Interview with Daniel Maiden-Wood.
Chris and I were lucky enough to get to ask the amazing Dan some questions this week which was very exciting for us. We talked about his influences, favourite things, touring, whether Anna still does his eyeliner, and more…
What music do you listen to?
I am very obsessed/enchanted with the music of drummer/composer, Dave King. He plays in many bands of different genres, my favourite being; The Bad Plus, Halloween Alaska, Happy Apple and Love-Cars.
Raised on motown (mum) and prog rock (dad). I am also big on; Radiohead (except the newest album… Kinda sucked), Jeff Buckley, Bjork, Wilco, Smashing Pumpkins and just really got into Gotye. His newest album is super eclectic in the best way an album can be, for me.
What is your favourite tour story? Has there been a Spinal Tap moment (I mean funny stories from tour, I realise for a drummer a Spinal Tap moment is a bizarre, inexplicable death!)?
I’m pretty sure we’ve all got lost trying to find the stage a few times, haha. There aren’t many crazy tour stories to speak of really. Listening to Nick Cave and bands tour stories would be ‘a tour story’ itself. Those dudes used to be crazy, haha.
What is your favourite country you have visited while on tour?
Do you prefer to play festivals or individual concerts? Do you try to catch any of the other acts, if so who?
Individual concerts, although I have been enjoying festivals much more this year. The nature of a festival schedule means we rarely get to do much more than turn up, play and leave! Tried to catch Gotye in Auckland, but I got too wasted/sun stroked/jet lagged… So I went back to the hotel :/
Do you have any special talents (aside, of course, from drumming)?
I can make my eyes flicker really fast. I retain a lot of useless movie trivia - if you need to know what year a film was made, I will probably know.
What do you think are the best and worst aspects about being in the music industry? And of touring?
The best (for both) would be being able to make a living out of what I love to do (cliché, but very true). The worst would be the landscape of the music industry itself at the moment. It seems it’s still going through some serious growing pains in the digital age of music availability, which ultimately ends up hurting the artist the most. Worst touring aspect would be all the time you spend in airports. I hate airports.
If you had any, who were your earliest musical influences? Are they still the same now? Particularly, which other drummers do you admire, and which have influenced or inspired you?
Earliest musical influence would be Stuart Cable of Stereophonics. I was 12 or 13 when I started drumming, and straight ahead rock beats was all I could really compute. He made the kit sound good and looked crazy when he played. I liked that.
Then in my mid teens…. Travis Barker (of..ahem.. Blink 182). I listened to him over and over. A one dynamic drummer, but I learnt a lot of dexterity (and speed) in the process. Was big into Abe Cunningham (deftones) and Jimmy Chamberlain (pumpkins) too.
But my biggest influence, as mentioned earlier, would have to be Dave King. Got into The Bad Plus when I was about 18, which changed everything, got me into ‘jazz’ and solidified my idea of wanting to become a professional musician. He is as prolific in his song writing as he is jaw dropping on the drum kit, always retaining an individual voice across all the various projects he is involved with. A true inspiration.
I find your drumming in Jezebel particularly amazing, but what is your favourite song to play live?
Why thank you :) I do enjoy playing that one live (as long as I have had sleep the night before. It’s fairly relentless and usually at the end of the set). I also love playing Suzanne and I, and The Devil.
I know you co-wrote Moulinette with Anna (perfect song by the way, you should play it more). Do you think you will be collaborating on any more songs in the future?
Why thank you, again! That song was a chord progression I had made on logic. it sounded like a theme tune for a lighthearted, Japanese cop show from the 80’s. It had a kind of disco bass line that would become Anna’s verse vocal melody, and the main chorus melody was played on a vibey synth sound… It was a minute long idea, Anna turned it into a song. Anna tends to write on her own, with any collaboration usually happening at arrangement stage. If we co-write anything else together in the future, I’d imagine it would be the same kind of Moulinette process.
I saw that you like Battlestar Galactica, which happens to be my favourite show… what did you think of the ending?
Battlestar Galactica is amazing, I went to the exhibition at the sci fi and rock museum in Seattle. So much win… I’m just about to start watching it through again! I thought the ending was really cool. That mysterious universal cycle of humanity starting again, our present, was a great concept and a wholly satisfying finale for me.
And Number 6 rocks my face with her hotness. Haha.
What are some of your other favourite TV shows/films/books?
Tv- The Sopranos, The Wire, Curb Your Enthusiasm, It’s Alway Sunny in Philadelphia, South Park(!), Breaking Bad, Dexter, Bo Selecta!, Band of Brothers, The Office (UK), Extras…
Films- Withnail and I one of my faves, I’m a Star Wars guy, Indiana Jones 1&3 ;), Shawshank Redemp., Back to the Future, Eternal sunshine, This is England, Arnold Schwarzenegger films of the 80’s up to last action hero :), the Nolan Batman films are incredible and in less than 24 hours of writing, I will have seen the newest and last in the trilogy! I’m a bit of geek with certain movie franchises.
Books- The Peculiar Memories of Thomas Penman, South of the Border West of the Sun, The Pickwick Papers, Moab is my Washpot, I kind of have to confess to Harry Potter too. I was about 11 when Philosopher’s Stone came out, so I really grew up with those books..!
What other jobs have you had before becoming a drummer?
Before drumming I was mainly an assistant to carpet fitters i.e. I would tear up old carpets all day, carry things around and general manual labour. I also had stints in pubs, clothes shops, call centres and teaching.
You mentioned on Twitter that you got into drumming through South Park. How on earth? An explanation is required!
Haha. So, when it first came out, it was huge with us 12 year olds. I would watch the 1st season (on VHS!!) again and again. Around season 2, they released ‘Chef Aid’, an episode tie in album that was a compilation featuring a load of varied and amazing artists, playing music mostly written by the shows 2 writers (Trey Parker is still one of my favourite songwriters). I was just listening to the swearing interludes. Eventually though, for some reason, the drumming on the track by Rancid caught my ear and I decided I should learn the drums. I asked my parents if I could get lessons, and that was that!
I still love South Park very much.
Did you take lessons, or are you self-taught?
I took lessons after school. A great teacher and jazz player, Richard Newby, taught me. A very patient teacher (I had a very short attention span), and would always keep it interesting. After secondary school, I spent 2 years at ACM in Guildford studying… I think the course was just called DRUMS. haha.
Finally, does Anna still do your eyeliner, and are you allowed to pick your own clothes yet ;)?
Haha! No, I can do my own now! I have almost no idea about style and/or fashion, and never fully appreciated its place in music until I worked with Anna. For the good of the show, I must never be allowed to pick my own clothes.