What is the best thing about the Danielson movie?
It’s done. No, just kidding. But seriously, it took a long time and I’m still shocked that it’s completed. The best thing about the film is that people have reacted to it in ways I didn’t expect. A lot of artists tell me that the movie made them think deeply about their own struggles with creativity and reception.
What do you think will be most surprising to people who see it?
That the Danielson folk are very genuine, regular-type people. I was almost torn between revealing how regular they are and wanting to maintain the mystique about them, which I think serves them well in many ways. That said, they are different from most of us in that they get along amazingly well with family members and dress in costumes to perform live together, so I think the complexities are better than just the surface in the end.
What projects are you working on now?
I’m trying to finish up a film that has taken me even longer than the Danielson movie. It’s about the transformation of Brooklyn, as reflected in the experiences of men who raise pigeons on their rooftops. Like in “On the Waterfront” or “Ghostdog.” But it’s a documentary. Also, there’s a film about a shuttered mental hospital in upstate New York.
Religion plays a big part in Danielson’s music. Do you think that this has helped or hurt their career ?
No and maybe. Daniel’s music and art making are so entwined with his spiritual life that it’s hard to separate them. But if we were to imagine him doing a really similar thing without the God parts, I think he would have found an audience, and maybe even a bigger one, but not as sustainable an audience. People are attracted to authenticity. Novelty is only good so long as it’s new.
Danielson: A Family Movie is playing at the Red Vic from Thursday through Saturday (Jan 25-27). 1727 Haight St. at Cole.
Photo by John Ringhofer