Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. drove in to Costa Mesa by way of the Motor City late last year. They had only released an EP, Horse Power, at that time but had already gained some fast acceleration of blogosphere buzz. But the duo are back with a new full-length and a successful tour, which included a pit stop at Lollapalooza, below their seat belt. They're set to play the Detroit Bar next week to promote of their new album, It's A Corporate World. We spoke to singer Danny Zott last Thursday as he and Josh Epstein prepped for their fall tour in Zott's basement (which is, incidentally, where the magic began).
had a relatively quick rise to success with this project. You played
your first headlining show late last year and this summer you're playing
“I have arrived” festivals like Lollapalooza and the upcoming Austin
City Limits. What are your thoughts on that?
thoughts are just to keep at it and stay thankful and grateful for all
the opportunity. We're doing the same thing we've always done. Just
making music that we love, but I think it's a combination of having a
good management team and being very grown up now and knowing not to sign
a record deal right away and waiting for the right kind of terms.
Having the right name that works in the blogosphere right now. It grabs
attention and people check it out because they're curious. It's
a combination of all of those things for why it worked so fast.
Some of the business stuff has changed a lot and we're more mature
in that way, but we're not doing anything different musically. As long
as we keep making music we love, it will help keep the attitude stay the
right way. I think it's just the fact that all of these things just
aligned at the right time.
Sometimes life works that way. You work really hard at something- and
then we did this for fun. And then life was like, “Cool, I'm going to
reward you because you don't actually care about this as much.” It's
just funny how that works. It's very ironic.
How did you and Josh meet?
We wanted to look very astute. One of the ideas is that everything is for sale now. We're making art and we're selling it as a commodity. We were thinking about how wealthy landowners would hire artists to paint their self portraits. That was some of the first times that artists were getting paid to survive. It was either that you were really struggling or getting
money from having someone paying you to paint something. It's funny because, you look at Michelangelo, do you really think he wanted to paint all of the Sistine Chapel the way he did? I think the reality is he did that because it was a paying job, but it's still beautiful, right? No one is going to look at that and say “Oh, he built that and someone just gave him a bunch of money from a corporation.” No.