Dublin based neo-soul artist Danny G & the Major 7ths dropped into MoggBlog HQ to speak about changes in the music industry that should be changed, preference on performing live or recording and dream collaborations.
Introduce yourself (yourselves) and your hidden talent!
I play the traditional Irish black wooden flute. I whip it out during instrumental sections to solo like a madman. It’s my superpower, except it doesn’t save anyone and no one is impressed. People say that it’s not a manly instrument. And I would say to these people, fair enough. There has been a flute revival recently though, which seems to be entirely down to Lizzo and to a lesser extent, Will Ferrell. We’re coming back, baby #bigflutenergy. And when I see drummers and guitarists hauling around equipment to gigs, I feel like I made the right decision…
Do you prefer performing live or recording, and why?
That’s so tough because they’re such different mediums. And the goals are different. Performing live, the focus is on entertaining a crowd. Playing upbeat medleys, changing up the songs, keeping things fresh, choosing some interesting covers, and bringing good vibes and energy from the stage. There’s also the whole aspect of bandleading, bringing in backing vocals and musicians on cues, and letting the band breathe enough to shine individually. There is a magic in live performance, the electric energy in the room between band and audience. Whereas when I’m recording, I can do the impossible, like create a whole world full of endless harmonies. The goal is to transport the listener to a mood you imagine, create a soundscape for them to lose themselves in, so it’s generally a more relaxed vibe. I love the freedom of being able to layer voices without needing to impress a crowd. It’s therapeutic. I love them both equally I think! For different reasons.
If you could change about the music industry, what would it be?
Let’s go further, let’s change society. The problem with the music business is that it’s a decade or two ahead of the rest of the world. Music is essentially free to consume, but it costs a lot of money to make professionally, so that’s the biggest roadblock. I believe art should be free (and we’ve reached that stage already). But everything else should also be free – housing, food, education, healthcare. We have the resources to make all of this a reality, but we’re using an antiquated monetary system that’s holding us back, attaching price to everything. Money is a liability to progress, it causes debt, inequality, war and corruption. Getting back to music, the biggest tragedy is that many artists (myself included) spend the majority of time working a different job, just to pay rent. We end up with less energy or time to focus on doing what we love, making tunes. Think of all the amazing art that could exist if humans were freed from the pointless labour of today’s jobs. And that goes for every single person on earth, not just musicians.
If you could collaborate with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
I feel like choosing dead artists is cheating a bit. But there are so many great artists right now that this is still such a hard question. I’d love to write with Solange. Just to see her process, how she comes up with melodies, ideas, lyrics, grooves. She has access to some higher power and is operating on a different level. Anderson Paak, just to jam with him. He has so much fun when he’s playing and that energy shines through in his music. I have a long list of current artists I dig, and it grows every day. Nao, Jordan Rakei, Lynda Dawn, Quantic, Thundercat, Hiatus Kaiyote, Lizzo, Michael Kiwanuka to name just a few.
What’s the best advice you’d give to your younger self?
Don’t quit the piano! I didn’t like my teacher so I packed it in. One of my biggest regrets alongside never learning how to ride a bike (don’t ask). I’d also tell myself to chill. Especially starting out, don’t take things so seriously. Just do the thing you want to do, make the music you want to make, and don’t wait for anything. Don’t wait for the perfect time because it doesn’t exist. And don’t compare yourself to others, we are all on different stages of the journey. Wow, giving myself advice is simple. Maybe I should take some of it.