Introducing: Daniel Moir

This morning we’re bringing you something a little lighter and relaxing, but all the same hugely enjoyable to ease you into the new week.

Canadian singer-songwriter Daniel Moir has a delightful brand of laid-back folky rock that I first encountered when I lived in Vancouver some eight years ago. Back then I reviewed his debut EP, The Country And The Sea, and he’s now on the verge of releasing his third album Swing and Sway on November 1st, following previous releases Road and Monday Morning.

The new album’s lead single Seize Your Day is a feel-good track that showcases Moir’s musical versatility, featuring African drums, chilled out vocals, acoustic guitar chords and electric guitar solos thrown in for good measure. It’s got all sorts going on but is pieced together beautifully and his voice is superb.

Swing and Sway sees Moir handle everything from the production, engineering, mixing, performing and even the cover artwork, which is a change from his previous albums, where other people would handle these roles. Although he played most of the instruments on the album, he enlisted a super-group of Vancouver musicians to add some additional touches. The album features Paul Rigby (Neko Case) on pedal steel, Cody Hiles (the Zolas) on drums, Alison Gorman (Queer as Funk) on trumpet, as well as Michael Fraser on violin. 

While Moir’s music is fairly folk-rocky in style, it dips its toes into all manner of influences. When discussing his favourite music he mentions the Low song Try to Sleep and Ray LeMontagne’s album Gossip in the Grain.

He said: “The first time I heard Jimi Hendrix I was hooked. After I played my first show at 12 years old I knew instantly it was all I wanted to do. I really love the work of Bonnie Prince Billy (Will Oldham). He has probably influenced me more than anyone else I can think of.”

Another track from the new album is the delicious track Sorry, which showcases Moir’s great vocals and gradually builds to conclude with a delightful guitar solo. Check out the video below:

I caught up with Daniel this week – for the first time in probably seven years! – to get his take on the new album and how his music has evolved.

Daniel told me: “Basically everything that goes on in my life influences me to write. Each album ends up being an unintentional autobiography of a certain period of my life. It doesn’t have to be events, necessarily, just whatever I’m thinking about at the time.

“Making music and the sharing of it makes me feel fulfilled and allows me to express myself. That is enough reward for me.”

The new album came after Daniel had a spell travelling in Asia. Daniel said: “I was feeling a bit burned out after (2013 release) Monday Morning. I needed to do some soul-searching and travelling that wasn’t just for music for once.

“But even in Indonesia I found it hard to keep away from music, jamming with locals wherever I went and even performing live at venues on the Gili Islands. I think what I learned from that trip, is that musical hiatuses are not for me.”

The break has clearly been good for him but, while he enjoys the creative element of making music, he harbours frustrations with the returns that artists gain from the hard work they put into their music.
Daniel told me: “With my new album coming out in a couple of weeks, that has been consuming everything. I’m getting ready for the release shows and lining up all the promotion of it. The best thing about being a musician is experiencing the pure ecstasy that comes with creating something you love, and also the sense of fulfillment that comes with sharing it.
“But it’s also extremely difficult as the industry is composed of the most insecure individuals in all of society – artists, and sometimes frustrated artists on the business end. This makes for some strange social interaction. You have to be careful because there are a lot of people out there who are eager to take advantage of a young and hungry artist.

“I guess the return in the music industry is never equal to what you put into it. It takes a lot of work to see a little reward. I am unsigned and stopped chasing labels a long time ago – I don’t think it’s necessarily the best way to go anymore.”

Daniel’s frustrations with the industry are totally understandable, but the more brilliant, talented artists like him in it the better the music world will be.

Daniel is promoting the new album in Canada right now and has tentative plans to come to the UK in the next couple of months. If he does, you’ll find out first right here!

Check out his music on Spotify and SoundCloud.

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