A Q&A with Daniel Gibson of Streets of Laredo

by Alejandro Serrano (Journalism), published November 16th 2016

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Daniel Gibson, the singer/guitarist fronting Streets of Laredo, loves developing his band’s music while still preserving their sound. The family-based band is originally from Auckland, New Zealand, but relocated to Brooklyn, New York in 2012. The band released their sophomore album Wild on Oct. 21, but Gibson said being an aspiring band in a big city is no menial task. Tastemakers Magazine recently caught up with Gibson over the phone while the band is on the road supporting CRX—the side project of The Strokes’ guitarist Nick Valensi.

Tastemakers Magazine (TMM): To start off, Wild came out two, three weeks ago, how was working with John Agnello on the album?

Dan Gibson (DG): It was really amazing. He’s got a really amazing history. He has mixed, recorded and produced a bunch of records which we really dig; he mixed a Phosphorescent album, Dinosaur Jr. and stuff. I suppose, you know, he’s got a lot of tricks up his sleeve, and it was really, really, awesome working with him in the studio. But, also, he’s a true artist. He’s always trying to make a song bigger, you know? And whatever the song needs he doesn’t need really any belief to take a risk and go there.

TMM: And as the singer, do you feel the band’s sound has developed over the years since the band started?

DG: Yeah definitely. I think from the first album that we had done, we really got into making a lot of our own recordings. This time around, maybe it is the traditional way of making records where you hire a studio out, and you pay lots of money to go to a studio and you track everything yourself, [but] this time around we did a lot of our own like demoing and made a lot our own sound and those kinds of sounds sprinkled kind of through the album, instead of just being producers, who definitely developed in their heads kind of in a soaked-in sonic of the alt of our music. Our last record is kind of more of a traditional indie-folk album, and I suppose this record we wanted to kind of stretch ourselves a little bit. There are some songs that are a little bit psychedelic or something […] The narrative is still the same, we are storytellers. We moved here from New Zealand, and now we have been here for four years or so, and that kind of narrative still soaks into the lyrics. So that is probably still the same. In terms of sonic, John Agnello really helped us out too, you know, he’s got some really great ideas in the studio. He’d be like “Oh, Dan, you want this sound. I’ve got an idea how to make that sound be there through this pedal or that.” That was really fun, too.

TMM: After the move to Brooklyn, and after the first record and now after this last one, how has the band preserved the narrative storytelling?

DG: I think we have lots of songwriters in the band, so we really challenge each other. You know, like my older brother is in the band and my sister-in-law. We constantly, when we write songs, are looking over the lyrics and nothing really gets past—if there is a bad lyric, you know, there is someone who would pipe up and go “Hey, you can write that better.” And I suppose that has created a really nice incubator in terms of our songwriting. Going back to the experiences we are having here in New York; we have been here for four years now, just our lives have changed a lot in terms of our old New Zealand life. You know, it’s hard, it’s hard living in New York City. The rent is crazy expensive. It’s hard on relationships—going on tour and things like that, but it makes great compute for songwriting and we love writing words and we love writing stories. I suppose having my family in the band and stuff really helps, but also the experience of moving here to New York City and here in America is just really incubated.

TMM: How has it been so far touring in support of the new album and with CRX?

DG: It’s been great. We have done three shows now, and we are playing Chicago tonight. It’s been amazing. CRX are just super great guys and they are an incredible live band, but it’s also just been a cool opportunity to go out on tour with them ‘cause our record has just come out, so it’s been really fun playing the new songs to everybody. We are really grateful to be on the road with those guys. We are at the start of the tour, so we got another 25 shows to go, so yeah it’s just getting started, but it’s been really great so far.

TMM: Before I let you go, where do you hope the band’s sound progresses to in the coming years?

DG: Streets of Laredo?

TMM: Yes, yes.

DG: That’s a great question. I suppose we just want to build a really solid fan base, you know. We want to make a little bit of a living doing what we love, and that is recording our own music and then sharing it with people. I suppose that’s the goal: To be able to write music and share it with people and also be up to make a living, that’s the dream. You know, land of the free—we are in America, I suppose it’s the place to do it, well maybe it’s not ‘cause Trump is president. We are going to hold strong.

Streets of Laredo and CRX will play Brighton Music Hall on Sunday, Nov. 20.

 

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