Daniele Daniele of priests BY: SA R A H ST R AU SS PHOTO: MIC H A EL A NDR A DE
I saw the band PRIESTS at Williamsburg Music Hall opening for The Julie Ruin. Their music is joyful punk and features GL Jaguar on guitar, Taylor Multiz on bass, Katie Alice Greer on vox, and Daniele Daniele on drums. Inspired by Daniele’s exuberant performance, I proposed a conversation on punk. T O M T O M M A G A Z I N E: IF PUNK I S A B O U T R E S I S T ANCE TO S T R U C T U R E W H Y I S PUNK D R U M M I N G S O H I G HLY STRUC T U R E D ? I T S T A Y S PRETTY T R U E T O A F A S T 4/4. Daniele Daniele: I think one reason for that is a 4/4 beat is the easiest/most intuitive beat to learn and play. Punk values the amateur because punk was originally about fighting society’s restrictions and rules. Pop music in the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s was very restrictive. You had to be connected or you had to be pretty or sing about such and such subject matter in such and such a way. Punk was intended to be a f*** you to all that. Punk is the idea that if you have no money and want to make loud, ugly music and sing about taboo topics, you can do it, and no one can stop you if you just do it yourself (hence DIY). Valuing amateurism is part of that. Requiring that musicians have certain technical skills excludes a lot of people from making music. Maybe I couldn’t afford to buy gear as a kid, maybe my school didn’t offer music les-
sons, maybe I didn’t start playing music till I was much older. By valuing simplicity, punk values a type of music that is inclusive, that everyone can participate in no matter their background. WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES YOUR BAND PUNK? WHAT ATTRACTS YOU ABOUT THAT LABEL? Sometimes, I just feel like my whole life has to be channeled through commodities in one way or another and that makes me angry. Too often I think we feel like the only way we can connect with other humans is in this predetermined way, like buying and selling things or via social networking. Making music was so revelatory for me, because it was a way of creating an identity and connecting with people that didn’t involve money or predetermined forms. It makes me especially angry when music becomes not this thing uniting people, but another commodity that someone else can use to manipulate how people express themselves and connect with others—and then, in turn,
make money off that process. I was drawn to punk, well a certain lineage of punk, because it seemed to express an understanding that everything in this world is manipulated by market forces. I want to focus my energy on making sure that I’m the one creating these identities not some third power hiding in the wings. We are performance artists after all. HOW DO YOU GET TO DO THAT BY DRUMMING IN A PUNK BAND? A drum beat is so powerfully subversive. It makes you follow its time, move in its time, think in its time, and when you play in front of an audience, it has this really cool effect of syncing everyone up, almost against their will. Like, ‘oh shit, you didn’t mean to, but look! you’re a part of this bigger thing. See your foot tapping, your head bobbing? You’re doing it in time with all these other people!’ I think being reminded you’re a human that is connected to all these other humans whether you like it or not is important.
TO M TOM MA GA Z INE