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Damien Binder - Damien Binder Newsletter Interview

02 Apr 2016 // An interview by Shade

Accomplished singer-songwriter Damien Binder has recently released his fourth album A New World, which showcases his effortless ability to swing from soulful hymn-like ballads to moody rock and country-tinged numbers. The ten new songs find him in an expectant and buoyant frame of mind with meditations on destiny hope and rejuvenation. Damien answered the following questions for muzic.net.nz:

How did you become involved in music? 

I was at school with Luke Casey (Eye TV) and he encouraged me to come with him to meet some guys he was jamming with in Titarangi.  That’s where I met Chris Van de Geer (Stellar*) and we went on to form Second Child.

I couldn’t really sing or play but I was super keen to get on the mic and express myself. Obviously they saw something in me so I became the singer.

I knew a few chords so I was pushed (thankfully by Chris) into the second guitar spot and gradually then later through that developed my songwriting. I was the least accomplished musician but playing with others who were streets ahead definitely made me lift my game and learn fast!

We had a good run making a couple of records under that name (Magnet, Slinky) with some different line ups and played some high profile supports: Fugazi, Jesus & Mary Chain, Hunters & Collectors, Rollins Band and Nirvana. We split around 1996.

If you could perform with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

My heroes are many and varied so it’s hard to single one out. I’d like to try and write something with Bruce Springsteen or Jackson Browne – actually just to maybe have a beer with them would be great! Equally there are lesser-known favourites like Bob Mould who was a big influence on me coming up and still listen to, Ron Sexsmith – too many.

Which one of your songs are you most proud of, and why?

I wrote a song called Ships Sail Out on my latest record A New World. It looks back on the first bloom of a relationship, an idyllic time, through to some inevitable ups and downs then ends with a pledge for a future together. I really like how it turned out and it conjures up some vibrant images for me. People really seem to respond to it so I guess it’s done its job. I like different songs at different times. I feel happy with that one now.

How would you describe your music to someone who hasn't heard it before?

It’s kind of classic singer-songwriter stuff really. It’s optimistic while acknowledging some darker stuff. It’s hymn-like at times but not shy of a quirky upbeat turn here and there. It’s melodic though doesn’t always go the way you think it’s going to. I go from minor to major a bit sometimes in the same song.

What can we expect to see from you in the next year? 

I want get A New World heard by as many as possible and hopefully see it reviewed a great deal too. The last record While The Wind’s At Your Back was good but not a lot of people heard it and didn’t get much press despite being reviewed favourably. So my aim is to get it in front of as many folks as possible. I’ve been working on some publicity now.

I’ve just finished a new video for the title track A New World and a few weeks ago and I did an interview and performed 3 songs on Marty Duda’s 13th Floor webcast series in Auckland on a recent visit.

I’m making another video in a couple of weeks in Sydney with an old NZ friend. Aside from those things I’m currently organising a record release gig here in Sydney and a gig later in the year in Auckland.

What NZ musicians or bands would you like to see more of, and why?

I admire Dave Dobbyn’s songwriting a whole lot, which reminds me I’ve gotta buy his new album. I like what Wayne Bell does, he played drums on this record I was honoured, very talented and tasteful guy.

How do you balance your music with other obligations; family, job etc.?

It’s tricky at times. I have a full time job which I like but it can be draining so I have to force myself to rehearse when I really not in the mood. I do it and I’m always glad I did - it pays off. I try to do one thing a day towards music whether it’s admin/emails/contacting or singing/playing/writing. I feel better when I do. In terms of a balance, most of my friends have children and zero time, so I feel I’ve nothing really to complain about.

Where do you get your inspiration to create music from?

Sometimes when I get a chance to reflect on events and specific times – good or bad that’s when songs come. In really quiet times songs come like when you’re almost asleep a song will come and tug at you to get up and get the guitar or paper and pen. 

When I hear a great album or see a great artist perform it can give you a rush or to try a new direction or idea. If I see a good or interesting movie sometimes it will spur an idea – though quality movies are rare these days. I do love words and language though and conversations with friends or others are a big source of material for me.

Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

Play with people much better than you and you’ll be better.

 

About Damien Binder

Singer-songwriter Damien Binder has been writing and recording his original style of moody alt-rock for more than 20 years.

Since his self-titled debut in the early 2000’s, the APRA Silver Scroll nominated artist has gone on to release four acclaimed solo albums and performed internationally supporting some of the world's leading acts including David Gray, Marianne Faithfull and Ani Di Franco.

Prior to pursuing his solo career, Damien fronted New Zealand rock band Second Child who shot to fame with their debut album Slinky which saw the band play esteemed support slots for acts such as The Jesus and Mary Chain, Powderfinger, Rollins Band, Hunters & Collectors, Fugazi and famously Nirvana on their only NZ tour.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Damien Binder

Releases

Bright Side
Year: 2023
Type: Album
A New World
Year: 2016
Type: Album
While The Wind's At Your Back
Year: 2009
Type: Album
Til Now
Year: 2003
Type: Album
Damien Binder
Year: 2000
Type: Album

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