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A Dirty Dozen with DANIEL GRAVES from AESTHETIC PERFECTION – October 2019

| 5 October 2019 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Addictive industrial pop outfit AESTHETIC PERFECTION is set to kick off the “Into the Black” North American tour this week along with support from Empathy Test and LAZERPUNK. Since forming AESTHETIC PERFECTION nearly two decades ago, producer Daniel Graves has released five full-length albums, numerous singles and music videos, all the while reinventing what it means to be a dark electro artist. Blending industrial, pop, goth, and everything in between, AESTHETIC PERFECTION defies definitions in a world that demands them.” We get singer Daniel to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Lyrically, I try to create as many threads between the songs as possible; little nods to one another that people may not initially pick up on. For example, many of the new songs refer to sleep or dreaming which was a conscious decision. From a sonic perspective, I tend to hide little samples or sounds deep inside the music so that it will only be revealed after multiple listens.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I always wanted to be an entertainer. Before music, I wanted to be an actor. I would try to take every lead in every school play that I possibly could. However, I lived in an oppressive religious household and attended Christian schools. It was only when I was a teenager that the rebellious nature of rock music was revealed to me. It was everything my suffocating life in the Church hated and I was immediately in love. After that, my interest in acting melted away. My singular point of focus shifted to music.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I think, more than anything, Michael Jackson and Marilyn Manson shaped my vision of what a rock star should be. Looking back, I see that it’s the pot of gold end of the rainbow I’ve been seeking my entire career.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Michael Jackson, Marilyn Manson, Queen, Wumpscut and Dave Matthews Band.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

It’s hard to say. You never really know if you mesh with someone creatively until you try. Collaboration is a very delicate process that’s a mixture of personal taste, ego and musical abilities. I prefer to work with people who have vision and a totally different skill set from my own. I think that’s why my collaborations with Krischan Wesenberg, Jinxx and Mick Kenney worked so well. In my gut, I think I’d get a lot out of working with a hip hop producer.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Whenever my Uber drivers ask what my band sounds like I say “heavy pop”. If they prod more I say “it’s like Lady Gaga meets Marilyn Manson”. They usually stop asking questions after that. I’m not too bothered by how fans or journalists choose to describe my work. Music is art and art is subjective.

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Our dynamic is a little different than that. It’s usually Joey and I plotting and figuring out how to take over the world while Elliott tries to solve practical problems on the ground while simultaneously getting completely obliterated. Joe leads with his heart, I lead with my mind and Elliott leads with his… well… let’s just say for us, the pieces fit quite well.

8. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

Every time I’m star struck I’m left disappointed. I’ve found that it really is best not to meet your idols. Older musicians still seem to be lost in the haze of the old industry. One that caters to their every whim and shelters them from criticism. I’ve found them all to be egotistical and deluded. I prefer meeting newer artists who are both creative and business minded.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

If I couldn’t be a musician anymore I’d certainly be a writer. For me, lyrics are the most important part of a song, the music is simply there to support them. Words allow us to weave meaning into existence out of nothing. I love that.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I just wish music journalists would ask more specific questions related to the individual’s work rather than just firing off generic queries that could apply to anyone.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

A few years ago I was performing in Erfurt, Germany, supporting a band called Mesh. I’d played there a few years prior and it didn’t go well. We just didn’t connect with the crowd and it ate at me. I allowed that stress and frustration to get to me, and, in an attempt to not repeat the past, I drank… A LOT. An entire bottle of vodka in fact. All I remember is walking onstage, the lights going up and seeing a packed house in front of me and then… it’s the next morning and I’m in my bunk on the bus with loads of messages from disappointed fans and coworkers. I was absolutely mortified. From that moment on I vowed not to allow the fear to control me and to focus more on myself and my show than ever before. The people that were there even noticed a difference. A close friend of the band once told me: After Erfurt you changed. You’ve been on fire ever since. If I could go back in time I certainly wouldn’t do it differently because it made me who I am, but I have no desire to go through that again.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I’d like to get a peek behind the curtain and see the making of Antichrist Superstar. From what I understand, it sounds like it was a chaotic and toxic environment, but it produced one of the most amazing industrial / rock / metal records of all time.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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