Admin: This is your host, Admin Ryan for Das Klub. I’m currently at Brick & Mortar in San Francisco, California with LA-based industrial pop icon Daniel Graves of Aesthetic Perfection. We are very fortunate for this interview opportunity. First question, you recently went independent, what has been the most difficult part of that process for you?
Daniel: Probably the additional paperwork. That’s really it. I mean to be honest, it just seemed like a natural progression for us. We’ve always been a pretty much DIY band and I think the next logical step in the evolution was just to break from our labels and management and just kind of take over the reins ourselves. So it’s just a lot more rewarding and a lot more paperwork.
Admin: As a musician with your own label, what is your opinion of the RIAA, the Recording Industry of America Association?
Daniel: I have no opinion because they don’t ever talk to me and I don’t ever talk to them, so.
Daniel: Laser dick, LaserDisc is a good one. (laughs)
David: Laser dick!? (laughs)
Daniel: Laser dick (laughs). LaserDisc is one I hadn’t thought of, are there any companies that manufacture LaserDisc’s anymore?
Admin: I actually looked, there are.
Daniel: Really, can you still buy the players?
Admin: There’s a market.
David: Probably at like an Urban Outfitters or something like that.
Daniel: Yeah, well, you and I were talking about like, trying to find weird formats for the future and I forget, what was the last one that you said?
David: I don’t even remember. I mean what do you got, you got that 8-track, you got that Beta, those are all video formats though.
Tim: Those little music boxes, that would be great.
David: Little music box, that would be rad as fuck.
Daniel: Yeah, so, we’re keeping our options open. (laughs)
Admin: How do you define success for Aesthetic Perfection?
Daniel: I’ll let you know when I get it. (laughs) No, I mean actually, success is, you know, it’s an always moving goal post, right? So it’s like, every time you reach a goal, the next one gets set. So you spend a very short amount of time celebrating and being happy about that and then you just move on to the next one. So I think that’s probably the best way to kind of view success, is just a, you know, it’s just a constantly evolving set of goals and to set realistic goals constantly and then achieve them and move on and the next thing you know, you turn around and you’re just like “holy fuck, I’ve done a whole lot.” And I do that, sometimes I look back and I go “wow, I really have done a whole lot” in the last, how long have we been doing this?
David: What, since, I don’t know how long you did. I got involved in 2007 and stopped for 4 years.
Daniel: So, yeah, okay, too long.
Daniel: Too long.
Admin: What’s the hardest part of doing live vocals on tour?
Daniel: Just keeping your voice like in shape really because it’s not even the performing that wears you out, it’s the talking afterwards, it’s the lack of sleep, it’s trying not to smoke, trying not to drink too much. I mean it’s just, you know, your voice is an incredibly sensitive and bitchy part of your body and if you make the wrong mistakes, like health-wise, then you’re gonna pay for it for like 5 or 6 shows and so. Yeah, trying to get sleep, drink water, not smoke, not drink.
Admin: What was your first time going to a club like?
Daniel: The first time I ever went to a club I went in with my friend’s fake ID and it was a club called Nocturne in LA and I was 16 and it was a 21 and over club and I walked in like, “wow, this shit is crazy.” It’s like you know, when you watch like drama TV shows and they always kind of dramatize the goth club and it’s just, you know, really fetish and crazy and you know, it’s supposed to kind of freak out mid-western house wives, like, I was, you know, totally freaked out in that same way.
Admin: What experiences in your life lead you to an interest in atheism?
Daniel: Growing up Christian. (laughs) I mean really, there’s nothing, there’s no better cure for religion than growing up religious and I had some incredibly religious grandparents and I went through like weekly exorcisms and stuff like that. So if you’ve ever seen that documentary Jesus Camp, where they’re basically just like screaming at children to confess their sins and they’re just like “I don’t even know what I’ve done,” like, that was my life for like the first 10 years.
Admin: What advice do you have for bands that are starting today?
Daniel: Bands like Crown of Pity?
David: Oh, Crown of Pity, yeah, give me some advice bro.
Daniel: He’s starting a new shoegazey type band. The advice that I would give is just to do as much on your own as possible, make as many friends as you can and call in as many favors as you can because that’s really what this is all about, who you know and what they owe you. (laughs)
David: But rely more on your own abilities than somebody else, like don’t try to ride any coattails because they’ll screw you in the end.
Daniel: Yeah, so. We’re jaded in a way.
David: Sorry, that’s just my experience.
Daniel: Nah, this industry is awesome but, you know, it takes a lot out of you. So I think that, to anybody that wants to really get into this game, like don’t have any sort of illusions of fame or money or anything like that, just do it because you love it and suffer for it and if you’re down with that, then you’re gonna be fine.
Admin: What pop music are you currently into?
Daniel: What pop music am I not into is like the real question.
David: You like that Pvris.
Daniel: Pvris isn’t pop music.
David: Really? It’s gettin’ there.
David: You’re talking about like really, okay, you tell me that because that’s all I ever remember.
Daniel: Yeah, that’s true, I have listened to that Pvris album like 30 times on this trip.
Daniel: More. Okay, Ariana Grande.
David: Melanie Martinez.
Daniel: Melanie Martinez, yeah, I mean, basically if it’s a female and she’s singing about love, I’m probably really into it.
Admin: How do you describe a perfect day in the life of Aesthetic Perfection?
David: Everybody sleeps in a bed, nobody smells each other’s own bowel movements and everyone has 2 bottles of water before bed.
Daniel: I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Admin: Last question, having been on tour for about a month and a half, what do you miss the most about LA right now?
Daniel: Everything, no, well okay, the weather, my cat, my wife, the weather, my cat, my wife, my bed, I don’t know, like all the things that are kind of important to me; Mexican food, the weather, my cat, my bed. (laughs)
Admin: Well, thank you so much for your time and to everyone watching, please check out “Love Like Lies” by Aesthetic Perfection if you have not already. Is there anything else that you would like to say?
David: Listen to Crown of Pity. (laughs)
Daniel: Listen to Crown of Pity and thank you to everybody who has come out, shown their love to us on this tour, helped support us. We’re well on our way to being in the black, we’re only 3K away, so, 2 more shows and I think we can do it so, thank you for talking to me and thank you to everybody out there watching.