Daniel Markham

Daniel Markham - October 2013

Daniel Markham Session
Violitionist Sessions

Session Date: August 29, 2013
Posting Date: October 28, 2013
Artist Hometown: Denton, TX
Links: Facebook, Bandcamp
Recorded by: Michael Briggs @ Civil

Favorite Band
ONE: How did you get into playing music?
Daniel Markham: Well, I started writing songs when I was 23. I was living in Rotan, Texas. Out in the middle of nowhere. My parents bought me a guitar for graduating. So, I started writing songs, and then I went to South Plains College in Levelland, and then I started a band. We were called Waiting to Derail. We were really alt-country, really really alt-country, and I just kind of went from there. That band broke up, reformed as One Wolf, I guess, and I was starting to write more ‘rock’ stuff, and, yeah. That’s basically how it was. And then we played a long time. Lots of shows with lots of bands. And then I moved from Lubbock to Denton, and here I am.
MB: What prompted that move?
Daniel: I just…I just needed to go somewhere else, where I could do something—
Tony Ferraro: You’ve been all over! Lubbock, Athens…
Daniel: I lived in Athens, Georgia for a little while.
Tony: You dated Michael Stipe.
MB: Did you play music while you were in Georgia?
Daniel: Uh…I wrote a lot. I played a couple of shows. I didn’t stay long enough to do it. I kind of freaked out and went back to Texas, so…but, yeah, that’s basically it. Now I’m here.
MB: How did you put this band together?
Daniel: We’ve been friends for a long time, playing shows together and hanging out and stuff.
Ryan Thomas Becker: Grady and I played a show with One Wolf with RTB2. When was that? Several years ago.
Daniel: 2008.
Tony: I remember Eaton Lake Tonics playing a show with One Wolf out in Austin somewhere. That’s how we met.
Daniel: That was like 2008. Yeah…and then I moved here, and it was just like, ‘Hey.’
MB: Kind of a natural fit?
Tony: ‘I have arrived, guys.’
MB: ‘Ok, I need the best backing band in Denton.’
Daniel: Not quite. I just got lucky, I guess.
Ryan: Thank you, by the way.
TWO: Daniel and Grady, do you think that your roles as music teachers have affected the way that you approach your own music?
Grady Don Sandlin: It’s had a pretty huge impact on my playing. It has allowed me, through studying other people and trying to break it down for kids to learn, to realize the kind of player that I would like to be, because I keep telling them, ‘Oh, you’ll always be a second-rate so-and-so, but you have a chance to be a first-rate yourself.’ That’s something that’s informed my playing since I’ve been teaching. But I’m not thinking of the technical aspects when we’re playing. It does make it easy to explain things. If everybody knows music and knows all of the technical terms, it’s a very easy way to say ‘Play on this beat,’ you know? Whatever. ‘The change occurs here!’
Ryan: ‘Ryan, you act like a child! I’m going to explain this to you!’
Tony: Yeah, it makes it easier to talk to Ryan.
Grady: But, Ryan has his own language, too. I mean, even though he doesn’t teach music and has never had any formal education, we have a way that we communicate that I can understand.
MB: Has teaching music influenced you, Daniel?
Daniel: I feel like it makes me play better. I’m always playing, it seems like, so it just keeps me kind of…good, at what I can do. Keeps me sharp, I guess.
Grady: I feel that way, too. Even though teaching is…I would hardly even consider it part-time hours. I probably work closer to full-time hours as a musician. Teaching, and the hours I accumulate with that, it could almost be a hobby. But, when I am there, I still have drumsticks in my hands. I’m still thinking about music.
THREE: Tell us about your latest album, Daniel Markham Ruined My Life.
Daniel: I wrote it over the past two years. I wrote most of it in Denton. When I moved here, I wrote a bunch of songs. I was living by myself and just writing a lot, and I went to Grady’s house and put a CD on his table, and I was like, ‘I put a CD on your table.’ That was later…I called him.
MB: You broke into the house?
Daniel: No, he was having a get-together. But, then we just started recording, and just…got it done. We made lots of sounds and stuff. It was cool.
Grady: It was an eventual process, or at least, we knew that we were going to make a record, but there was no timetable. Or if it did, it got quickly abandoned. In fact, I think there was at one time. I think we were supposed to record over the summer and release in the fall, and I think it went through the summer, and we ended up releasing it in the spring. That’s how most things go, though.
Daniel: I think that made it better, because I wrote more songs in that time, and I was like, ‘OK, cool.’ I don’t think I quite had the songs yet to push through, so…I think it worked out good this way.
MB: So what’s next for the band?
Daniel: I’ve been working on lots of new songs, just, putting it all together. I’d like to make another record. Playing shows, doing some touring here and there, you know, just staying busy as much as possible.
– Interview by Michael Briggs/Transcription by Dale Jones.