Damien Juardo will be making an appearance Thursday, 5.17 at the Andy Warhol Museum. The long time singer/songwriter has just completed his 12th solo album entitled Maraqopa. Produced by Richard Swift, the new album peaked on the Billboard top 200 albums last month. Damien was kind enough to give us an interview talking about he has been able to make it as an 'indie' artist, social media and his admiration for the Warhol museum. We are giving away a pair of tickets to the show. As usual, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name.
A lot of the business decisions, not creative, come from my wife and the label. However, it was partly a result of the number of songs Richard Swift and I were able to record in the studio. We had tracks that just didn’t fit in the context of what became Maraqopa. As far as sales go? This was my first record to debut on the Billboard top 200, which I was happy to hear.
How have you been able to make it this long as an ‘indie’ solo artist? What is the secret from an economical and motivational standpoint?
A great record label, huge faith in your talent, and the ability to live on a tight budget for long stretches.
You have been writing/touring for the last 6 years full time. How has the life been? Do you miss working a regular position?
I do not miss working 9 to 5, though I miss the consistency and routine of home. If I could make music without having to be away from my son and my wife, I would. But touring is a part of being a songwriter.
I know one of your former collaborators David Bazan has switched up the way he performs to house shows plus releasing his music independently. Have you ever thought of going this route? Or does it make more sense for you to be on a label?
I’m on the best record label in the world. I’ll keep making records with them as long as there are records to be made.
How do you feel about the social aspect of music these days? Your songs, thoughts (twitter, soundcloud, blog) are all out there. Do you feel more connected with fans? Do you ever feel it’s too much?
My only problem with things like twitter and social media in general is that it takes away the ‘mystery’ that artists of my childhood had. I used to like the fact that I could buy a record and not know anything about the artist whatsoever. It made seeing them live that much more exciting. Nowadays, fans just feel like they know artists personally. I’m on the fence as to whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
Your new album, Maraqopa, was just released. What is the difference between this new and previous?
I think the answer is in the listening to that record versus the older ones. Though they’re all different from one another, I personally felt a lot more creative freedom in the studio with Richard Swift.
The new album was produced with Richard Swift (as was the last). What did he bring to the table that others you have worked did not?
Richard Swift not only brought his own talents as a producer, engineer, and musician. He brought an open ear and an expansive concept of what these songs could be.
You are creating music with a band now and as a solo artist both signed to Secretly Canadian Records. Will these songs be written as collaboration (Gathered in Song)? And will you be pivoting between a solo then band album?
I will continue to write songs on my own, and record them in the studio with Richard. If the band will continue to join me for live performances, I’ll be thrilled, as they are great people to play and travel with. The world of touring and the world of recording are totally separate for me, and I like that.
What made you want to dedicate your life to music? Was there a show or album?
- This was literally the only thing I knew how to do. This allows me to somehow make a living and feel creatively fulfilled, which I’m grateful for. Sometimes I see the ‘normal’ folks heading to their jobs in the morning when I’m at home, and I envy them. That’s just not me though.
What are your upcoming goals? What would you like to accomplish?
I make no goals, I live in the now, so it would be hard to say what the next year or album will look like. I live for today.
Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh?
I really love the Warhol museum. I love the way the bridges get lit up at night. Pittsburgh doesn’t get enough credit as far as I’m concerned, it’s one of my favorite cities to visit, with great well preserved architecture. There’s also a really great selection of local potato chips, no joke.
Show begins at 8p with tickets only $15 and can be found here. More information on Damien at these sites: