Feature Interview: Will Dailey
Wed, 06 May 2015 08:11:47
Boston-based Indie singer-songwriter talks National Throat, Farm Aid, and getting flowers from Stephen King…
Our featured Artist of the Week, Will Dailey independently released National Throat via Wheelkick Records in August 2014, but here in 2015, it is really starting to gain steam. Over the course of the record, the Boston troubadour creates a rustic collection of pensive and poetic musical ruminations that continues the tradition of Neil Young, Cat Stevens, and Bob Dylan.
If you aren't familiar, he's also a Farm Aid veteran, and he's collaborated on a musical, Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, with none other than T-Bone Burnett and Stephen King. Moreover, he's built an impressive fan base through playing anywhere and everywhere. His impact is only starting to grow. In this exclusive interview, he discusses everything from National Throat to why art will never die to Farm Aid to getting flowers from the King himself…
Being independent now, was your approach to National Throat different?
I went back to the mentality of, "This is the last record I'm ever going to make." Not literally, but what if it is? What if the world blew up tomorrow—what's the last record you're going to make? That helped guide National Throat a little bit. Also, I removed myself to Boston to start it.
I found a studio in Woodstock, NY. It's a place called Applehead Recording. We slept in the studio for eight days. We weren't in hotels. We didn't have our friends stopping by to see how it was going. It was just me, my engineer, my drummer, and my bass player. We locked ourselves out and relied on each other's abilities and the songs. "Sunken Ship" is the second take. "World Go Round" is one take. There were no clicks. We weren't relying on computers. It's just the musicianship.
Was that the first time you slept in a studio and fully immersed yourself in an album like this?
I'd done most of my records in Boston. Even if you're doing a 14- or 15-hour day, you're going home for six hours and sleeping in your bed. I slept in the vocal booth on an air mattress. It was definitely the first time I did that.
You literally couldn't escape…
[Laughs] No! We were on a farm. It was January. It was thirty degrees out, and you didn't even want to go outside. There was an Alpaca right outside, staring at you and telling you to go back in. That's not an exaggeration. It's a farm, you know?!
photo: Paul Janovitz
What's an Alpaca?
It's like a llama. She was in a tent right outside the door of the studio and they have a very blank stare. It's a stare that says, "You should probably go back in there and work harder!" She was very unimpressed with my existence. When you're in the studio with all of your best friends and all of these talented people, everybody starts to feel pretty great about themselves in that vacuum. Then, there's an Alpaca who's not impressed at all.
Was this the quickest record you had done?
We did eight days up there. Then, we had two weeks off to think about it. We came home and did the touch-ups, vocals, horns, and harmonies in Boston. I actually did Back Flipping Forward in seven days. That was fast. While the rest of the industry and the music world panics and worries about itself, art happens no matter what. Artists are going to make music or whatever it is they need to do, no matter what happens to the business. A lot of National Throat encompasses that truth.