Multi-genre musician switches up his sound and persona once again on Modern Pressure
Daniel Romano doesn’t care about genre. That’s a profound statement considering he has dipped his toes into almost all of them, releasing a full-length album every year for the past four years.
Last May, the Juno-nominated Ontario musician released Modern Pressure, a record that wishes for the days of old, both musically and in production.
Think of the same tenacity and “I don’t give a shit” glam attitude as T. Rex, mixed with the soft, psychedelic sounds of The Seeds.
It was a fresh sound for Romano, but then again, every recording is for him. He’s what many in the music business like to call “a musical shapeshifter.” Simply put, he has no desire to stay rooted in one genre for too long.
“I honestly don’t think about it. The point for me is that I’m just expressing myself through art, which happens to be music,” Romano says. “I’ll usually just be writing the lyrics in the form of a poem and when I’m making the music, wherever my hand lays on the instrument—, that’s good enough for me. The musical structure is sometimes an afterthought.”
“The Pride of Queens,” is an almost satirical tribute to The Ramones, or most notably Joey Ramone, and one of the standout tracks on Modern Pressure.
“I wrote that one after watching a video of Joey Ramone dancing,” Romano says. “I thought it was time to write a song about that goof. He robbed The Ramones and he’s still robbing them from the grave.”
The bulk of Modern Pressure was recorded on an 8-track recorder in Sweden while Romano was on tour.
“We were staying at this old Airbnb and I asked this weird guy if he knew anybody who would be selling an 8-track,” Romano says. “Turns out he had one and we made most of the album there in a few days.”
Romano just released two full-length albums: Nerveless, and Human Touch. They echoed the sounds on Modern Pressure, but ultimately, the two albums were completely disparate.
“They were kind of part of the plan,” Romano says. “I kind of need to finish songs to their completion as I’m writing them and sometimes the song catalogue gets a bit dense, so I make an album.”
Listening to Nerveless and Human Touch in their entirety, the listener can try to pinpoint or pigeonhole them into a specific genre. There’s some lo-fi indie, but also country elements as well. But as Romano says, it’s just music.
“As a generation, ‘we’—and when I say ‘we,’ I mean the average music listener—have been conditioned to categorize music in genres,” Romano says. “And that’s the journalists’, reviewers’, and record companies’ fault.”
“It’s a newer thing too,” he continues. “Think about a guy like Neil Young. No one ever gave him flack for jumping genres and he did everything.”
Romano’s live show is also a dice roll. This go around he’s playing an early acoustic set, and a later set with his band, Jazz Police. You may never see the same version of Daniel Romano twice, but again, it doesn’t matter. It’s just music.
Fri., Jan. 12 (6 pm all ages acoustic show, $10,) and (9 pm w/ Jazz Police, sold out)
The Aviary (grand opening)