A Sit Down with Dan Friedman

A sit down with Dan Friedman

An interview with The Publication's frontman Dan Friedman.

A sit down with Dan Friedman

An interview with The Publication's frontman Dan Friedman.

I sat down for a virtual interview with Dan Friedman, currently the frontman for a local Dallas known as The Publication. Although still new on the scene, his EP is well worth the short listen and jam-packed with solid rock jams. The EP is titled “Only Stranger” and seamlessly combines a wide breadth of references culminating in a unique sound. I found it to have an interesting transient quality, often playing with the notion of place, a theme I explored in the questions below. Read below to explore some of Dan’s nomadic past and an anecdote, rocking out on a church stage, and his top-secret pop queen.

You’ve lived a lot of places. How has a sense of place impacted your musical style?

I definitely think about this question a lot. When I found out I was moving to Texas, I tried to incorporate my notions of the south into my songwriting, and I’ve written a couple of Americana-ish tunes since then, just haven’t recorded them yet. You might hear some of that in forthcoming releases. I always seem to come back to basics though. Even in Chicago, I was in the University of Chicago bubble and it was hard to find people who wanted to play just simple rock songs like me, but I feel like I stayed true to what I do best. So overall, I feel like I have been relatively unaffected by change of place. Probably not the most interesting answer you were looking for.

What’s the music scene like in Dallas? How does The Publication fit into that world?

I’m still scoping out the music scene down here, but from what I’ve seen, there is a real mix of many musical styles. There is definitely a lot of metal and a fair amount of country music. North of Dallas is a town called Denton, which is really more where my music would fit in. Lots of indie bands play up there. It might come as a surprise to some, but some really big acts like Neon Indian and Parquet Courts formed in Denton. In Dallas, we play at bars that feature all types of music, from solo folk artists to metal to everything in between.

What’s been your most memorable performance so far?

It’s hard to pin down one specific show as the most memorable. A couple of months ago, The Publication played at Six Flags, and the stage was way too legit for our own good. Looking up at people screaming on roller coasters was an awesome atmosphere to play in. It felt like we were playing at a festival. I’ve been playing in bands for around 8 or 9 years, but overall, the past year has been full of some of the most memorable shows.

What has been a profound influence on you musically? On these songs? ...If the answer is different.

I think that starting out learning classical violin from an early age has really affected how I hear and play music. It not only gave me a leg up in learning instruments like guitar and bass, but I think it also trained my ear as a writer, at least melodically. You couldn’t get away with not having a good melody, or at least an interesting one, a few centuries ago. “Good” is of course a subjective and relative concept, but I think that melody carried a lot more of the weight in the un-amplified music of the old days. Today, a lot more attention is given toward style and rhythm than melody, in my opinion.

And not to sound cliché, but another strong influence was my parents introducing me to their favorite bands from an early age. For whatever reason, we listened to a lot of Travelling Wilburys when I was a young kid. And a lot of Beatles and invasion stuff of course too.

I love the concept of a “high school band”. When was your first performance and what did you learn from those earlier performances?

My first performance was as a bassist in my brother’s high school band called Torrents of Spring. I was 15, and we were playing at a church in my hometown that had this decked out stage with a smoke machine and fancy lighting and all that stuff. I played at that church all throughout high school and it really spoiled me for the small college shows that came next. I was always like, “But where’s the smoke machine?”

I'm also personally fascinated with how “the digital age” has changed how bands gain popularity. How do you think technology has influenced how you share your work as a new band?

There’s nothing you can do but embrace the trend. I tend to be pretty cynical about the effect of technology on the music industry, but that’s where it’s going and I’ve accepted that reality. After all, I probably would have never started doing this if I didn’t have a free recording software built into my computer (aka garageband) that allowed me to do demos, so I can thank technology for that. I am pretty anti-streaming, so I don’t pay for Spotify Premium or anything like that because I think it’s just a ridiculous concept. But people have always profited off of artists in ridiculous ways; it’s not like it was any easier to be a musician for a living back in the day.

What are the major themes of this album? What is the vibe you were going for?

The EP is more thematically cohesive than I had thought it would come out to be. The songs seem to all follow this feeling of triumphing over my doubts and over my past self.

My relationship with my girlfriend has taken me down an entirely different road than I expected to be at this point. I definitely never thought I would live in the south at any point, let alone Texas, but I’m enjoying it and feeling like a new person following this unanticipated path. Every song kind of touches on that feeling in some way.

Musical guilty pleasure? (Be honest)

I was just telling someone the other day that I weirdly like Ariana Grande. I tend to hate that kind of music but her stuff doesn’t bother me as much. Oh, and I still jam to Sum 41 in my car. Haters gonna hate.

Where can people find you? Where can people find your music?

The best way to find all of our material is through [our website]. It’s got the links to all of the streaming options and the social media pages, but you can follow directly on facebook.