Matthew Montgomery from MusicGeek.org interviewed Drew Danburry after a March 14, 2007 concert in Santa Clara, Utah. Danburry talked about his experience performing in the French Alps, his musical influences, and his thoughts about live music.
Why do you make the music you do?
Initially, I did it because I’ve always really, really liked music. I think at one point at one point my friend and I were listening to some song in his car and I was singing along like I always would. I was like ‘yeah!’ but I said it really flippantly, ‘Yeah! I should be in a band. I could do this’ and he was like ‘You really could, Drew.’ It kind of stuck with me. I can’t play guitar or anything, but maybe I’ll just start a band with a keytar, which I did. That’s kind of how it started. We wanted to do things and have. Essentially that’s what happened. Things just kind of rolled, they had a really a natural feel to things.
We said, “well, we’re in a band, and we have these songs we’ve written, let’s record a demo.” Then we said, “well, we have a demo, let’s send it places and see what people think, and maybe get out of Utah,” so we did that. Then all of a sudden we were touring, and I was like “I really like this touring, this is fun.” It was a really interesting experience. It steamrolled from there to the way things are now.
Now, I essentially believe in Meliorism, That’s kind of what motivates me. Even if somebody wants to come to a show and be entertained and be happy for a while and have fun and be silly, or if they’re looking deeper and looking at things and thinking about what’s going on, or if they’re being pensive and thoughtful about the things I’m saying, whatever they want to take from it is up to them. I’m definitely putting things out there.
What are your major influences, musically?
Recently, I’ve been on a major 1930s kick and one-hit-wonders kick. I’ve been on a big kick like that. Overall, throughout my life? Let’s see. For example, my favorite bands in high school were Wu Tang (Clan) and Weezer. My favorite bands a few years ago were probably Reggie and the Full Effect and Bright Eyes. My favorite bands now, I don’t even know. Probably The Shins, I know they’re up there, but I’m just saying that because we listened to The Shins earlier today. For example, and I’m not trying to brag or be annoying, but I have over 15,000 songs on my iTunes, so I have a really vast musical palate.
How did the show go tonight?
It was really fun. I like how laid-back it was.
Do you see laid-back shows a lot?
It just depends. Essentially, the more you book your own tours, the more you know how to book your own tours. I knew what I was getting into when I booked this show. Maybe not 100 percent, but essentially, I knew it was going to be in a house, I knew there were probably going to be 20 or 30 people maybe and we would just be unplugged. I knew it would be really simple, the way I like it.
If it was in a venue with a bunch of local bands and some promoter I didn’t know, I wouldn’t have to deal with some snotty local bands or people talking over us, because it’s a house show. People come because they want to listen.
Do you prefer house shows over venue shows?
Show-wise, yeah, but it’s always harder to get enough money from house shows. To make all those shirts and CDs, I just went $8,000 or $9,000 in debt. Essentially when I’m booking all the new and recent shows, I’ve been getting guarantees of around $100, but with house shows you can’t do that. You can’t impose on somebody’s hospitality and say, “Dude, I need $100,” when in reality it’s like, “Dude, we had an awesome show, and please donate. There are 20 people, just donate $5 and we’re good,” which may or may not work.
What are your thoughts about the recent live shows in France, where you recorded the new live album?
Europe was amazing, it was phenomenal, it was so much fun. There were some really horrible shows, too, but in general, people were up in arms about it. The first show on the Live in France! Album — the second show was kind of more laid back, we’re in a back yard with the French Alps. We’re hanging out and the mountains are behind us and we’re just hanging out on the lawn, totally casual. Compared to the other show, which was underneath a bar and there were like 30 or 40 people there, it doesn’t even translate on the CD. It was just so epic. Just the fact that we played the “Hello to you girl, goodbye heart” chorus two times, and they kept asking for more, I’ve never had two encores in my life, let alone an encore in the United States. Almost every other night we were getting encores, like, “No, don’t stop, keep playing!” and we’re like “What’s going on?” we didn’t get it.
Drew Danburry performed live in Santa Clara, Utah on March 14, 2007.
Above: Drew Danburry performs in the France Alps