Nathan Danser – Genre is Over

They say the place you live defines you, but that’s only half true for Red Deer’s Nathan Danser. While he does have a collection of soft prairie-fuelled folk songs, Danser is also carving out a niche for himself by dipping into the heavy alt and experimental rock genres.

“My goal has always been to not allow myself to be labelled too much by that singer-songwriter folk thing because that’s not really my roots,” says Danser. “I’ve been in rock bands and written for rock bands, but doing the folk thing has been really good for the sake of the songs and for getting down to the bare bones of them. Stylistically, I’ve always preferred a bit of edge in music so if i can find a way to bring that in I will.”

  A perfect example of Danser’s unique take on experimental folk rock is with one of his latest songs “The Harsh Illusion of Happy Endings.” The song begins with a mellow acoustic atmosphere complimented by Danser’s keen vocals—somewhat reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens—and then later explodes into a raucous high-energy rock ballad. The abrupt jump from gentle to vigorous instrumentation works perfectly with the themes within the song.

Danser explains: “That song is probably one of the more elusive ones I’ve written for sure. I think the title says it all; the realization of knowing what you had hoped for isn’t going to work out and trying to sort out what that actually means. It’s pretty vague and I don’t know if it’s connected to a specific situation, but I know we all get into these things that we think are going to be the end all and a lot of the time, they’re not.”

Danser is an artist in every sense of the word. He’s constantly crafting new songs, playing every instrument heard on the album, and after speaking with him for 20 minutes, I get the sense that he would be making music even if no one would ever hear it. He makes it for himself, using it as a form of personal catharsis.

“I love that creative process of just trying to figure out how to create a song out of nothing I guess. It’s kind of been like years of piecing that together,” he says.

Danser released the You Were My Sunshine last year and he’s already working on his next batch of songs.

“I already have a handful of five or six tracks that I’m working on. They’re a little bit more of bridging the gap between folk and experimental rock. It’s pretty genreless as a full album, but I’m excited for people to hear it.”

By Stephan Boissonneault

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