Before Daniel Park emerging as a solo performer, the former engineering student at New Mexico State University played violin and contributed backing vocals for several years in two well known regional bands. As a solo artist, Park has since headlined regularly at local clubs like El Patio and Hurricane Alley, the Albuquerque haunts the Launch Pad and Rally’s Pub on 4th Street, and in Lubbock, Texas and even Colorado Springs. After seeing him live on stage myself, I knew I had to interview him and share his music with you guys. Read below for the full interview…
Being born in South Korean and raised in New Mexico by adoptive parents, was it hard to adjust growing up? Did taking musical lessons as a child help you have a creative outlet?
Daniel: I feel very blessed to have been adopted by my parents who actually adopted 5 of us from South Korea. Our family was just like any other american family except that my white parents had these five Asian kids running around. They actually adopted 3 of us at the same time, me and my two sisters. I’m sure it was like giving birth to triplets but without having to change diapers. I was almost 5 at the time of my adoption.
My parents had four of us learn the violin when we were young, and we took private lessons for many years. I also was a part of the youth orchestras in middle school and high school. All of this definitely helped me to be the musician I am today. I would wake up at 5:30am and practice for an hour before school, and then sometime after school.
Could you explain the lopping technique and how difficult it is to master?
Daniel: Looping is a technique of finesse and patience. It is a great tool to help a musician be more than just a single “sound”. For the people who don’t know what looping is: It lets someone record on the fly, meaning I could record a guitar riff and then play a guitar solo on top of that guitar riff. I use my looper (sometimes called a phrase sampler) to record my guitar, drums (i bang on my guitar to make the beats), and violin. Looping is hard to master and takes a lot of practice to get used to. Most people aren’t used to hearing sound come out of a speaker when they stop playing. So once you recorded your loop, you have to already know what else you are going to play right away. It’s really a mind game.
Could you describe your creative process behind your lyrics? Are they stemmed more from personal experiences or are you trying to capture a message to unleash to the world?
Daniel: When I first started writing my own songs I would write from my own personal experiences but over time I realized that my personal experiences don’t really reflect on the general population. So now when I write a song, I try and think though the eyes and shoes of other people that would have these similar experiences.
Most of the time I get an Idea for a song, or a concept. Sometimes It’s a story idea, or I just a cool lyrical line. And it goes from there. Music has always been easy and fun for me so I have an endless supply of guitar chords and riffs to try. Sometimes to really capture the best you can from a potential song, it is really important to “marry” the music and lyrics together. For instance, when writing a song that is talking about being having a happy childhood and swinging on a swing set, I wouldn’t choose slow, minor chords. I would play something more upbeat with major chords and a positive melody.
You played in a number of bands before venturing into solo acts. Was it a difficult transition for you to take the spotlight at first?
Daniel: Actually I had no problem being in the spotlight. I was performing in front of crowds since I was a young so I didn’t get nervous playing in front of people. In a band everyone has their place, like a baseball team. If the whole team tried to catch the ball at the same time, not only would it look ridiculous, but there would just be chaos and no one would catch the ball in the confusion. On the same note, I knew my place in the band and I would play that role well. But of course I always wanted to be in the spotlight so eventually I went and did my own thing.
You mentioned one of your bands was having problems staying together as a group. Does this mean you probably won’t be joining any groups in the future? Do you see yourself as a solo artist from here on out?
Daniel: I have had problems in the past with bands. What I have discovered is that everyone wants something different from the band, and it is rare to find people who have a common goal of making the most out of it and seeing it through to the end. I have always put my heart and soul into every band that i’ve been in, but sometimes when I did that I would be taken for granted. So that is a big reason I went out on my own. I am a hard worker and it’s hard to work with others that don’t take it as serious. I probably won’t be join any groups, although in the future I will probably hire some band mates to help me play some big shows!
What are your top 3 ninja moves of all time?
Lastly, tell us about ‘Coffee and Tea’ and what people can expect from your ongoing tour.
Daniel: Well “Coffee and Tea” is one of my newer songs that isn’t recorded yet but will be on my next record. Its a simple chord structure with a Jason Mraz/Jack Johnson feel that puts anyone listening in a enjoyable mood. The song talks about someones day: just waking up and needing something to get going in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening. But the real big push is the chorus when it talks about drinking with friends. It doesn’t matter what kind of drink it is but it seems like there are really great conversations with family and friends when you are drinking together. And that’s the premise of “Coffee and Tea”.
I am always traveling so people in the crowd should expect to hear some music in there ear canals that they have never heard before. And expect to listen to a voice that doesn’t match his appearance.
Want to keep tabs on Daniels upcoming tour dates, upcoming videos and songs? Follow his cookie crumb trail below: