Last week, Dan Edmonds released his new album, softie. After a three-year period between releases, Edmonds is back with his best work yet. It is clear that he has grown and evolved, bringing new perspectives to songwriting and style. Not only has he created a new landscape of sound, but he’s also refined and perfected songs he’s been working on for some time. The drum track for “beside you”, the last single from the album, came from its 2016 demo. With the single, he released a music video directed by Florence Azar.
The abstract-style music video follows a couple who sleepwalks and, quite literally, float to each other, as if something was drawing them to come together. Dan credits the concept to Azar, whom he gave full reign of the video to. I had a chance to chat more about “beside you” and the songwriting process for softie with Dan.
When did you first start writing music?
I first began writing music when I was 13. Someone had shown me Alan Lomax’s Anthology of
American Folk Music. That affected my urge to create in a profound way.
How did you come up with the concept for the “beside you” video?
The concept was entirely Florence, the director. Our collaborations consist of each of us having full autonomy over our craft. I create the audio and they create the visual. I didn’t have a vision in terms of making a video for the song.
Tell me about the album you released last week, softie. Is there a general theme to it?
The album is the culmination of one year of my life. The songs reflect the feelings that I was having during that year. I streamlined my approach and reduced the songs down to what was not important. It was a long process.
Why “softie”? Do you feel that the songs represent a softer side of you?
The title reflects who I am as a person. I speak and sing very quietly. I’m an introvert. The moment I saw the word it refused to leave my mind.
Could you explain your creative process for me? How does a song form for you?
The process for this record in particular, was to take our time. To write and record and much as possible without judgement. We let songs and arrangements evolve over time, never forcing anything. That’s generally my process when writing and recording. I trust my gut as much as possible.
When do you decide a song is finished?
Songs don’t get finished; they get abandoned.
I love the chill-wave feel of “beside you”. Did any artist in particular influence your sound?
Thank you, this song in particular was influenced by Arthur Russell. I listened to his song “Wild Combination” for months while I was working on softie.
I know you’re playing a few shows this week, but are there any plans for a tour once the album is out?
Absolutely, we plan to tour in the new year, alongside a few of our friends' bands. Should be very fun!
If you could tour with any musician/band who would it be? Why?
The Stooges would be fun. That band is sort of the antithesis to what my band tries to do. We play as quiet as possible. They created mayhem wherever they went. Would be a good match I think, haha.