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Daao talks to us about his sensational album, “HOME” and his intriguing process

This amalgam of electronic and jazz is unique and in the eyes of some, contradictory spheres. How did you come across this sound? 

Over the past three years, I have devoted countless hours to immersing myself in a wide variety of music across different genres. I tirelessly explored and absorbed diverse musical styles, shaping my musical perception along the way. During this period, I found myself particularly drawn to jazz-oriented compositions infused with soulful vibes, while simultaneously being captivated by the groovy allure of electronic music. The influence of these two distinct musical worlds played a significant role in shaping the unique sound of Daao.

As these musical influences blended within me, intertwined with my emotions and personal background, a harmonious fusion emerged. It is through this fusion that I developed Daao’s distinctive sound. The captivating mix of jazz, soul, and groovy electronic elements resonates within my compositions, showcasing the culmination of my musical journey and creative expression.

Designing the corridors of HOME

HOME involves some great collaborations. What was your favourite part of having different musicians as part of your project?

From as early as I can remember, I’ve always held a vision of creating a team. An ensemble of like-minded individuals who could unite around a shared passion and a singular idea, this vision often occupied my daydreams. I longed for the camaraderie of friends, putting in the hard work together to bring a concept from imagination to reality. This, for me, is the spirit of “Daao.”

Though it’s been a journey punctuated with both successes and setbacks, I’ve been able to create some truly inspiring projects with those I love and consider friends. The journey has made me realize the immense value of collaboration in personal and professional growth. It’s the essence of all relationships, all connection. Flexibility and finely-tuned communication skills are the keys that unlock successful collaboration.

My album “HOME” embodies this understanding. It was conceived with a goal to inspire people, to encourage them to work in harmony, despite their diverse life perspectives and ways of understanding the world. The real highlight of working with various musicians was not just the music we made, but the shift in mindset it fostered among us. As “Daao,” I saw first-hand the influence of our collective efforts and how it helped to refine my communication skills, giving the project an impact beyond the melodies.

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A change in time from DAAO

From Three Year Journey, what do you find major pushes to a new sound to be?

While working on “Three Year Journey,” I found myself naturally gravitating towards a unique blend of acoustic percussion with electronic drums and sounds. However, this fusion felt somewhat incomplete at the time. After completing that album, I felt a compelling urge to push my musical boundaries further. I wanted to experiment more, to delve into a jazzier style, to challenge my own understanding of music and grow comfortable with this newfound territory. I can confidently say that this period catalyzed a subtle but significant evolution in the “Daao” sound. This transition, which began with “Three Year Journey,” eventually found its full expression in my subsequent work on “HOME.”.

Tracks like still do love you from the first album have a great epic like quality, while having a mixture of jazz frivolity. How do you compose tracks of this kind?

Truthfully, the process is less of a deliberate strategy and more of a freewheeling exploration. I suppose I’ve cultivated a mindset of free thought, something that seemed to be particularly prevalent during that period of my life. I remember I would start a conversation on one topic, delve deeply into it, only to forget what the original point was. This propensity for nonlinear thought, which I’ve had since childhood, has been both a blessing and a curse.

As I matured and my cognitive abilities developed, I learned how to navigate this abstract mental landscape and pivot back to the point at hand when necessary. I believe “Still Do Love You,” in its fusion of epic and jazzy undertones, reflects this capacity of mine. The track’s composition, much like my thought process, does not follow a straight line but ventures into different directions, much like the “Daao” philosophy itself. It’s a melodic manifestation of my tendency to digress, then realign, blending different elements to create something uniquely harmonious.

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What part do you observe live audiences connecting most to during shows?

Interestingly, it’s the unconventional and nonlinear grooves that seem to create the deepest connection between the crowd and my music during performances. I frequently incorporate unusual, diminished chords with atmospheric effects, providing a constant undercurrent to the live experience. I activate these swirling, captivating sounds at climactic moments, adding to the overall intensity of the show.

In addition, I’m very attuned to my audience. I thoroughly enjoy moving in sync with their energy, always cognizant of their emotional response throughout my sets. This is my way of caring for my audience as “daao” – it’s a shared journey rather than a monologue. I sense that people understand this reciprocal interaction and deeply appreciate it, adding to the unique connection we form during each live performance.

Genres and cultures collide

Brewing different cultures together has resulted in songs like Traveler’s Ballad. What is the most interesting aspect of this global reach?

Creating music with such diverse cultural influences, like in the track “Traveler’s Ballad,” wasn’t really a result of a premeditated strategy. Rather, it organically grew out of my own explorations and experiences. My music is essentially an auditory diary, documenting the sights, sounds, and sentiments I’ve encountered during my travels.

What’s truly interesting about this global reach of “Daao” is how it inadvertently mirrors the rich tapestry of cultures I’ve experienced, the people I’ve met, and the stories I’ve gathered along the way. This cultural blending might also reflect my own Armenian roots, which subtly imbue my music with a distinctive character. It’s as though my heritage and my travels have intertwined, birthing a sound that resonates with audiences worldwide.

So, the most captivating aspect is not necessarily the reach itself, but the organic, almost accidental way it came about. It’s a beautiful reminder of how music, in its purest form, is a reflection of life’s journey and the myriad experiences that shape us.

Tony Donatelle laid down some great parts for 421. Does your composition revolve around his in these cases?

Actually, the process was more of a dialogue than a one-sided narrative. I initially composed the piece, and then I invited Tony to impart his unique flavor to it. However, it’s important to note that even though the initial structure of the piece was my creation, Tony’s involvement was inherent from the start.

Tony and I have shared a close friendship for quite some time, a bond that inevitably influences my creative process. Knowing him as I do, understanding his musical sensibilities, and having shared countless experiences together, all these have subtly shaped the music I create. This connection undoubtedly influenced the sound and feel of “421”.

So, while the song did not revolve around his contributions in a literal sense, his presence and our shared understanding undoubtedly seeped into the composition. Tony’s improvisations, therefore, were less about redefining the piece and more about augmenting what was already there, enhancing it with his distinct artistic touch.

In essence, this process illustrates the “Daao” approach to music – it’s not just about individual creativity but the alchemy of shared experiences, friendships, and mutual inspiration that breathe life into a track.

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Self professed metalhead, moderately well read. If the music has soul, it's whole to me. The fact that my bio could have ended on a rhyme and doesn't should tell you a lot about my personality.

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