Songwriter and composer Daniel Knox has today announced his new album Chasescene, which features vocals from Jarvis Cocker and Nina Nastasia.
Speaking of the track and video Knox says - "I think of Cut from the Belly as a sort of back yard Moby Dick. Or maybe an internal one. I think its protagonist is very sure of himself and there's a sort of comedy in that kind of confidence. The sort of person who would take their vengeance to the brink of absurdity always fascinated and horrified me.
I really like the video W.S. Beasley directed because he knows how to let the music serve the images instead of the other way around. It doesn't try to interpret or tell the song's story. It gives it somewhere else to live without trying to sell you a beginning or ending. But it feels connected to the song in that it's like watching a missing piece set to a song about missing pieces."
Daniel Knox lives and works in Chicago, but it's not the Chicago known by most. His is a different city, a city almost entirely his own, set in the small hours. Something of a nocturnal creature, Knox roams a city of dark corners and quiet beauty; a place unstuck by time where the lines between himself and the character driven personas of his music blur.
It's in this setting that Knox's unique sound was born. Upon discovery that most hotels downtown have a dilapidated old piano tucked away somewhere in their lobby, and that during the deepest hours of the night nobody is going to stop you strolling in and using them (mostly), Knox began to teach himself. Roaming around from hotel to hotel, on a different piano every night for as long as he could get away with Knox learned his own unconventional style - seeing Knox play the piano it's apparent that he wasn't taught traditionally but possesses a gift, he hops wildly around the keys and makes his own way. From there he began to craft the songs you'll hear on both his self-titled record released in 2015 via Carrot Top and his new album, Chasescene.
These are songs rooted in tradition, stories of true love and loss. Murder ballads met by Shakespearean tragedy against a backdrop of Lynchian contemporary America. Knox grew up spending more time in movie theatres than most people do in their entire lives, currently he works (late shifts) as a projectionist at Chicago's historic, beautiful Music Box Theatre - occasionally enlisted to play the dusty old organ that sits in the corner of the screen. Knox's influences unsurprisingly stem from here too, the language and feel of movies are what shapes his music inside and out. Most prominently in the work of Wim Wenders, David Lynch, Errol Morris, Charlie Chaplin and Abel Gance. In terms of singing he cites Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich and Maurice Chevalier. Some other musical influences include Gavin Bryars, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Paolo Conte, Roberta Flack, Scott Walker, Iris Dement, Randy Newman and Moondog.
Of the many remarkable things about Daniel Knox - and there are many, he's one of those artists who the more you look the more weird and wonderful details you'll find about him - one of the most significant is that people don't seem to just be fans of his, you get sucked into his world, completely enamoured. This has reaped some pretty remarkable rewards; through chance meetings and natural word of mouth Knox has worked with his idol David Lynch, collaborated with the likes of Andrew Bird, Thor Harris (Swans, Bill Callahan), Richard Buckner and David Coulter (Tom Waits, Damon Albarn, Yoko Ono). On this album both Jarvis Cocker and Nina Nastasia, two of his big influences, feature as guest vocalists with the late Ralph Carney (Tom Waits), David Coulter, Jason Toth (The Handsome Family) and more playing on the album elsewhere.
Chasescene came together similarly naturally - a mixture of real-life experiences and gallows humour. Knox journeys in and out of the lives of the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly; telling tales both close to home and entirely other, stories that are otherwise untold. Chasescene welcomes you into its world, Knox taking the role of both narrator and resident, surrounded by characters from every walk of life, observed intimately from a distance and without judgement. This is where Daniel Knox resides, an imperfect world with an irresistible charm.