Daniel Park

Daniel Park has endured quite the journey to arrive on the scene today – every step reflected in his matchless sound; a combination of sonic vibes that’s hard to stack up against. Park was adopted from South Korea at the age of 5, eventually arriving in New Mexicowhere he went to school for electrical engineering. No doubt, being an electrical engineer has its benefits… but it wasn’t what Park saw in his future.

He saw guitars and violins, and an attention grabbing album titled “These Illusions”. And today – we witness a brand new record that’s likely to launch Park to the next level he’s seeking: “Search and Rescue”. The collection just dropped on January 7th, what Daniel calls “an assortment of vignettes, that range from upbeat pop to sensible and deep”. It’s Park’s ability to adapt to an emerging scene that’s setting him apart (and the fact he’s one of few that can bring it on the rock violin) – playing shows with a looping machine that sets the pace of his guitar as he jams with the violin. It’s really something you must see for yourself, often hearing that fans “liked the CD but that (he) sounded better live”. Obviously, if you’re hanging out on the west coast, you should check out this guy’s schedule. There’s more in the works for Park, including a live record and a comedy album. Plus, there’s more to learn – keep reading for all the answers to the XXQ’s. 

XXQs: Daniel Park

PEV: Playing amped up live shows and acoustic sets which include violin and guitar, how would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others in your genre?

Daniel Park (DP): My live show is usually a surprise to new comers who have never seen me play before.  If they take a quick glance, it would seem that I am another acoustic act with a guitar and a microphone, but what you see is not always what comes out of the speakers.  What creates my magic sound is the looping machine at my feet, which can record at an instant anything that I play on my guitar and violin.  This is what makes me different than others in my genre.

PEV: When you first started playing music live what did you find to be your biggest challenge breaking into the music industry and making a name for yourself? Was New Mexico a welcoming area for you as a musician?

DP: When I first started playing violin with a few bands, it was great because we could say we were different than any other band.  I was the only rock violinist in the area.  But making a name for myself on my own was different.  I played more restaurant gigs, coffee shops, and so on.  I think New Mexico is definitely a harder place to be a musician, but it made me work that much harder to be where I am today.

PEV: You’ve said, “People would come up to me and tell me they liked the CD but that I sounded better live.” So, with that, what can fans expect from a live Daniel Park show?

DP:  A live show is a different experience.  The first CD I put out wasn't exactly how I thought it would come out, so I felt like I had to sacrifice some of the sound quality.  But I still have people asking me to play songs off of that CD because they like to hear the song played live.  My live show is engaging to an audience, meaning I like to include the crowd with some of the songs. This includes having the crowd sing along, clapping, and so on.

PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?

DP: It's usually, "What should I play first?"

PEV: Any preshow rituals before going on stage or do you just wing it?

DP:  I like to make sure I eat a good meal before performing. I don't like being hungry when I’m performing.

PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get your best ideas for songs?

DP: That is a hard question.  A lot of ideas for songs just come to me randomly, usually when I’m driving listening to music.  So I have to write them down before I forget.  

PEV: Tell us about your new album called "Search and Rescue”. What can fans expect from this work? How is it different from your past work, “These Illusions”?

DP:  "These Illusions" was a collection of songs that are more personal and intimate while "Search and Rescue" is an assortment of vignettes, that range from upbeat pop to sensible and deep.

PEV: Do you ever find yourself getting writer’s block and if so, how do you get over that?

DP:  I usually show it to a friend of mine who is also a songwriter, Eric Lewin.  He has co-written some songs with me, which his ideas really go a long way.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Daniel Park?

DP:  Ha ha! Well that I used to be an electrical engineer.  I went to school for EE and then worked for a few years in the field, and then I decided music would be my future.

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a career for you?

DP: Yes. I remember one day at my job thinking to myself, "Is this what I want to do for the rest of my life?"  The answer was no.

PEV: What one word best describes Daniel Park?

DP:  Friendly.

PEV: Touring and performing in places like Phoenix, El Paso, Denver, L.A. and San Francisco, in addition to regular gigs closer to home in Las Cruces and Albuquerque, how is life on the road for you in the music world?

DP: I love driving to a destination knowing that I am going to play music there.  I think traveling really is a win-win... Meaning, that not only do I get to perform for brand new people that have never seen me play before, I also get to hang out in a city that I’m not usually in, and hang out with people that I don't usually hang out with.

PEV: A former engineering student at New Mexico State, what made you decide to leave that behind and focus on music?

DP:  Well I knew after a few years that I didn't want to do engineering for the rest of my life.  But I didn't know if I could afford to be a full time musician, so I waited until I was ready.  So I quit December 2010 and it was the best decision of my life.

PEV: Is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?

DP: I would like to travel to Europe and play someday.  But really I would like to travel anywhere to play music.

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

DP:  Most days I find myself catching up with emails, phone calls, running errands.  Besides that I really enjoy watching movies, hanging out with my friends of course, and occasionally I’ll play some Halo: Reach on the Xbox.

PEV:  Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?

DP:  There are several friends that I have met that I think have the potential to rise up and do great:  Shane Wallin (www.shanewallinmusic.com) and Jay Allan (www.jayallanmusic.com)

PEV: So, what is next for Daniel Park?

DP:  In 2011, I am planning on traveling a lot farther than I have traveled before. I am also planning on releasing a live album and also a comedy album that is already in the works.

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