Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes

16 Nov


When you hear a band and learn that they’re from Nashville, you’re typically not surprised. Nashville is known for birthing incredible music, just as Paris is known for the Eiffel Tower. You go to Nashville expecting to hear great music. Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes are a Nashville based band and surprise surprise, they’re putting out some really good music. Their sophomore album, Kid Tiger, has received positive feedback from big names such as Esquire, naming them one of the top eight bands on CMJ, an online network popular for providing music to fans and music industry execs.

Their music has been heard on shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and Vampire Diaries, and their latest video, Phantoms, has premiered on Conan O’Brien’s, Team Coco. Needless to say, Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes aren’t lacking positive feedback on their talent.

I recently interviewed singer, Daniel Ellsworth, getting a better glimpse into the band that’s turning so many heads lately, including mine.

Q. You formed your band in 2010 and have released two full length albums. Name one of the best memories while recording your first album together as a band.

​A. I think, overall, the best part of making Civilized Man was that it was the first recording I was ever a part of where it felt like an actual band, and not a solo project – everyone had input and everyone was contributing to arrangements. That, and getting to record in the same studio that some of my favorite Andrew Bird, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, and Lambchop albums were made.

Q. Daniel, You had some success singing on the NBC show, The Singoff. What is the best thing you took away from that experience?

​A. It was a new challenge and it made me a better musician because of it. A cappella isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but the talent and musicianship on that show was unbelievable. I learned a lot and made a lot of lifelong friends. Also, reality TV is the worst.

Q. You guys live in Nashville, a city that is home to a ton of other talented musicians. What is the best thing about living in a city that births such amazing music?

​A. The best thing about living in a city with so much amazing music is that we get to live in a city with so much amazing music. haha. But really – every week we discover a new band that we love. And the history here is unreal. Over the years, I’ve had the chance to record in studios where some of the most legendary albums of all time were made. There’s very few places with that kind of history and those kind of opportunities.

Q. Your latest album, Kid Tiger, was released in March. Out of the 12 songs on there, which was your favorite to record?

​A. Oh, man – if you ask all four of us, you’ll probably get a different answer from each. For me, I’ll say the track Idle Warning. I didn’t understand the full scope of what that song was until we tracked it and then listened back. Everyone’s individual part in that song blows my mind every time I listen to it. If ever I forget the caliber of musicians playing beside me on stage, I can just put on this track and get a very quick reminder.

Q. If you could record a song with any artist today, who would it be and why?

​A. Again, every one of us would give you a different answer on this – but for me, I’d probably say Paul Simon. He finds a way to push boundaries, both lyrically and musically, on everything he’s ever put out. He’s 73 years old and he’s still releasing amazing original music. Not only that, but you immediately know a Paul Simon song when you hear one. In popular music, that’s a feat. I mostly just want to sit down with him and absorb all his wisdom. Or maybe a collaboration project with Paul Simon, David Byrne, and Jeff Tweedy. I think we’d come up with some good stuff.

Q. Since we are almost done with 2014, name your favorite album that was released this year.

​A. Hmmm I haven’t given this enough thought yet, so it might be too early to call… the first thing that comes to mind is Vampire Weekend’s “Modern Vampires of the City.” I think it’s their best record yet. It’s great from start to finish. Others in the running for me would be St. Vincent and Spoon.​

Q. Your latest video, Phantoms, is one big food fight. Tell me where the idea came from and what your favorite part of shooting was.

​A. It was a collaborative brainstorm effort by the band and the director, Tim Duggan. We knew we wanted a performance aspect, but we also all liked the idea of including a food fight. The reverse slow motion was the directors call, and we LOVED it. Best part of shooting: watching our friends Mindy and Polly completely destroy each other in the food fight

Q. You guys have received a ton of positive feedback on your music from high sources such as Deli Magazine and Paste. Your music has also been featured on Grey’s Anatomy. What, in your opinion, has been the most exciting review you’ve received so far?

A. Paste Magazine and Deli Magazine are both great. We love those guys a lot. Esquire Magazine got behind us in a big way this year, and that was really huge for us, too. I don’t know if there’s one I’d pinpoint as most exciting. If anyone loves our music, whether it’s a small music blog or a national publication, that’s exciting for us.

Q. You funded your first record using Kickstarter. What was that like having fans help in the process of creating your first album?

​A. It was really amazing. It felt like a really great way to connect with our fans, which we loved. Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to make the record we wanted to make. They are, without a doubt, the reason that we still get to do what we do.​

Q. If you were stranded on a desert island, and could only bring one of your songs to listen to, which would it be and why?

​A. I’ll say the song Surrender from Civilized Man. It’s my favorite track from our first album.

Currently, the guys are on tour to promote their newest record, Kid Tiger. Wanna see them live? If you live in Indianapolis, here’s your chance! Playing at the Hi-Fi this Tuesday, November 18, the guys will take the stage. For a chance to win two tickets, all you have to do is comment below, telling me what your favorite song of theirs is and why. I’ll select the winner tomorrow night. Good luck!

Here’s their video for Phantoms. Warning: After watching, you may want to have your own food fight.


One Response to “Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes”

  1. Jovana November 17, 2014 at 6:06 pm #

    Just listened to your link to Phantoms and loved it! So happy you’re back to blogging. Looking forward to adding to my music library. ❤

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