Artist Interviews

Q&A: Daughn Gibson

By | Published on Tuesday 23 July 2013

Daughn Gibson

Previously the drummer in stoner rock band Pearls & Brass, Daughn Gibson emerged in his solo country guise last year with his debut album ‘All Hell’. A few months later, he announced that he had signed to Sub Pop for the follow-up, ‘Me Moan’, which was released earlier this month.

This time around, rather than recording in isolation, Gibson brought in a series of guest musicians, including Baroness guitarist John Baizley, to help out. The result is an album that sounds quite different to his debut in many respects, while still topped off with his baritone voice and penchent for experimenting with what country music is allowed to be.

Ahead of the album release, CMU’s Aly Barchi caught up with Gibson to ask about his approach to writing and recording the new album, his place in the country scene, and more.

AB: Having made ‘All Hell’ under such insular circumstances, was it a shock that it caught on, and that people ‘got’ it, so fast?
DG: Yeah pretty much. Sub Pop was actually the first to hit me up about it, totally out of nowhere, so that was a great big bomb dropped into my life and it made me wonder if what I did on ‘All Hell’ was actually pretty good after all!

AB: What’s it been like having Sub Pop behind you? I’d imagine they gave you a pretty free reign to do what you wanted?
DG: It’s been great. They give me free reign artistically and even indulge me when I feel like bitching and moaning about stuff. I don’t know how other labels work and at this point I don’t really care. SP is my crew.

AB: Would you say a lot has changed in your approach to writing, sampling and mixing between ‘All Hell’ and ‘Me Moan’? Did you always have this broad taste in music?
DG: As far as songs go, now I just take more time to listen. I’m also a better technician than I was on ‘All Hell’, which allows me to choose arrangements, melodies or rhythms in a more intuitive and efficient way.

AB: You were working with a large cast of musicians this time, how did that work?
DG: I basically still handled all the arrangements top to bottom. When a person would lay down a melody or flurry of notes, I’d take it back to the lab and restitch it, basically sampling the stuff that had been played. In a couple of cases I restitched the guitar from one guitarist and had another come in to play it over smoothly, as not to hear the seams.

AB: The new LP seems to have taken a relatively short time to make. Did you find it came easier?
DG: I wouldn’t say it came easier, but the pay off for me was 100% more gratifying. Though at the same time ‘Me Moan’ was far more emotionally draining so much that in the months after finishing it I felt like a prune; no feeling, no urge to move, and absolutely no creativity to speak of.

AB: Was it jarring making the transition from playing metal, in a band, to what you’re doing solo now?
DG: Honestly, Pearls & Brass was a lot less metal than it was knotty old blues played loud. So looking at it that way I kind of still play an antiquated American form of music, sans the volume knob. I didn’t brag to buds that I was starting a new country project. When it comes to making music, I don’t want to think about plans or transitions, I just do the shit I like when I have time.

AB: Would you say you’re a part of, or apart from, the country ‘scene’ at large?
DG: I genuinely wish I was part of that scene! Though I highly doubt a tour with Josh Turner or Toby Keith will ever land on my lap anytime soon, unless I get some different boots.

AB: In terms of contemporary country artists, who do you identify with?
DG: As far as new artists go, I admire Alison Krauss and Neko Case a lot because they made me realise that country music was way more than headset mics and redneck yacht clubs. But really, I still dig all that bullshit too.

AB: As we speak, the album’s about to be released, and the reviews are coming in. Do you put any stead in what critics say, positive or not?
DG: If I’m a listener I suppose I do. If Magnet magazine wasn’t around to steer my taste when I was 20 years old, I’d still be listening to only the Dixie Chicks and Los Crudos. As a musician it’s nice to get feedback one way or another, but it rarely provides me with some great insight to my own creative process. Like I said, I’m stubbornly intuitive with this stuff, even if I was wondering what Magnet was going to say about a song, I’d still do whatever the fuck I was going to do with it anyway.