Interview: Drew Danburry

All around good guy Drew Danburry jabbers to HEAVE about music, movies and skateboarding through fires.

You are missing out if you haven't listened to Drew Danburry. Simply sensible and brutally honest, Danburry writes music about his friends and for his friends. Luckily for us, he considers everybody a friend.

HEAVE: Every review I've read about your live show and your albums talk about how happy you seem to be while making music. How much joy does music bring you?

Drew Danburry: How could I even quantify something like that? That's a rough question. It's like trying to argue who likes Pop Tarts more or who's a bigger fan of Prince or something. I love music, but to try and set an amount or explain what it means to me seems like it would be a futile effort. Just like any relationship it's developed. It's never been or felt the same ever. It's always changing. And so many times my experiences with music are different. Where in times past when it was just me and my guitar interacting with the crowd and cracking jokes and having fun, it's a completely different thing now with the full band. It's easy for me to reminisce about how great some of those early shows were, but when it comes down to it, I think the best music I'm making and playing is the latest stuff, and I think (and hope) it will always be that way. And with all that in mind, I don't think I could ever be happier about music and playing with the band we have organized which if you didn't know officially includes myself (vocals, guitar, harmonica) Elliot Maldonado (vocals, guitar), Zach Burba (vocals, bass) Travis Bunn (drums) and Scott Fletcher (drums). It's the most amazing feeling I've ever felt and it breaks my heart that we can't take it on the road or have people experience it outside the southwestern area of the United States.

HEAVE: On the other side of that, how frustrating is it to be an artist that has to fund everything on your own?

DD: The last tour (last summer) was when we put the band together and I think it was the biggest source of my frustration because we were working so hard and I really strongly felt like the shows we were playing were so much better than I had ever been a part of and I wanted so bad for people to see it and for some reason, it just was not a very successful tour. We ended up struggling so much financially and had just setback after setback, coupled with a whole lot of really horribly promoted shows.

I think I was reading an mp3 blog and this guy was reviewing a band that he had just found and amidst his flurry of finding out about his new absolute favorite band he realized they had just broken up. And it's not like we broke up, in fact, the band is more solid than ever, but there were a lot of reasons as to why I needed to stop touring and kind of take a break from living off of music. Some of them were to try and rejuvenate my failing health from having traveled and just in general put my body through so much over the last few years. Some of it was spiritual because I really just wasn't feeling like the road was making me a better person.

I decided to take a break and focus on me for a bit and I'm doing so well now that I don't have the stress of tour organization acting as a noose around my neck. I have no idea what the future will hold but I promised myself that I'm going to do what makes me happy, so if someone wants to make my life easier, awesome. But otherwise, I'm planning on just releasing everything on my own and I'm happy to do so.

HEAVE:What is the latest update on the album? Will we be seeing it anytime soon?

DD: So far the plan is to put out an EP by Christmas 2007 and then put out the new album early 2008. Then I think there are two more EPs and two more full-length albums that will be released over the next, well I don't know. We'll just see how things go. I have plenty of albums done, just not the money to release them. All the albums have gotten stockpiled over the years from lack of funds, but yeah, at this point, there are two albums, three EPs and one album is currently being written and the recording is already underway. Whew, that was way too much information, why would anyone care to read all this about me? I'm being so boring and matter of fact.

HEAVE: There's honesty in your writing, and interviews, that seem unrivaled by most. How does your songwriting process go?

DD: Well, usually I just kind of let the song come to me. I can't remember how songs were written in the past, but nowadays I tend to play a lot with words and I'll usually find a tune in my head and regurgitate it into a melody that I can fill in with a lot of carefully placed words. Sometimes I spend days on just the lyrics, and sometimes I just go with whatever is in my head. Sometimes I'll just use whatever comes to mind and other times I'll play with the words and research ideas and phrases and read the dictionary. Yes, I really read the dictionary. I don't think songwriting has ever been like that for any of the previously released albums, I think on Introduction to Sex Rock, and Besides..., well I'm really proud of both those albums, but I guess I just think that the music I'm about to put out is better and more mature, and more thought out. In the past, I kind of just was straightforward about how I felt, and now I generally tend to use words to try and create layered meanings. So it can mean something to anyone, something to my close friends who understand certain phrases and words and something for just me, and nobody else.

HEAVE: You have a lot of crowd interaction at your shows. What is the craziest or funniest thing that has ever happen to you while performing?

DD: I kind of touched upon this earlier, about how early on there was a lot of crowd interaction, and now it's more focused centrally on each other as a band so that we are rocking out and feeding off each other's energy. But earlier there were a few special experiences that included "Heads Up, 7up" and songs I wrote that I changed into Madlibs and there were a few times where we took shows out into the street or onto the top of my car and there were jump kicks galore, oftentimes on top of or off of my car.

I used to work with mentally handicapped adults and there was one guy who would always come to my shows in Utah and it would be the best time ever because he was always so excited and happy to be around so many people and he'd always come on the stage and sing along with me even if he didn't know the words. He would just be so excited - it was absolutely magical. Usually it kind of just happened. It was the moment that would just guide the behavior; it wasn't ever planned.

Generally I think we just have so much fun playing, that that's what we do. We don't need to wear silly outfits or have any gimmicks or have music videos of us dancing on treadmills to feel good about what we do. You know what I mean? The music is solid, the live shows are solid and I've never felt better about playing ever. I don't need to play "Heads up 7up" anymore for people to remember us.

HEAVE: You played Pop Montreal in September. How did that go?

DD: Awesome. I love Montreal. And the women there are so lovely to adore, such good style. I so wanted to kiss someone in that city.

HEAVE: You had an instance where someone on Myspace took your music and claimed it as their work. What exactly happen?

DD: My friend messaged me and said he came across a guy who was selling my music, so I went to the link and saw he had uploaded the first five tracks off of "Besides..." and didn't even change the names of the songs. He just claimed them as his own. And so I emailed him, asking him what he was doing and saying the least he could do is credit me for the songs I wrote. He deleted his page within the day.

I can't even remember the guys name, but it was funny to me especially because I couldn't get over the fact that the guy thought he would make money off my music, maybe he did. The whole time I was just thinking, "Man, you're an idiot! If I can't make a living off my own music, what makes you think you will?" I should have just said that, and then sued him. Just kidding, but it was weird to me. I'm just a nobody you know? It's not like I'm popular or famous, I'm just a guy who makes music and has been lucky enough to travel with it for a while, so for anyone to think my music is good enough to try and rip off and sell, well...that's flattering.

HEAVE: You get your "big break" and are told you can go on tour with any band. What band is it?

DD: Anyone in my Myspace top friends would do. I really would love to tour with Harry and the Potters again. But, whether it's Aubrey Debauchery, Iji, Lilu Dallas, The Robot Ate Me, TaughtMe, Seve vs. Evan, Lydia, Deertick, Arrah and the Ferns, Grampall Jookabox, JP Haynie, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, or anybody in my top friends, that would be amazing. I love all those people very very much, and especially their music.

HEAVE: Your song "Julia Gulia Sounded Horrible To Me Too" is entirely about your love for Drew Barrymore. Could this relationship work?

DD: Never, but I do secretly love her just a little bit. And even though I know it would never work, we do have the same name. It would be the coolest! Why do you know her?

HEAVE: What are you listening to these days? See any good movies?

DD: Darjeeling Limited was so good. My favorite movies when I was like eight were The Wizard and The Natural. I also really liked Dead Poets Society growing up and Searching for Bobby Fischer still amazes me as a storytelling film. I think it is so well made. Ping Pong is probably my favorite movie of all time but I'm really excited for the upcoming Baz Luhrmann movie and I'm really interested to see what Jared Hess ends up doing next. I don't know. The film industry is super huge, there's always so much going on and it's kind of hard to keep up, let alone care about everything going on.

I've been listening to a lot of mellow stuff like JP Haynie, Owen, Will Oldham, Monsters of the Sea, Jeff Owens, Big Star, Yann Tierson and some other random stuff. I made these mix CDs this summer that tell a story that are really fun. I have over 16,000 songs on my Itunes, so I tend to go overboard with listening to anything and everything. You know, like the Malealea Band or Kitaro or Atmosphere. I like music.

HEAVE: You can appear on the soundtrack of any movie. What movie is it?

DD The original 1987 release of Transformers: The Movie, the only release I acknowledge. Seriously though, any Wes Anderson movie would make me feel so special and absolutely wonderful.

HEAVE: Your house is on fire and you can only grab three things. What are they and why?

DD: I'm assuming this is like a three most important things kind of question. In which case, family comes first; we'll include them as one thing. Then I would grab my hard drive with all the films and albums and other things I've done in the past few years of my life. Then I would grab a fire extinguisher to fight the fire with, unless it's like so out of control it would be pointless to try and fix it, in which case, I would grab my skateboard and get pulled by a car and launch off my driveway and grind the roof as its burning up in flames and then do a hand plant on the backyard wall and pull out into a manual, revert it and then ollie into a nose grind and nollie flip out into another manual and ollie over the side gate back onto the roof and nose slide it ollieing out into the street to get pulled by a car (while manualing so that I keep getting points) that takes me to the neighbors ramp where I'll launch so high into the air I land in the ocean 2 miles away. That's what I'd do.

Danburry's albums are available on Itunes. You can check out his myspace here.

Posted by Wes Soltis on Nov 14, 2007 @ 12:00 am