Alex Rakowski: When did you become a musician?
Daemon: I always had a knack for singing and started performing in musicals early in elementary school. Around third or fourth grade my parents got me a Yamaha keyboard for Christmas and I started writing little tunes and playing along with the built-in drum machine. From then on I would bore my family to death every Christmas Eve with hour-long performance pieces.
Alex: What made you become a musician?
Daemon: My dad is hardcore into music. He taught me how and why to love it. He’s not a musician himself, just a music lover to the extreme. That and playing with his grandkids are pretty much what he lives for. To this day he is more into the indie music scene than I am and is always turning me onto new bands. Right now I’m listening to a CD he just burned me of Bonnie “Prince” Billy.
Alex: While you are a solo act for the most part, do you ever collaborate with other musicians?
Daemon: I often wish I had a band to share the burden with. An indie band today needs to do a lot more than just write tunes – they need to market, promote, and distribute them, too. As a solo act, I have to do all of that junk. But the fact is I don’t often meet people who are both talented and motivated. It’s pretty easy to find people who have one or the other quality, but in my experience having both is rare. I also much prefer working with friends as opposed to some stranger from a Craig’s List ad. When I can pull in a friend to help me out I don’t hesitate. Back when I was living in Chicago on old friend who is also a great drummer lived there, too, and I got him to play shows with me and perform on my first album.
Alex: Who are some of your inspirations?
Daemon: I have a wide variety of influences, which I hope is evident when listening to my music. I try not to record the same song twice and I want my albums to sound like a good mixtape. But just a few of my major influences would be Boards of Canada, Ladytron, and The Clash.
Alex: What was the inspiration for the new album, Background Processes?
Daemon: I love instrumental electronica in the style of Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, or Squarepusher. To me, instrumental music can often be more powerful, emotional, and thought provoking than music with lyrics. However, I realize that most people want to listen to lyrics and sing along. Lyrics are how most people connect with music. So that’s something I’ve struggled with on my two Monster-0 records: I have instrumental stuff that I want to share but I’m trying to make it fit in with this pop/rock music. It made sense to start a side project (which I ended up calling daemon) through which I can release all my instrumental work. The response has been very positive, so I think I made the right decision.
Alex: You’ve mentioned in the past that some of the music on the album has been used in musicals and similar type events, can you elaborate on that a little?
Daemon: I come from a theatre background and have a lot of friends producing shows in Chicago and New York. Over the years they’ve asked me to compose pieces for their shows and I’ve compiled many of these works on Background Processes.
Alex: Also you work for one of the most popular video game sites on the Internet, IGN.com, true?
Daemon: This is true.
Alex: If given a chance to sign to a major record label, would you leave your job at IGN to pursue music?
Daemon: I’m not in any hurry to leave IGN, it’s kind of a dream job. Plus, pursuing a major label is kind of outdated. Major labels are offering less and less that bands can’t do on their own. So I’m perfectly happy playing games during the day and playing music at night.
Alex: What are your future plans?
Daemon: I plan to keep growing my audiences for Monster-0 and daemon and maybe start another side project or two. I’m really into both hip-hop and death metal, and I have lots of ideas for both genres. I’ve also started dipping my toes into composing for videogames, a venture that seems like a perfect fit for someone with my specific skill set.