Photo: Katie Panzer
If there’s a better way to end a year than with a killer show, SLUG knows it not. We’re fucking slaying it with three amazing local groups for December’s Localized. The talent ranges from the acoustic to the dark neo-new-wave and to the eclectically electric jazz. On December 10, John-Ross Boyce & His Troubles will open the show with Night Sweats and The Daniel Day Trio headlining an end-of-decade show unlike any other.
Daniel Day Trio
Daniel Day – Drums
David Bowen – Bass
Mike Sasich – Guitar
It’s a good indicator of how awesome a show will be when a bandleader begins the discussion about their Localized performance by promising “things that you’ve never seen a band do.” Fireworks, maybe? Daniel Day won’t say, but the quixotic glint in his drummer’s eyes evokes a giddy feeling.
The bar is set pretty high, but this in-demand group can say shit like that and back it up. They’re the fucking Daniel Day Trio (DDT). They’re booked almost every day of the week in—and out of—state. For an all-instrumental group they have real groupies, ones that travel to see them. But why such interest in a trio, one oft-lumped into the jazz genre? Day is a part of that—though bassist David Bowen has been a solid asset during the group’s five-year existence, they now recently added guitarist Mike Sasich (¡Andale!, Thunderfist) who played on and engineered the DDT’s first album Champions (2010).
Day has a lengthy history in the local music scene and paid his dues at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, which Day calls a “childhood dream.” It wasn’t easy though—Day remembers spending up to six hours in a practice room studying and perfecting just one drum stroke. However, according to Day, the exposure to “top-players” of the world inspired and still influences his style. “It humbled me and made me push myself to be the best I could be. I still draw on that. If I get complacent or bored or something I try to remember that environment and put myself there and work my ass off,” Day says. Some might equate a drummer known for jazz and Berklee training as being a stuck-up asshole, and those “some of you” might be wrong. “We’re not pretentious or hung up on anything—we don’t give a fuck. We just want to reach people. We don’t care who they are, we just want to share music,” Day says.
Day has been sharing it in the valley since the 90s with local groups like Iceburn. He also did some time in NY in the avant-garde jazz scene. Though his styles might have morphed, Day still feels current. “There’s definitely been a shift. I don’t really feel like this band isn’t forging ground just like the others were,” Day says. You can hear it listening to their first album, Champions, filled with covers (“Bizarre Love Triangle,” “Imagine,” “Heart Shaped Box,” et cetera) and a few originals. It emanates a nice, relaxed feeling without putting you to sleep. While listening to the trio live the music is much more dynamic, as Day melds a Lady Gaga song with an old Bowie track, utilizing a “tension and release”-style attack Day describes as a “mashup” and proof of DDT’s forging of new ground.
“I’ve gotten more intelligent and found a vehicle that allows me to experience that sense of pioneering and satisfaction from creative development that the other groups like Cosm and Iceburn allowed me to achieve and experience.” Day says, “I experience that in this group too. We continue to challenge ourselves. And the whole mashup element is really edgy for a live ensemble to pursue.”
The next LP is going to include elements of their previously recorded work and this new, more avant-garde, “live” take on the genre. Though he’s tight-lipped about the second album they’re recording, Day reveals they’ve laid down over 20 tracks at Kitefishing studios that they’re really excited about fucking around with. “We’re basically mimicking, or influenced by, what the cutting-edge club DJs are doing with live mash-ups and mixing tracks,” says Day. Think live mix-downs of jazz music and you might have an idea of where this group is headed with their 2011 release.
When asked about what he does in life, what keeps his spirit alive, “music” was the answer. Music in all its forms, from booking, arranging and planning. This cat is a genuine workhorse of the music business. This is foreign to a lazy ass like me. But Day? “I still love it,” he said. “We stay challenged, I keep raising the bar for what we’re achieving on our live sets and our artistic direction. It’s continually being updated.” And the awesomeness to be unleashed Dec. 10 at Urban Lounge, “What will it be?”
“SLUG readers must attend the show to find out,” Day says with a smile.
Scott Selfridge – Vocals/Bass
Mike Drone – Synths
Stephen Chai – Keyboards/Saxophone
Shane Asbridge – Drums
Chris Murphy – Keyboards/Percussion/Guitar
Terrence Warburton – Guitar
Salt Lake City’s Night Sweats are rad. So rad that the songs I recorded on my memo device, then downloaded after a recent practice, are now on my phone. And I listen to them for more than just research. I only had time to catch four of their pieces and I can’t wait until Localized to enjoy more. Salt Lake City hasn’t had a multi-talent band like this since Vile Blue Shades was regularly gyrating and stumbling about the valley.
The guys have been in so many incestuously local bands that Stephen Chai joked about his recently deceased band Mammoth, saying his other project, Laserfang, “ate Mammoth’s soul and became stronger.”
“I think we ate Vile Blue Shades’ soul,” Shane “Noshane!” Asbridge says of Night Sweats. The sweaty sextet has been playing together in various projects for years. “There’s like a half-degree of separation between all of us,” says Chai. The band sounds like what ex-, and current, members from local groups as varied as Red Bennies, Tiny Lights, Giant, the aforementioned VBS and various electronic acts might make.
All that inbreeding is as fucking radical as local fans want it to be. Scott Selfridge leads the group with vocals/bass as he brings to bear his long experience in the Bennies, Mike Drone pumps out percussion/synth, the aforementioned Chai plays keys/sax, Asbridge bangs drums, Chris “Controller/Quiet Thunder” Murphy plays keys/percussion/guitar and Terrence Warburton sports his standard guitar.
It seems like a night terror to wrangle those egos, not to mention a scheduling headache the other bands require, but these guys are pretty low-key. “There’s not a single leader in the band,” Selfridge says. “It’s really constructive and the music kinda follows our personalities where we’re able to communicate really well together so that when we have an idea we’re all good enough at playing that we can execute it really fast and kill it, or promote it as may be. We all seem to be really emotional people so we’re kind of guided by our hearts with the music,” Selfridge says.
It seems like the band has as hard of a time as I do with nailing down their “sound” in words. Chai started humming in answer after I asked him that worst of all the questions in the music journalism canon. “When we get done playing a show people either say we sound like Morrissey or ‘you guys are like Joy Division’ or just that post-punk era,” Selfridge says. “I kind of think we sound like A Certain Ratio, which is kind of like this new wave, dark, broodish, percussive band that was kind of paralleling Joy Division—it has that dance feel, but borders gothic music, but it’s not as weird or identifiable. We could play a gothic show, but we’re nowhere near gothic music. We’re more of a rock band,” Selfridge says. The band agrees that the goths would certainly hate them.
Drone makes a point about the beauty in their work, describing songs in the working stages as being “really pretty.” He says, “Everything’s still dark, but we have a lot of prettiness to our stuff. I think Scott nailed it—we’re all pretty emotional instrumentalists and that really shows in what we do. We don’t really try to sound like anything. We try to evoke an emotion.”
After hearing a few of their songs, I concur with their summations. Though only eight shows deep in their performance repertoire at the time of the practice I recorded, their session was more polished than most local bands could ever hope to achieve at their peak live periods. A typical song begins with arpeggiators perfectly arrayed, four percussionists well-synchronized, Warburton’s delay in accord and a thumping bass line held down via Selfridge Then out of nowhere, a mysterious effected horn sound emanated from Chai’s station, drawing attention to the saxophone he is bleating into a processor arrays’ microphone. Those small additions, each keyboardist, and the multi-instrumentalist contributions amount to several “holy shit” moments. It’s a deep sound, a pulsing, vibrating rhythm they create: An organic/electronic-gasm.
“I feel like we do have the sound already, now it’s a matter of writing more,” Asbridge says of the future of their noise. Though the guys are gearing up to record an EP late December/early January of 2010/2011 they aren’t too interested in touring or making any money, apparently. They all have day jobs, ranging from call centers to design firms to restaurants. Music is a creative outlet and one they’ve all been good at for many, many collective decades. It’s refreshing to see a band in it just for the music, playing shows as they come, and making amazing tracks in the meandering meantime.
See the confluence of decades worth of experience at this month’s Localized, December 10 at Urban Lounge (241 South 500 East). As usual, a pocket-friendly $5 gets you into what will be one of the most interesting Localized shows of the year, and the last of our amazing 2010 showcase of local talent. Help us welcome a new year and celebrate the end of a great decade for SLUG and SLC music with The Daniel Day Trio, Night Sweats and opening band John-Ross Boyce & His Troubles.