By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Everything is everything.
Although the expression was made popular by Lauryn Hill during her “Miseducation” days, it’s an adage that still rings true in today’s much more digitalized world.
WaxFeet – a chill pop duo based out of Santa Cruz, Calif. inspired by the likes of J Dilla and Nujabes – took advantage of this with their single by the same name, described to be “an audio and visual experience” that exists with a purpose of escape, to go beyond the limitations of what chill, lo-fi and downtempo can be.
The Music Bugle had a conversation with frontman Damon Danielson about “Everything Is Everything” and more, which you can check out below.
Music Bugle – How did you decide on the name “WaxFeet”?
Damon Danielson – WaxFeet is a not-often-heard surfing term. The more common term is “Waxfoot,” but that domain name was not available. Oh, well. A surfer can be called a “Waxfoot” and yes, you can surmise that we are surfers. We live in Santa Cruz, California in part because the surf rocks – but don’t tell anyone… about the surf. Feel free to mention the band.
Music Bugle – What was your goal for your single “Everything Is Everything”?
Damon Danielson – We wanted to celebrate friendship and touch people with a vibe that helps them get back into the flow of being with one another and just relaxing and enjoying it. Chill.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?
Damon Danielson – We are stretching the sonic boundaries of our genre. We strive to take people on a journey with every tune. We want them to get lost in the music and take a mini getaway. We spend a lot of time and energy on creating multi-layered sonic touches and we try to surprise people and draw them in with each new listen to every piece of music.
Music Bugle – What is the most challenging aspect in being a musical duo?
Damon Danielson – Hmmm… there are stunning examples of solo musicians who do all or almost all of their creating on their own. J Dilla and Prince come to mind. For the most part, I believe most recorded music is made by teams and every team works in slightly different ways. I don’t think there is a perfect way for a team to work. I have a rule, which says that I will not ask people to work on material that they are not excited about. If I can’t get Patrick jazzed about a section or a tune, I put it aside. I love working with talented people and listening to other people’s music. It inspires me to try new approaches to making music. In a way – all of our influences become co-creators of the music we do.
Music Bugle – Did the video for “Everything Is Everything” come out how you hoped?
Damon Danielson – Better than we hoped. We create and direct our own videos, at least so far and we do our best to see that things go well, but sometimes, you get a little lucky as we did on this project. Our friends had a great time and partied on, the weather held, we had a few quizzical guest animals. We think it’s a little magical and authentic and that is not an easy thing to create.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Santa Cruz, California to someone who has never been there before?
Damon Danielson – I remember the first time I drove down Highway 17 from the airport and first saw the ocean after crossing the summit. I was smitten with the natural beauty of the ocean, mountains and flora and fauna. It’s a small city of 50,000-plus people, but there are many things to do here, including an avid music scene, good restaurants, nice folks and a focus on being out in nature. It’s the birthplace of mountain biking and the world capital of surfing. There are lots folks here doing music, art, surfing, working in Silicon Valley and being entrepreneurs. The city prides itself on its own brand of weirdness. “Keep Santa Cruz Weird” is a motto for many here. Probably a good idea in this era when everything starts to look, feel and sound the same.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Damon Danielson – I love soaking up music. Lots of different genres and many different artists. I don’t have a favorite playlist I listen to on a regular basis, I just graze. I like Khruangbin, J Dilla, Miles Davis – and hundreds of other artists, including soul, R&B, chill, lofi hip-hop, jazz, pop and dance music.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Damon Danielson – Everywhere we turn these days, Covid infiltrates its way into our public and private life experience. In many ways, Covid has been good to me and my family. It has brought us closer together as we hunkered down and spent more time with family than with friends and people we don’t know well and from a creative perspective, I have found the focus and energy to create and release two albums and an EP during this time of affliction, but like many of us, I am a social beast with a big circle of friends that I love being with – and no – Zoom calls don’t make up for people getting together. Covid inspired the creation of our video “Everything is Everything.” Our community got off pretty easy, but in the midst of our masking restrictions, some friends of the family got together for a beach football and surfing and beer feast – which was okay with the powers that be at the time. It was great being outside and having fun with our friends and it made me long for a time when we could do these activities on a regular basis with lots of friends and no mask. A musical idea came to me that seemed to exude the feeling I was looking for, so when our local restrictions were removed, we threw a beach party that aimed to capture that spirit of being together and just having fun with our Santa Cruz friends. Except, this time, we filmed the event with five cameras and a drone and I think we were able to share a moment when people were focused on being together, having fun and not worrying about Covid. That’s a good thing. Thank you, Covid.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break?
Damon Danielson – Well – I love just sitting down with my Gibson 275 or my piano and plunking. Sometimes, I will browse through various streaming playlists and jam along. It’s relaxing for me. I am also addicted to golf and I love being outside. If there’s a swell, you might find me at my favorite Santa Cruz break, but don’t ask me where that is. In terms of travel – that’s a tough one because I love where we live and I have had the opportunity to go to many places around the world. It gets harder and harder to leave the homestead.
Music Bugle – What’s something that people might be surprised to know about you guys?
Damon Danielson – Okay, it’s true – I play the banjo.