INTERVIEW: Daddy Drwg speaks influences, inspirations and his debut album ‘A Tree Called Happy’

After originally breaking through with his debut single ‘I’m Your Waste Of Time’ earlier this year, Welsh newcomer Daddy Drwg recently released his immersive debut album ‘A Tree Called Happy’.

Conjuring a brilliantly fresh and driven indie-rock sound for his newest collection, he has certainly looked to cement himself as one of the more enigmatic names emerging right now. So we caught up with him to discuss his influences and inspirations over the years.

What was the first rock song or artist that made an impact on you?

The first rock song which must have had an impact on me was Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick In The Wall’ (Part 2), their only Number 1. I was 5 years old when it was released in 1979 and my mother said that every time it came on the radio, I would stop what I was doing, turn the radio up and listen intently. I do have a hazy recollection of that. When I started to teach myself the guitar 10 years later, it was a song I would strive to learn to play, especially the solo.

Who are some of your biggest musical influences within the rock genre?

Going by my answer to the previous question, definitely Pink Floyd. I think Roger Waters is an excellent songwriter, lyricist and Bass Player and for me, Dave Gilmour is a guitar god. Animals is my most favourite album of all time. I used to listen to a lot of Metal and Hard Rock in my teens and twenties, not so much these days. Pearl Jam, Manic Street Preachers, Faith No More, Metallica, Ocean Colour Scene, Catatonia, Pantera, Dio, Sepultura, Jeff Beck, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Counting Crows, Marillion and many more. Whether I have been influenced, who’s to say?

Are there any non-rock musicians or genres that have also influenced your music?

I’m a big Neil Diamond fan. Another great singer/songwriter. He’s written songs which have been covered over and over down the generations.

What is your main inspiration when looking to write new music?

I don’t have any. It can come from a book I’m reading, a podcast I’ve listened to, an overheard snippet of a conversation, a news story, a headline or a personal experience. I’ve never sat down and purposefully tried to write a song. Either a lyric will pop into my head or a riff, melody or chord progression. I’ll usually fixate on it until I have the skeleton of the song recorded in some fashion before chipping away and fleshing it out, either then or at a later date. 

What do you enjoy most about performing live and do you have any memorable live performance experiences you’d like to share?

For me it’s stepping on stage to an audience that has never heard the music before and having that great feeling when they are won over, paying attention and listening. I have many memorable live performance experiences. For instance, playing The Howlin’ Wolf in New Orleans, the best live sound on stage I’ve ever had. Playing The Cavern Club, Liverpool, Johnny Depp’s place The Viper Rooms in LA, The Whisky A Go Go, LA. A lot of the memorable live shows were during a tour of the US playing 36 cities in 26 states. Back home in the UK, one of the most memorable gigs was supporting Shane McGowen. He got off the train at some random train station on the way to the gig and wandered off, leaving the band I was in at the time to play for another hour until his crew found him, rounded him up in a taxi and finally got him on stage.

What has been a particularly rewarding moment in your musical journey so far?

Having been a self-taught musician, going on to study a Postgraduate at The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, playing in many bands with some great musicians and having toured all over, I would say now is the most rewarding time in my musical journey. I have my own studio; I write for myself and for the enjoyment of doing so. I no longer feel the pressure to impress and of having to travel up and down the M4 in the back of a transit van loaded with gear to play to a handful of people in London on a Monday evening in the vague hope that there will be some A&R Rep that happens to be there during my slot at 10pm who will sign my act to their major record label. Those days are gone. I’m enjoying writing & recording music without any of the financial or time constraints. I can walk into the studio at any time and write. It has taken a long time to be in the position to do that.

How would you define success as a musician?

I run my own business not related to music full time and work as an independent artist around that. I would say if you’re able to work as a musician full time, creating music or being involved in music in one capacity or another, I’m not talking about raking in millions from royalties, but enough to pay the bills, that would define success as a musician for me. I have many friends who teach music and have forged careers doing so, sound engineers, tour managers, producers, session musicians, they’re all involved in music on a day to day basis. Hats off to all of them.

What advice would you give to aspiring artists who are just starting out?

Don’t give up.

Listen to Daddy Drwg’s debut album ‘A Tree Called Happy’ below.