Dirty Dozen: Laish

Laish, 2016Danny Green, aka Laish, is set to release his third album Pendulum Swing on Talitres. A set of twelve songs that span the spectrum of gentle fingerpicked acoustic guitar ballads, through to more robust art-rock jams. Laish’s plaintive tenor – rich, deeply textured and affecting – takes centre stage as he sings honest, self-reflective songs of relationships failed and survived.  

Can you tell us about yourself? Where you’re from and what you’ve been up to over the past few years?
I’m Danny Green, I have a musical project called Laish. I live in London, following a six year stint in Brighton. I am about to release my third album, Pendulum Swing, on Talitres label. I have toured pretty endlessly around Europe for the last few years, both solo and with a rotating band. Highlights would include playing End of the Road Festival twice, supporting Junius Meyvant across Europe, touring Italy four times. Playing at the Union Chapel with my a choir. And making a trilogy of music videos for songs from my new album.

How would you describe your music?
A bedroom songwriter with ambitions let loose in a studio and on a stage.

Can you tell us a little bit about your influences?
Radiohead, Beatles and Elliott Smith were early influences followed by Bonnie Prince Billy, Bill Callahan and Grizzly Bear. And then I discovered Leonard Cohen and Neil Young had been at it for decades too. And then Bowie died and I came to realise that he pretty much did everything already.

What are you currently promoting?
My first slab of vinyl, Pendulum Swing, is being unleashed on 4th November. I already have a box of them, and they look, feel and sound beautiful. I feel very proud of this one. The album took over three years to get made, and I poured everything into it. I wanted to make something really satisfying to listen to and I was honest about the sounds and song structures that make my ears excited.

Have you got a particular song you’ve done that you’re particularly proud of, one that might define you?
‘Vague’ has become a favourite of mine. It opens the new album and is a song I have been carrying around for a while and has seen various versions. The song was inspired by ‘Spurious’, a novel by Lars Iyer, who was my philosophy tutor at Newcastle University. It explores two philosophers who resemble Withnail and I, bumbling idiotically through life, aware of the futility of their work and of their failure. Rich themes for a song. I hope it doesn’t define me though.

What are you currently listening to?
Ezra Furman, Andy Shauf, Lisa Hannigan, Persian Pelican, Sufjan Stevens.

And your favourite album of all time, the one you couldn’t do without?
Kristin McClement’s “The Wild Grips.” An incredible album I keep going back to that oozes pure class from start to finish. Kristin’s voice breaks my heart and the arrangements are insane.

What are your hopes for your future career?
I have already done so much more than I ever expected and being in London allows me to feel increasingly ambitious and to dream big. I would love to bring my gang to Green Man festival. I would love to headline the Roundhouse. I would love to pop up on the opening credits of a HBO series. I would love to tour the US. But I write this on the last day of a two month European tour, so right now, I would love to get in my own bed.

If money were no object what would be your dream project?
I have compiled two compilations of cover songs, one for Willkommen Collective and one for We Come Alive. These were musical friends covering each other but in both cases, the whole thing was done via email. I would love to be able to bring together all those people and more to a studio in the countryside for a week and to set about making a huge collaborative album of new work and then to present it as a giant live concert.

What’s the best thing about being a musician?
The best thing is having the ability to bring people together and transform a room into a place where magic can happen, where emotions can be explored and cathartically released. And to be able to also capture that on record. Nothing quite like when someone tells you what your album means to them, how it got them through the hard times.

And the worst?
The worst thing is that your life can become very lopsided. Pursuing music can feel noble and joyous but it is also addictive and addictions are something that must be managed and ultimately overcome. Thinking about the future is hard enough for anyone, but for musicians it is particularly difficult. There ain’t no holiday pay.

Finally, have you anything you’d like to say to the readers of Americana UK?
Going to shows and buying the records afterwards is the most enjoyable and direct way of supporting those who make music. I hope that sounds obvious to you.

 

 

 

 

Author: Rudie Humphrey

Rudie is the weekly host of the syndicated radio show - The Horseshoe Lounge Music Session - playing the best American Roots and hosting terrific live guests.

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