Beck Song Reader Interview: Daniel Ellsworth and the Great Lakes

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Two interviews in one day?! Whhaaaaat? We got a chance to talk with another one of the bands set to perform at our Second Anniversary Show, Daniel Ellsworth and the Great Lakes. In case you haven’t heard yet, we’ll be celebrating our two-year anniversary this Saturday at the Basement with a cohort of amazing artists and bands who will be performing Beck’s Song Reader. Daniel and co. have been busy as of late recording a new album with Grammy Award-winning engineer/producer Vince Powell, but have still found the time to come celebrate with us — which means you have have no excuse not to! Read on to listen to Daniel and co. talk about which song they are preparing, Beck, and their new album.

1. Which song(s) of off Beck’s Song Reader have you guys been working on?

DANIEL: We have been working on ‘Rough On Rats’ and ‘Title Of This Song.

2. Have you ever considered Beck a big influence on your music?

DANIEL: I wouldn’t cite Beck as a big influence on our music, necessarily, but I know that me, along with a couple of the other guys, are HUGE Beck fans.

MARSHALL: Beck as a musician has inspired me personally. He is very inventive and his music is hard to put into a specific genre. I think that’s what makes his music good, it’s hard to categorize and as a band we strive for that as well.

JOEL: Beck is an incredible artist. He’s an influence in that he’s known to be left of center when it comes to his arrangements. He’s big on not being what you expect him to be.

3. Creatively, how do you approach covering a song? Especially in a case such as this where there is no recorded reference point?

DANIEL: Our approach to cover songs is usually: ‘How can we make this song on our own, while still maintaining the integrity of the original?’  The nice thing about covering songs from Beck’s Songreader is that we can really just focus on making it our own.  I think that was sort of the intention behind it.  The musical directions listed in the sheet music are either purposely vague, or Beck being funny.  Either way, with just piano/vocal sheet music, it leaves musical arranging completely up to the band interpreting the song.

JOEL: When it’s just lyrics and melody it’s very easy to take it and make it your own. There’s no concern about whether our version is too similar or too different from the original. Total creative freedom.

4. You guys are currently working on a new album. Where have you guys been recording, and when is the album set to drop?

DANIEL: Yes! We have been recording here in Nashville at Sputnik Sound, with grammy award winning engineer/producer, Vance Powell.  We’ve also been doing some tracking at Gray Matters Studio with engineer/producer, Mike Odmark.  So far, it’s been an amazing experience.  We can’t wait for everyone to hear it.  Our hope is to have the album out sometime this fall.

5. Can you give the fans a few words on why they should be excited to come out and see you play at our Anniversary Party?

TIMON: Life is carnival.

DANIEL: It’s a stacked lineup, and we’re just honored to be a part of it.  To me, shows like this represent what the Nashville music community is all about – coming together to do something unique, exciting, and (hopefully) badass.

MARSHALL: It’s going to be a bunch of talented musicians playing some really interesting music in their own way.

JOEL: We’ve been working on a record pretty much all of 2013 thus far, we’re amped to be performing again. We will be super excited and that should come across in our performance.

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