virtual interview with guitarist David Daniell



Who are you?

My name is David Daniell. I'm a guitarist. I've been playing with a guitar/guitar/drums trio called San Agustin for the last 10+ years, with releases on Family Vineyard and Table of the Elements . The last few years I've been focusing on solo electric guitar.

Where are you from?

I grew up in a small town called Vidalia , in south Georgia. It's about halfway between Macon and Savannah. There was a huge onion field across the road from my house for much of my childhood. In 1991 I moved to Atlanta, where I played heavy post/math-rock in a band called Barrel for a number of years. In 1996 or so, the bassist from Barrel ( Andrew Burnes ) and I started San Agustin , with myself and Andrew on guitars and Bryan Fielden on drums. Andrew and Bryan still live in Atlanta; I moved to NYC in 2000, then to Chicago in mid-2006.

What do you do?

Lots of different things. My solo guitar work is lately focusing on layers of textures and drones with references to the blues and the legacy of guitarists such as Sandy Bull , John Fahey , Sonny Sharrock ... My live music is almost entirely improvised (though I've also written large ensemble pieces for acoustic instruments, minimalist work in the Terry Riley sense of the word); my solo recordings are through-composed, but using improvised elements as building blocks.

Since moving to Chicago I've been playing in a duo with Doug McCombs (of Tortoise , Brokeback , Eleventh Dream Day ). I've also spent the last couple of years working with composer Rhys Chatham and with drummer Jonathan Kane (the original drummer of the Swans ).

Also, in 2002 James Elliott (a.k.a. Table of the Elements artist " Ateleia ") and I started a record label, Antiopic . Our most recent releases are a 3" CD of the guitar trio of Tetuzi Akiyama, Oren Ambarchi and Alan Licht ; and a double CD release of the work of Alvin Lucier, performed by bass clarinetist Anthony Burr and cellist Charles Curtis.

Why do you do what you do?

That's a tough one, I really don't know if I can give a very insightful answer. I enjoy art that plays with the perception of time - and I think music is the very best way to do this. The passing of time is the big undeniable fact of living, after all. So, working with long-form music, repetition, drones, etc, as well as with references to styles and sounds which may be naggingly familiar but unplaceable, all these are tools for screwing around with an audience's (and my own) experiential sense of here-and-now vs. the moments passing by.

What are you working on?

The big focus for me lately has been developing and expanding my live performance set. After the current short tour of the west coast, I head to Europe for a month.

I've also been working on a recording project with Jeremy Lemos (of White/Light) and making plans to record the duo with Doug McCombs . A new solo album is in the works as well.

What’s next?

After the west coast dates (San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Arcata, Portland, Seattle) I go back to Chicago for a couple of weeks. During that time there are two San Agustin shows in Chicago (first time this band has played in Chicago) and I have a solo show in Milwaukee. Then like I wrote above, I'm gone to Europe for the month of February - Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium and Switzerland. By the time that's over, the worst of the Chicago winter should be nearly gone...

When will you be here?

January 14th at Jambalaya. Starving Weirdos are on the bill (and they put together the show - many thanks) as is Michael Fles' project "Sahaja".


main website:

also you can find me at Front Porch Production

and here's Antiopic, the record label I run.

Anything else you want to add?

Nothing I can think of. Thanks again.

- david daniell

David Daniell poster


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