Listener is a poetry/indie rock mash up that sounds like it was made by a friendly band of pirates. They are also this weeks featured T-shirt Story.
A couple of years ago, I had been emailing Listener vocalist Dan Smith, trying to work out a show with them & 2x the Mono (didn’t work out, they got stuck at the border). But when they did make it to Hamilton on another tour I finally got to meet Dan in person.
I introduced my self to Dan at the merch table and he immediately grabbed me in a big hug and said (imagine this all being said by a pirate for the full effect), “Rrrrannnndellll, Grrreat to meat you! How have you been? So sorrrry about not making it to the last show… blah, blah, blah…” Now the reason I can’t really remember the rest of this 5 minute conversation, is that Dan never released me from his epic hug. He grabbed me, pulled me in and carried on the whole conversation while giving me a big monster bear hug.
I was both impressed with Dan’s focus/intentionality and yet weirded-out/unnerved by this intrusion on my personal space. Funny thing was when my conversation was over another fan walks up to say hi to Dan. “Hi Dan, I saw you in Toronto last week…” Dan grabs him in his bear hug and pulls him right in “Johnnnn! Grrrreat to see ya’ againnnnn….” You should have seen the surprised look on this young man, I’m guessing I had the exact same stupefied look on my face.
Listener has had a pretty profound effect on my song writing. Although I have always done some spoken word songs, I would always write the music first and add the lyrics afterwards. When I saw Dan do a solo Listener show with out the rest of the band he did half the songs as poems without music, and this really stuck with me. The musicality of the words on their own really inspired me. I wanted to write lyrics/poems that had that same innate musical quality in them before even a single note was added. I started writing lyrics with only a pen and paper and no guitar in sight. I would speak/shout the words, trying to see where they took me. This is how my song “Community VS Technology” was born. The great thing about putting so much into the words, is that it can make you have to dig deeper to find the right notes to live up to the lyrics, and when you are done you can end up someplace completely unexpected.