This is a short interview I did with Danny Vaughn, Mr. Vaughn has recently released his new album and of course we talked about the album. If you’re interested in reading more about Danny Vaughn then check out my earlier interview with him, enjoy the reading.
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Stefan at Zink Music for help with this interview
Thanks to Frontiers records for providing the promo pictures.
Hi Danny, what’s up? Let’s start off with talking about your brand new album TRAVELLER which recently was released, when did you begin to work on it?
The recording was done in June of 2006. I spent 30 straight days in the studio and missed almost all of what I am told was a very nice summer! Previous to that, the band and I did about 2 weeks of very intensive pre production getting all of our parts and arrangements mapped out.
Have you written all of the material by yourself?
A great deal of it was, but there were also several co-writes with the guitarists, Pat Heath and Tony Marshall as well as one song that was written many years ago with my friend, Charlie Calv from Shotgun Symphony.
What are the lyrics about and where was the album recorded?
Of course, each song’s lyrics are telling different stories. It would take a long time to tell you what they are all about. However, the two most recurring themes are love and death. To my mind, they are the most important things in life. The album was recorded in England.
You have chosen to release the album under your own name, how come?
Each time I have recorded an album and then done live shows for that album, the band line up has changed. It’s never been exactly the same group twice. The only constant has been myself. I’m the main writer and generally at least the co producers, so I felt that really, all of the solo albums, “Fearless” and “Soldiers and Sailors on Riverside” were Danny Vaughn albums. I was advised to go with a band name by the record company. But I really don’t see how that has made any difference. Having said that, this new band line up is very strong and we may very well decide to do later recordings under a band name. Pretty confusing, eh?
You have also produced the album on your own, why?
Because I think I’m pretty good at it! Production is something that has always interested me. As I mentioned, I did quite a bit of it on my previous albums, so it wasn’t a big stretch to do it all on my own this time. The secret is to have a great engineer, like Pete Coleman.
How would you like to describe what kind of music TRAVELLER contains to me it is melodic rock?
Sure, that seems to be the favorite genre title. We do seem rather obsessed with labeling music down to the tiniest detail these days. I find that very limiting. A great many of the bands I admire defy description. I mean, if you listened to any 10 Queen songs you would have a hard time putting them into a category because they had such a variety of styles. However, I made a conscious attempt on TRAVELLER to stream line the music more than I have in the past.
You have also a brand new line-up on the album, is it a steady line-up that’s going to follow you on tour?
Yes, definitely. These guys are extremely proud of the work they did, and they have every right to be. We are set to do a couple of weeks of shows in the UK in May and June and are looking into more shows in Europe over the summer and the autumn.
Are you satisfied with the outcome of the album?
Extremely. It’s every bit the recording I set out to make from the start. There are moods I wanted to create and stories I wanted to try and tell properly and I am very happy with how they came out. It’s an album that I will enjoy listening to later on. And that’s not just because it’s my album but simply because I really enjoy the songs by themselves.
Why did you name the album TRAVELLER? Does it have any hidden meaning?
Not very hidden, no. It’s about me. I have recently moved from America to Europe and one day, while I was packing up boxes I started to wonder just how many times I have moved in my life. I lost count at 25 times. I seem to be a person that can make a home anywhere. I like to adapt to other places and other customs and languages. So the title and the song are about the excitement of this kind of life as well as some of the sadness that comes with it.
Have you read any reviews of the album yet? What does the press think of it?
So far, it has been very well received. The reviews I have read all seem to get that it’s an album that takes several listens and that, with each listening; it grows on you more and more. That, to me, is a success. I strive to make music that you can go back to years later and still get feelings from.
How does the cooperation with Frontiers Records go? Are you happy with the label?
Yes, I am. They are working very hard to make us better known in the world.
You are currently supporting Journey on their tour through Britain, how has it been and what did the Journey fans think of Danny Vaughn’s music?
I couldn’t have hoped for a better response. We sold a great many cds at the shows to people that have never heard of me before, which is pretty impressive since we were only performing the songs acoustically. I mean, how many times do you see a standing ovation for the opening act? That happened several times on the tour. Our web sites have been filled with new people telling us that they loved the shows and bought the cd and love it as well. So the effect has been felt as far away as America, where the Journey fans are talking on their message boards and are hearing about this great opening act that Journey had in the UK.
On top of that, the band themselves were incredibly encouraging and friendly. We all got on so well it was an absolute dream tour.
Do you have any plans on heading out on real tour soon on this album?
Our UK shows start on May 7 and go through June 3. I hope to be able to do a few shows in Europe as well as a couple of summer festivals this year.
In October last year you played at United Forces of Rock Festival in Germany, how was it?
I think the band was on fire! It was very satisfying to finally play in Germany again after so many years. I think a lot of people were very surprised by what they saw and heard. The band is very exciting live. We have two guitarists and it makes everything, including the Tyketto material sound extremely powerful.
Are there plans on releasing more albums under your own name in the future?
I’m not sure yet, but it could definitely happen.
In the bio it says that you think TRAVELLER is the best album you have ever done, but doesn’t every artist think so about their latest album? What’s so special about TRAVELLER do you think?
I suppose that many players do tend to say that because their latest album is new and exciting. But I also think we pressure ourselves into this idea of “better, best” as if it has to be so, which it doesn’t. They can all be good albums, can’t they? Or bad ones?
For me the real special side of TRAVELLER is how very personal it is from start to finish. Aside from the songs themselves, there is a sense of family for me because of how deeply everyone was involved. I was surrounded by people that I care for and love. For instance, the cover painting was done by my father. I have always wanted to use one of his paintings on an album cover, but never found a time where the music and his art matched up. This time we did and it’s a cover like nobody else has. The cover layout and logo design was created by my wonderful girlfriend, Hayley Warren, who has been the perfect adviser, sounding board, and shoulder to cry on through the entire process. And the band didn’t just learn the songs and play them. They put themselves into them. They drew upon their own emotions to create their parts and it all fused together. All of that and more is why I think it’s my best album ever.
You’re not only a singer you’re also a multi-instrumentalist, which instrument are you best at do you think?
I am primarily an acoustic guitarist. Everything else I’m just having fun trying out things. But it’s one of the things that I love the most about being a musician. Learning and experimenting.
When I interviewed you back in 2004 you said that there probably were going to come out another album with the project From the Inside, is it still so?
We are definitely talking about it, but I still don’t know for sure.
What have you been up to since the release of your last album?
Mostly playing live. I’m in Finland at the moment rehearsing for a co headlining tour with my friend, Terry Brock. We’re going to perform our own songs as well as doing parts on each others and the more we rehearse the harder it is to tell one from another. It’s something new and exciting and I’m really looking forward to it as we have never played here before.
Is TRAVELLER released worldwide?
Yes, although it’s mostly only available on line in America.
Do you think that Tyketto is going to re-unite anytime soon?
As a matter of fact, we will be playing Firefest on October 28 and them a few more shows in Europe around that time. But it is a very limited thing. No more than 6 or 7 shows and definitely no new recordings.
Do you think the Tyketto fans will like your new solo album?
Absolutely. I don’t think that the music I make now is so very different from the music that I made with Tyketto. I’m not consciously striving to change or “get away” from my past. Not at all. Change is something that happens no matter how you might resist it and what happens in your life will reflect in the music that you make. But I have always written melodically and I always will.
You haven’t visited Scandinavia yet, when can we expect a visit from Danny Vaughn here?
If this tour of Finland goes well I am sure it will open the door for my band to come in and play all of Scandinavia.
What is the next cd you will do after this one?
I have no idea. But, I am working on a couple of outside projects. I’m doing the vocals for a rock guitarist in Brazil named Davis Ramay and I am having a lot of fun with that. It’s a bit more metal than my music. Along the lines of Dokken or a Randy Rhoades style.
What are the plans for the rest of 2007?
I’m hoping to see my own bedroom again before the summer is over!
Is it anything you’d like to say to the readers and fans?
I like to tell people that their support matters. Really matters. Every letter, every email, every time someone takes the time to come to a show, buy a cd, and come up and shake hands, it has a ripple effect. It makes me want to go on and try harder and it is the real joy in being a musician in the first place. So thank you!
Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer my questions once again.
My pleasure, Anders. I wish you all the best,
Read the cd-review of TRAVELLER here in LGR of cd’s
Read the review of From the Inside featuring Danny Vaughn here