NXTSTYLE’s 2020 New Music Guide: Daniel Ellsworth + The Great Lakes
An interview with Daniel Ellsworth + The Great Lakes
“Way You Are”
“‘Way You Are’ was the first single that we put out in 2019 which was sort of an in-between year for us. I was moving out here to L.A. for a little bit but we weren’t on the road because we had just come off of a year of putting out a record and touring in 2018 and some things changed in the band and we were kind of figuring out what the next thing was. We started writing and producing some songs just completely on our own and recording them on our own which was something we hadn’t done before and ‘Way You Are’ sort of stemmed from that.
I was messing around with a bunch of ideas in the studio and it all just kind of came together and Marshall and Timon came in and played parts on it and I was writing a song with a dear friend Ruby Amanfu and she heard the track and was like ‘please let me sing on this’ and I was like ‘you can sing on whatever you want, you’re amazing’ and so Ruby sang on it which was incredible and another friend Nick Sainato of the band Nightly played drums on it and just all kind of came together in a new and different way than we’d ever recorded before and and then of course with our dear friend Kyle Andrews we tracked drums and mixed to the track and it was just sort of this this new way of recording. We usually had gone into a studio just the full band and then tracked everything live and this was sort of the first song that we did differently.”
“’Step Away’ stemmed from a week long session with the band holed up in my studio in Nashville and we were just trying to do something completely different for us and in the case of that song we started with just a drum loop like an incredibly simple drum loop and limited ourselves to just a handful of chords in the song and did something a much slower tempo than we typically do and just sort of trying to get out of our usual headspace with the bands now being three of us. We were sort of having to rethink how we do everything how we write as a band and so that’s sort of how step away was written just all in one sitting.
The song is sort of about opening yourself up to change and to how that can be terrifying but also often times there’s a there’s a beauty within that mess and upheaval and I think that applied to us as a band this year and and certainly for me personally in moving out to Los Angeles and so that’s sort of where we’re “Step Away” came from”
“‘Out Alive’ is the third single of three we put out in 2020. It was another one that we self produced. We recorded it all in my studio in Nashville. I mixed it. We were on tour in Ohio which is where Marshall is from and holed up in his basement and did a bunch of writing. Our good friend Nick who’s an amazing drummer and helped write some of these songs and “Out Alive” was one of those songs so and that was cool because it was writing with someone new who brought different ideas. More of these songs will be coming out in 2020.
I wrote the lyrics about a friend who’s struggling with addictions and some other things and just how you’re gonna pull through because you know, I believe that you will, and you’re gonna come out alive. I think in a broader sense thinking about it in terms of the state of the world right now. In the state of our country and feeling hit over the head with negativity every day in the news and trying to take all that and put an optimistic spin on that which can be difficult for people to do but I think it’s needed in art and music.”