Meet Ben Daniel, the Brains Behind Eclectic Indie-Rock Outfit the Uncredibles
Corey Woodruff Photography http://www.coreywoodruff.com Ben Daniel plays every instrument on the Uncredibles' new album.
In this weekly column, RFT Music gets to know local creatives, musicians and their missions. Get a slice of the local scene, complete with a snippet of sound and info about upcoming releases and shows. Stick around to see what St. Louis artists have to say whenever they Fill in the Blank.
In his latest music video Fuck Bono, Ben Daniel appears as singer, guitarist, bassist and drummer, like a punk-rock Multiplicity. Because cloning machines aren't an option, Daniel tends to fill out the Uncredibles with a backing band -- but for him, that's an exception, not a rule. The Uncredibles is often performed as a solo act, with Daniel playing musical chairs on a stage crammed with instruments.
"There are no rules here, only music," appears on the inner sleeve of his self-titled CD. True to the words, Daniel doesn't sit well with tired genres. Daniel often croons like a jangly garage rocker, fitting shades of classic rock in under busy rhythm. And he knows the value of a good hook, often making use of standard pop structure, albeit with less repetition.
"It's a very mysterious process sometimes, how you can go for a while without writing anything worth remembering, and then out of the blue you'll write a song that just grabs you and makes you beyond excited. I'm not a believer in the mystical, but I can completely understand what another songwriter means when they say a song was 'given' to them," Daniel says, speaking on his free-form style of writing. By building each song part by part, he can inject sounds on a molecular level.
By applying a strict DIY ethos, Daniel approaches his band his own way. And by performing every instrument both live and on record, he can micromanage each part to form a greater whole. That autonomy allows for alternative paths from the status quo, including in the distribution of music. (Look for a sustainable bamboo eight-GB thumb drive with his album's cover etched on the front.)
Daniel took his time producing the Uncredibles' self -titled LP. The band's concept was conceived in 2004, but he spent three years before performing live. After five years of trial and error, Daniel has produced a very odd album that attempts to stretch very few songs over many styles. The genre-clashing might feel harsh at first, but the Uncredibles pulls it off in a way both subtle and bizarre.
Daniel plans on taking the Uncredibles on the road this summer. Catch him late next month on June 28 at the Heavy Anchor with Dr. Dan the Pancake Man and the Psychedelic Psychonauts.
Continue on as Ben Daniel fills in the blanks ahead of his string of gigs this Summer.