Due to some changes to the site by the creators my recent interview was removed from their site. 
They have taken this blanket decision for all reviews and interviews as the site is moving in a new direction. 
As a result I have decided to publish the interview here for anyone that wants to read it. 
You can also find my earlier friendly shadows interview linked below this one. 

1. How did your musical journey begin? What motivated you to pursue a career in music?

When I first picked up an instrument it was about being an outsider and through hearing music like Nirvana, Alanis Morrisette, Faith no more etc that I found “my people”. I played bass back then and at 15 I joined a punk band with some older boys outside of school. Started playing at house parties and small gigs.

That was an age ago though - my recent journey started with an acoustic guitar mostly ignored for 5 years and then a pandemic forcing me to get better. Then one day I wrote a song. I’ve been following that path since very late 2020 as Danswell & The Symptoms.

2. Can you share some of your musical influences and how they have shaped your sound?

Growing up my parents played pink Floyd Led Zeppelon Elton John the Beatles Bowie - Which is pretty standard but a great base. All the bands I went on to listen to were influenced by those records too.

As a teenager I found myself drawn to the guitars in britpop and then immediately had my ears turned to what was happening or had happened in America in that decade. Pixies, Nirvana, Red Hot Chilli, then heavier stuff like slipknot, tool and the deftones was added to the mix as well. That stuff was just more exciting. Louder. weirder.

On this album I’ve been really influenced by Halsey, Nine Inch Nails, Biffy Clyro and a whole load of other things.

A lot of the tracks are inspired by books I’ve read too. Terf Me, I’m Worthless is the first single and that’s inspired by horror writer Alison Rumfitt’s book Tell Me I’m Worthless and my own experiences of transphobia and “anti gender” ideology rising in the UK right now.

Some of the songs are influenced by meeting my partner and some are influenced by my grandad passing in December.

3. What do you enjoy most about being a musician and sharing your music with audiences?

It’s always interesting seeing someone from a city you’ve never heard of has listened. Releasing music can be the hardest and the most exciting part of being an independent musician.

There is joy in all parts of the process as well. I’ve enjoyed writing these songs, enjoyed the recording. I had a lot of notes to work from and the recording process was quite easy.

I’m also looking forward to going busking. There is something a lot more real about being out there playing music, however you manage to do that.

What I’d really love is a band but it’s hard to find the people these days. I’d really like to play some of these songs with a live band.

4. Do you have any specific goals with your music? And if yes can you tell us about them?

My goal was to create the thing. I’ve always been sceptical of trying to be commercial and it was fun releasing so much music in 2023 but it did feel like throwing ideas at a wall and hoping one sticks.

So my only goal here was to make this album the best it can be and write, play and work only in service of the songs.

I’m pretty confident it worked as well as the result was beyond my expectations. These songs have a better quality to them than the previous ones. It’s a step up.

5. Are there any memorable moments from your career so far that stand out to you?

Every time I get a review or a play or an interview I’m so grateful. I don’t submit to places that charge and I know there is stiff composition to get into the ones that do it for the love of music. So every review or radio play is a highlight. Also being nominated for an award by Radio Wigwam in 2022. They went through loads of artists and shortlisted me - it feels nice to be seen and heard. No matter how big or small.

This is my second interview and I’ve enjoyed it immensely. There are so many people out there passionate about music. It’s encouraging.

6. How do you typically approach songwriting and where do you draw inspiration from when creating new music?

I have stuff come to me when I’m trying to sleep or when I’m washing up, maybe just a line or a melody. I might hum or sing it into my phone and then continue what I’m doing. Then there are ideas that come through play and practice. I tend to draw on those notes when I’ve made time to write stuff.

When I first started I thought I have to get out of bed and write the whole song before it escaped. Now I’m must better at making a note, getting my zzzzzz’s and still being able to write the song another time.

I’ve also been trying my best with music theory, something I’ve never been good at but I don’t want to write 15 songs in the same 5 keys so I’ve been putting the work in.

I don’t think it stifles creativity like Kurt did I just suck at it and it’s boring! But I have been able to get to a place where I am writing on several instruments, playing in keys I didn’t know and it means there is a lot more musical space to create and explore.

As I don’t play drums (it’s all samples) I made sure I really got in the zone with the bass on my knee to write all those parts as well. It also helps to think of those parts earlier on in the process, which doesn’t come naturally to me but I think the result is a better sounding band.

Lyrically I’m trying not to draw from the same subjects. As important as the environment, mental health etc are to me I went lyrically to other places with this record. So I’ve been drawing on weirder ideas. Those songs exist as well on this record but there are a few curve balls in there. One song is about mycelium and is definitely influenced by The Last of Us and another one is about having a ghost friend/lover. I’m trying to write songs that haven’t been written - it’s hard to do in 2024!

7. Can you share some insights on your upcoming album? What can fans expect from this new project?

At the minute it sounds like something new. I think with the arrangements and the actual structures of the songs it’s sonically gone to a different place almost by itself. I’ve also made an effort to produce different tones throughout the album so that it does take you on a journey through sound.

It’s also a record that has the softest and probably the hardest edges of Danswell & The Symptoms on it. It’s got more love songs than I’d expected to write as well as some angry snarling punk.

8. How would you describe the overall sound and theme of your new album?

Thematically I was exploring the idea of the human ear and the journey of sound into our ear and then brain. It fell apart at the writing stage when all the songs seemed the same (some of them have been completely re-written lyrically now). Plus I’m no biologist so to me it was all just vibrating. A lot of the music was great though and those songs became something much better with a new theme and direction.

One of the favourites and the softest song on the album remained from the ear theme -  it’s called Our Little Bones.

I’ve also done a lot of new things with the guitars. There is less of them and it’s somehow thicker. On one track I’ve used just one single guitar but with the piano, vox and synth brass it sounds just as full as using two or three guitar parts and takes.

It’s a different sounding Danswell & The Symptoms. I couldn’t tell you what genre it is. I’m calling it post-new wave.

9. What was the creative process like when working on this new album?

The creative process initially was  intentionally basic. The pen and paper notes had bass lines, piano parts and lead guitar parts paper clipped to them so it’s wasn’t  basic writing but it felt good to be disconnected from the computer. I think spending time routed in that early stage was important, to me anyway. I wanted to have as much information about the song in my head and on the page as I can. It just makes recording smoother and it means you can start making production decisions before you even switch the computer on.

Don’t get me wrong I think the computer is an amazing creative tool, what I’m trying to achieve is a balance between getting the best out of my brain and then in the next stage the advantages of the computer. I don’t have a band to play them through with or anyone to bounce the ideas off so I have to get some on the page to clearly see what’s needed. Both pen and computer at once makes things muddy creatively, in my opinion. I did make little phone demos which was an easy way to listen back to the basic ideas. Then I used a loop pedal to develop some of the more complex ones before I eventually committed to writing drums and recording.

As a result recording was easy, mixing and mastering wasn’t as hard either. It worked out and you’ll hear the difference that this process has made. It also meant that I could make production decisions easier. The whole process was so easy actually because the songs were right. If I had 12 more songs I’d record again next week.

10. Did you face any challenges while creating this album? If so, could you elaborate on them?

So far I’ve purposely avoided any resistance. I’ve not rushed or pushed the writing. I needed some time off and also to not push myself to generate “content”.

The process of writing good songs has a lot of “unproductive time” involved from a capitalist standpoint point but I let things be a bit my anarchic. Maybe with a bit of something else mixed in (maybe Buddhism?) because I basically didn’t tackle any problem songs. I just wrote better ones instead. So I’ve not faced any difficulty I couldn’t ignore.

I kicked a few songs out with difficulties that appeared in the demo and re-write stage. What I mean by difficult really is that song doesn’t work. But that’s why I wrote so many songs - if one makes life difficult it was struck off the list. I don’t want to fight with it. I’m a lover not a fighter.

11. Are there any collaborations with other artists on this upcoming album? If yes, can you tell us more about them?

I did think about it but I recorded it all down and now it’s done. It would feel forced to bring people on now. I’d love to have a band and other people to write with full time. That’s the sort of collaboration I crave really.

Not that the internet stuff isn’t fun and I’d absolutely do one again. The only one I’ve done (with Kiffie) was really fun and easy to do. I don’t know why I haven’t done more, I guess it’s because I’m trying to be online less I don’t get to speak to other artists as much. I know I’m missing out by doing so but my mental health is better with less social media.

If people want to collab though feel free to message me.