Danielle Durack’s new album release, No Place, reflects the ups and downs of a relationship and the grief when it’s over. Danielle is a Phoenix, Arizona singer-songwriter who has a wonderful gift for pairing lyrics with beautiful melodies and harmonies. She does an outstanding job of combining a full band sound complimented with synths that add a haunting quality to the songs. Danielle has created an album with both uptempo songs and ballads. Fans of Sara Bareilles will enjoy Danielle’s music.
It’s been a busy time since the release of No Place. How are you doing?
I’m still working, taking care of the album release, and trying to take care of myself. It’s been busy, but I’m doing good.
You’re getting excellent press response to No Place. How are you feeling after all the work that you put into the album?
It feels good! I always go into the release assuming that nothing will happen. I put everything into it, but I don’t expect anything. With all the good music out there, the fact that it’s reaching a bigger audience is a dream come true.
Were you able to play any of the new songs before the lockdown, and did that influence the recording?
I played some of the songs in my solo shows for the year before lockdown, but I only was able to play the songs with a full band once last February. The songs were basically what they were going to be in December 2019. It just needed to be mixed.
What was the difference between doing an EP and a full album?
It was a lot more work and time, though still as much fun. Each song equates to one more day in the studio.
Can you tell me about the recording process?
I did the album in chunks. I demoed some songs with Sam Rosen, the audio engineer who did my EP Bashful, in Seattle in October and laid out what songs would be on the album. Then, I did the instrumental recording with scratch vocals in December 2019 in Seattle with Sam. I hired musicians who Sam knew, including a bassist and drummer. The drummer had various synth instruments that added to the spooky feeling you hear on some of the songs. My brother Matt did guitar on a couple of tracks, and Sydney Sprague also played on a couple of tracks and sang harmonies. Sam came down to Phoenix to record the vocals.
You’ve made three videos for the singles that you released before the album release. Can you tell me a bit about the process of making them?
The inspiration for the Broken Wings video came about when a friend posted that a wedding shop was going out of business, and I thought, ‘How could I use a wedding dress in a video’. Then I thought of the meme – what’s your type: a red flag with blue eyes, and it made me laugh. It fit the song. Eggshells is about walking away from a relationship then running with certainty, which inspired the video.
The third video, There Goes My Heart, is very cinematic.
I made that with a friend from college who is a filmmaker. We made it in Indianapolis and took all the Covid precautions so that we could make it safely. The video idea was initially for Some Day, but the PR firm I was working with thought this was a better single. My idea was to take a depression mood board with a release at the end. I liked the idea of dancing in the rain at the end, and we were lucky to have a rainy day.
The first track on the album, Mistakes, sets the tone for the album. Was it harder to write a short song?
No. I tried to write a second verse, but I didn’t want to screw it up. I realized that I said everything that I wanted to say. We finished it when I was demoing the song. It’s a nice little interlude.
What is the theme of the album? I always find that your music strikes a chord with how heartache feels.
I wrote this album to process my feelings. I think I got what I needed out of it, and it’s really beautiful for me to know that it is just yours now! Hopefully, it helps others. I write albums to supplement therapy.
How did you feel about doing your release show virtually?
It was okay. I’m grateful that it was even possible. I would have preferred to do it live. Maybe, when the quarantine is over, I’ll do a release show for the vinyl.
Do you have a pandemic playlist?
No, it’s five playlists for my breakup to match the five stages of grief. I usually create new playlists every month as a way to archive memories.
How do you keep your music fresh?
I haven’t practiced as much because I’ve been so busy. One way is changing up the way I play my songs, speeding them up or slowing them down. It’s almost like playing a cover of my own songs.
How do you see playing live in the future? What do you think it is going to look like?
Hopefully, I would love to continue to play with my brother and Sydney. I want to play with a full band, play the acoustic guitar and piano. If I got to a place in my career, I would love to tour with a full piano if I’m lucky to make something happen.
If you could play anywhere safely, where would it be?
Anywhere! I would kill to play a Rebel Lounge (Phoenix) show now or Madison Square Garden. Whatever!
Interview by Jennifer Mullins
Photos by Eunice Beck
8th February 2021