Daniel Trakell Interview

by the partae

Where are you currently based?


How did you first start playing music?

Playing along to Rolling Stones records with a cardboard guitar covered in aluminium foil with my brother when we were kids. 

What’s been happening recently?

Finishing up the album and spending time with my little family.  My partner and I had our second baby a year ago a beautiful baby girl, so having two young kids takes up quite a bit of time at the moment!

Your latest single ‘Into The Blue’ is out now, what influenced the sound and songwriting?

How did you go about writing Into The Blue?

The way most songs begin for me is playing around on the guitar or piano, then gradually getting some kind of structure and melody.  I had the song for a little while but didn’t know how to finish the lyrics or what the song was about. Then I re-watched the film Into The Wild, which is about a kid named Chris McCandless who gave away his money and left society behind by wandering into the Alaskan wilderness.  It’s a story that really resonates with me, and the lyrics kind of started to all fill in around that theme. It’s also quite a hopeful song I think about taking a huge risk or a chance and trusting that everything will work out. 

Where and when did you record/produce/master and who did you work with?

It was recorded in an old church hall which sits on the property of producer Josh Barber in the rural community of Mollongghip. We wanted to capture the natural sound of the space on the recording, and I think it comes through in this song especially. 

How did you approach the recording process?

It’s generally pretty relaxed. We did half the record just us two and half the record with a full band. When it’s just Josh and me together in the studio we’ll get the guitar down first, then a guide vocal and both gradually add instruments and try different  things over the course of the afternoon, as well as recreating any parts we want to keep from the demo.  When it’s a full band we’ll generally run through each song 3-4 times and just work through the day until all the songs are done, then record the vocals afterwards and add any horns/strings etc at a later date if they’re needed. It’s usually more about capturing a moment in time and embracing happy accidents/improvisations than going in with a rigid/set goal in mind. 

Where and when did you film the music video and what was the inspiration?

This was filmed live at the offices/studio of a collective of creatives by an amazing cinematographer named Mike Ridley.  We filmed two videos in the space so in order to make them visually different the idea was to have me walk around the space while singing for Into The Blue. It was a little tricky as the sound person had to try to keep the mic close to me while following me as well as staying out of shot, no easy task with a mirror and so many other reflective surfaces in the space! 

Please tell us about your upcoming sophomore album to be released this year:

It’s called Into The Blue, which means to vanish or disappear without a trace and is a theme I seem to keep coming back to in my writing. Most of the songs on the record revolve around that idea as well as escape, death, redemption and the end of the world.  

Which artists influence your music and sound?

Elliott Smith is my all time favourite and Tom Petty is the artist I listen to the most day to day.  I don’t know whether that necessarily comes through in the sound though, listening back to the album I feel like I can hear influences of artists like Neil Young, Beck and  Bruce Springsteen.  I just love really classic songwriting. 

Your music has appeared in a number of hit American TV shows like Locke and Key (Netflix), The Walker (The CW) and Better Things (FX), how did this come about?

Back when I released my very first single Wasted Light,  an agent in LA who really loved it reached out and offered to represent my music over there, and just gradually he kept placing more and more songs.  I think it’s still his favourite song of mine, and one he still wants to see placed on TV. 

What’s planned for the remainder of 2023?

Releasing the album, heading up to Newcastle to spend Christmas with family and hopefully start working on songs for the next release. 

Favourite food and place to hangout?

Pizza or Japanese. Favourite way to spend the day is head out of the city and spend some time in nature.  Favourite spots lately are Hanging Rock, The Dandenong Ranges and The You Yangs.

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