Daniel Merriweather Comes Clean
Thanks to soulful, gravelly-spiked vocals, the odd collaboration with Europe’s hottest chart alums, and tabloid inches detailing supposed extra-curricular cohorts with Lily Allen (they’re just friends) Daniel Merriweather is fast becoming the biggest thing in Britain.
After a solid term recording his debut album and balancing promo, gigs and TV and radio appearances, it’s a wonder the Melbourne-born singer-songwriter is not in a collapsed heap on the studio floor. On the contrary, Daniel is raring and ready to take his wares on the road and show the rest of the world what the UK already knows.
Fresh from dropping ‘Love and War’ onto the charts, Daniel rings up MTV to talk tabloid attention, suspect chicken and busting out the violin.
MTV: Hey Daniel! Congrads on your album debuting at number two on the UK charts!
Daniel: Yeah its amazing, thanks!
MTV: Did you have any preconceived ideas about how it would perform?
Daniel: I really didn’t. I had absolutely no idea. You know I’ve never done this before and I was just crossing my fingers that people would like it. Its kinda weird because you’re in the studio for a while, like I was in the studio for six to eight months making the album, and its such a personal thing, making an album, so to have people like it and buy it, well I couldn’t be happier! It’s amazing.
MTV: I’ve been checking your schedule for the past 6 months and it seems like you haven’t stopped since the beginning of the year – are you totally exhausted?
Daniel: It definitely can get tiring, but I just love what I do so much that for me its just fun. I’ve done some crappy jobs in the past and this definitely tops them all. So no complaints!
MTV: What was one of the crappy jobs?
Daniel: I used to work in KFC in the kitchen. That was the worst job I've ever had. No offence to KFC, listen to me being all PC about a chicken outlet (laughs). Nah you just get covered in oil and it’s the worst, plus I wasn’t very good at it as I'm the worst cook, even if it is dunking chicken in a deep fryer.
MTV: Do you still eat KFC?
Daniel: Every now and then I get a hankering for a Zinger burger, but I don’t touch the potato and gravy anymore. I wouldn’t advise it, I won’t go into details but the flavour isn’t sprinkled in, put it that way.
MTV: you’re living in between New York and London at the moment. Do you get homesick for Melbourne?
Daniel: Yeah, well it’s weird. I’ve been living out of my suitcase for the past four or five years. I’ve been travelling everywhere and I guess you learn to make your home where you unzip your bag. But I miss Melbourne a lot as it’s where I learnt everything I know about music. It’s where all my memories of playing with bands down Brunswick Street are. Being surrounded by talented musicians, that’s all back in Melbourne so I love it when I come home.
MTV: I read a bit on your Twitter about your remix competition, can you tell me about that?
Daniel: Yeah well we are doing a remix competition for ‘change’. We’re getting a bunch of producers to put down their version of change and come up with a remix. There are just so many good producers out there and I know ‘cause I grew up around a lot of kids that made all these amazing beats and didn’t know how to get them out there. So I thought it would be a good opportunity to find new talent and work with some new producers.
MTV: So do you feel like its time for you to give back and go in search of new talent and give them the leg-up like other produces gave you?
Daniel: One hundred percent. I’m always trying to find the new kid that’s got the new thing happening! There is just so much undiscovered talent, so it’s really cool to have friends that will play you music and keep an ear out for you too.
MTV: You have some great press in the UK, and I suppose having a close association with Mark Ronson would provide a bit of fodder for the tabloids. Have you started getting the pesky paparazzi following you around or have you read ridiculous stuff?
Daniel: There have been a few things like that, but I'm too busy working on my music. I have been rehearsing with my band a lot so I'm too busy to pick up a tabloid paper or pay attention to stuff like that. I’m not really the kind of person that really hangs out at the celebrity nightclubs. You will never see me stumbling out of glitzy nightclub. You might see me drunk in an old man pub playing pool one day. The British press can be pretty tabloid-ish but I try not to pay too much attention.
MTV: So are you still busting out jams on the violin?
Daniel: You know what, its so funny cause I played violin on a TV appearance today. They just happened to have a violin on the TV show I was on and they literally, out of the blue, handed me a violin and said we’ve heard you play. I haven’t played since I was 14 and I pulled out some Bach, it didn’t really sound that great, more like I was trying to strangle a cat, but I did try so that’s the main thing!
MTV: In the past you’ve talked about the good old days when people used to listen to an album from start to finish. Was there a conscious effort on your behalf to construct your album in that way?
Daniel: Oh a hundred percent. I think the art of making albums has in a way, been forgotten about. Everyone is so preoccupied with selling records and making everything for ‘right now’. No one really tries to make a record for 20 years time. That’s what I wanted to make, a record I could put on in 20 years time and still want to listen to and not be embarrassed because it was ‘so flavour of the month’. It all came together nicely, but also working with great musicians like the Dap Kings who play on every song on the album and Mark Ronson who produced the whole thing. It felt like I was making it as if it was being conceived as a whole album rather than a collection of songs.
Daniel Merriweather’s brand new album ‘Love and War’ is out now on Universal.
For more on Daniel Merriweather, check out MTV Push!