“When “Brown Sugar” comes on the radio, everyone wigs out to it and someone inevitably says, “Man, they just don’t make songs like they used to.” Why not? That’s what I want to do. That’s the music I like.”
Consider it Daniel Crisler’s musical manifesto. Keep listening to him:
“The founding fathers wrote and played what felt good, rolled tape, counted it off, and boom. It is in many ways, a lost and dying art – seemingly primitive, impractical, unsophisticated, and not financially viable. But, hey, if that’s how our favorite hits were made, I wanted to give it a shot and see what happened.”
Welcome to the world of Daniel Elias + Exotic Dangers, a four-piece rock-and-roll outfit from The Shoals, Alabama. Straight out of the gate, the band has garnered a loyal following— the result of four people taking the noises they love and distilling them into a full-fledged sound. On their debut, self-titled EP, the group creates music that jolts through the needle and leaps out of your speakers. This isn’t a new thing for Crisler, though.
“Living in Florence, Alabama my entire life, I have definitely had all of my fingers in music projects of some form or fashion – rock, folk, songwriter, experimental, church, indie (is that still a thing?), hardcore, punk, country, pop… a little bit of everything,” Crisler says.
His personal experience, along with that of his razor-sharp band (Maggie Crisler on farfisa/percussion, Brady Gomillion on bass and Jon Mosley on drums) informs his latest material.
“The main thought process behind the band is this: play music that I like and write lyrics that I like,” Crisler explains. “Our musical direction is most definitely rooted in mid-‘60s soil – hence the old Farfisa organ, 12-string electric, hand percussion, and no effects pedals.”
While the band’s rapturous live performances have left a wake of acclaim, it’s not because of a lot of bells and whistles. Crisler prefers a simple, no-nonsense approach on the stage.
“Starting out, I knew I wanted a simple and basic instrumentation for the group, Crisler adds. “Less is more.”
Daniel Elias + Exotic Dangers will release their debut Single Lock EP nationally on May 26th. A 45RPM 7-inch record will follow. The EP was recorded live-to-tape at Single Lock’s studios in Florence, Alabama by Ben Tanner (Alabama Shakes).
“We knew we just had to track it live and onto tape – what you get in the heat of the moment is what you stick with; there was no discussion,” Crisler says. “We cut six songs with just a handful or takes, in just a handful of hours.”
Knowing all of this, you might be tempted to label Exotic Dangers as a throwback outfit, or a retro cash-in. You’d be wrong, though.
“I, by no means, want to be a throwback band; that’s not what this is. We just like older music, older clothing styles, and older methods,” Crisler says. “Take it as you will. We just like it.”
“We’ve got the itch.”