With a career in music spanning years, instruments, genres and continents, Daniel Stricker’s impressive portfolio has seen him work with the likes of Alex Cameron, Sebastian Tellier, Dita Von Teese, Nicholas Godin (of Air) and Weyes Blood to name of a few. His latest project, Danial, was conceived out of being gifted a Chinese singing bowl and then ending up in hospital with little else to do but to hopefully create within the parameters he was confined to.
We spoke to Dan about how the irregularities that 2020 brought have taught him to appreciate stillness in life, and some of his greatest creative influences and moments in live music over the years, ahead of his show this coming Friday, 27thNovember at Sydney’s Lansdowne Hotel.
How did this project begin for you?
A series of events: my sister sent me a Chinese singing bowl for my birthday, to which I loved and started to play almost every day. My wife Jedda suggested I should make a singing bowl record, so I started recording myself everyday playing the bowl. Like a morning routine. All of a sudden out of nowhere I ended up in hospital and was on heavy painkillers. Instead of watching Netflix and chilling, Jed brought me my bowl, my omnichord and my iPad, and I wrote a whole record in 10 days while stuck in hospital.
I would wake up at 6am, get dosed up and start writing. The hospital staff would come in and they had nowhere to put my breakfast because I had filled the tray up with all my music gear. Sometimes I’d just sit at the window looking at the street thinking about everything and nothing. Stuck in a hospital gown. That was the birth.
What’s your favourite instrument to play?
Probably my Moog model D that I picked up in Japan. It’s was made in 1974 and it’s some weird version that I’ve never seen before. I used to go to Japan all the time on tour so slowly worked out the best synth shops. In 2012 I went on tour w Kirin J Callinan and my friends Shags and Lewis Boyes. I bought it for a steal there, packed it in a cardboard box and took it in carry on. Jed was pregnant with our son Lucian at the time, I dunno - it was a special time. And every time I play it, I think of that...
Which artists (musical or other) inspire you?
All the people I’ve worked with. I cut my teeth playing in bands, so I have to thank mainly Andy and Vin from Midnight Juggernauts for showing me how to meld chords and production, and Kirin for showing me how to live a concept, Sebastien Tellier and Kirby for the romance of it, and my wife Jedda Daisy most importantly for inspiring me every day.
What has been the most enjoyable live show you’ve ever performed?
Probably Fuji rock. There’s nothing like playing in Japan. Not only that but playing on top of a mountain, to thousands of people who all know the words. Plus, I got to see My Bloody Valentine straight after, well after walking through a lit-up forest on a Japanese mountain. It was like a dream.
What has 2020 taught you? How has it impacted the way you create / perform music?
I was meant to move to Paris on the 2nd of April. And obviously everything that happened kind of two weeks before changed those plans indefinitely. At the time, my immediate reaction was, oh, fuck, you know, because I saw this big opportunity to tour in the band (I was touring with Sebastien Tellier), to support the gigs for my own stuff. I just finished my record..
But now when I look at it and even look into the future, I'm happy with the end result because I think from a creative perspective there's so much more I've not only learned, but so much more I can draw from now, from this year. I think this year, I'm sure lots of people find this, allowed me to be still. And I look at the creation of this record. I was in a hospital for, you know, 10 days. Its kind of foreshadowed what was to come. I was only still for ten days. But this year I was forced to be still for a whole year.. These opportunities, they don't disappear. You know, I think if I was to go now, if the opportunity presented itself to say, oh, would you move with your whole family to Paris? I probably wouldn't do it. I might want to just stay here for a bit because I feel like I'm in a good creative space. And if I go, if I have to move everything, I'll kind of fuck with that flow.
Who is on your dream list of collaborators?
Paul Stamets - an American Mycologist who believes mushrooms can save the world. Mushrooms can talk to each other underground - they can transport information and nutrients from tree to tree. I’d love to do a project with him or someone similar - a fully immersive experience of an alien world that we live with day and day.
If a song could sum up the way you feel about the last year, what would it be?
John Cale - Ship of Fools.