved them, so I’m really excited to put everything together.

What else is happening next in Danny Cal´s world?

Outside of music, the biggest thing on my mind right now is this half-marathon my sister signed me up for to run with her. I love running and I’m not afraid of long distances but it’s really hard to find the time for 90 minute runs during the week! I’m very close with my family and we do stuff together all the time, so I’m really looking forward to it. I also just got back from Miami, where I was scoping out the new beats that DJs down there are coming up with. It was my first time there, and I loved it. It was nice to get some real sunshine!

Check out: http://soundcloud.com/dannycalmusic to hear the music!

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, play guitar, music geek, movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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