What are your name?
My name is Jonathan Danyliw. I play mandolin and guitar in the band and also do some of the singing.
What is the bands name?
The band is called Murder Murder
How did you come up with the bands name?
Our music is rooted in the ago-old tradition of murder ballads- a folk music genre that spans centuries and has existed in various cultures around the world. In the beginning, we played exclusively songs of this type and the name came from that (it’s not really as macabre as it sounds- the name was originally intended to be somewhat tongue and cheek).
What is your genre of music?
We play high-energy folk music. Somewhere between bluegrass and outlaw country with a healthy dose of modernity.
Give us a little bio about you as a band and individuals.
Northern Ontario’s Murder Murder are a full string band with suitcase percussion who create a unique blend of bluegrass and outlaw country. Their virtuosic musicianship and evocative songwriting are backed by a wealth of traditional and original murder ballads. Murder Murder has been touring and making records since 2013. Canadian culture and a fascination with their northern surroundings are pervasive influences on their art and they set all of their narratives in Canada, primarily in Northern Ontario. Their third full-length album, Wicked Lines & Veins, is due out in September of 2017.
What made you go in to music?
Most of us have been pursuing music seriously since we were children or teenagers. Our reasons are varied. Some of us went to school to play classical music; some of us studied jazz. Some of us just wanted to write songs or felt drawn to instruments as realms of focus or because they felt like a natural fit. I like Sam’s reasoning the best though (guitar, mandolin, vocals as well): when he was a child at camp, he was allowed to stay up later than his siblings and cousins around the campfire if he continued to play songs for the adults. So he just kept on learning more and, I suppose, it stuck.
Are you a signed?
We are an independent act and, with the exception of a booking agent in Europe and some help from friends once and a while, we do everything ourselves.
Your single ‘Ive Always Been A Gambler ‘ is out, what an you tell us about it?
It is the first release from our upcoming third full-length album, Wicked Lines & Veins, due out in September. The song makes reference to several traditional folk standards and deals with the story of a high stakes gambler who has a disagreement with another player at the table.
What was the recording process like?
We recorded this song, as well as the rest of the album, at Sudbury, Ontario’s newest recording studio, Deadpan Records. It was engineered, produced, and mixed by our full-time sound tech/the seventh member of the band, Matthew Wiewel. We spent three months, on and off, crafting the album in the studio.
What was the writing process like?
Barry Miles (Banjo, Dobro, Vocals) wrote this song on his own so I can’t provide too much insight into that process. I do know that he spent a lot of time working in references to several traditional songs, though only he could tell you the reasoning behind those allusions with any real certainty. Musically, we collaborated with the entire group to provide the rough version of the song with structure and a dynamic arc.
Who did you show Ive Always Been A Gambler to first?
I think the first person who heard it outside of the band/studio personnel was Shawn Cosmo of Here Kitty Kitty Productions- the director of the video. Before the video itself came out, almost nobody had heard the song.
Will you be releasing a new EP or album?
In September of this year we will be releasing a new full-length album called Wicked Lines & Veins.
If so what can you tell us?
It’s all pretty hush-hush at the moment, but I can say that it contains 11 new original compositions and that we’re excited about it. It’s also the first album to be recorded at Deadpan Records with Matthew Wiewel, and we’re excited for the world to hear what he can do in his new studio.
Do you have any shows coming up?
We have a full slate of summer festivals here in Ontario through August and then, come September, we will be hitting the road to the Canadian Maritimes for three weeks. Upcoming festivals include River and Sky, Blue Skies, The Fred Eaglesmith Picnic, Summerfolk, Live from the Rock, and Northern Vibe.
Do you play any instruments?
Personally, I play a variety of stringed instruments. In the band, however, I play acoustic guitar and mandolin exclusively.
Who are your influences?
Each of us have our own personal influences and they’re all different. Townes Van Zandt and the whole Texas country scene are pretty well liked by the whole band. Gillian Welch and Fred Eaglesmith are also big inspirations. Also Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. The list would be endless if I thought long enough about it. Some of us are also really influences by experimental and progressive rock music.
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
Mostly from books. Fiction and non-fiction. Canadian history resources, southern gothic literature, western novels, etc. Also from films and television. Also from the dark recesses of our minds.
Would you be up for collaborations with other artists if so how could they contact you?
We are always interested in new opportunities and are reachable through our website, murdermurder.net
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
Our hope is to be playing music full-time in 5 years and to be sustaining ourselves fully from our art. Likely still living here in Sudbury but travelling even more than we do now.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
Most of us hold second jobs in order to pay the bills- it’s a tough go doing music full time. Some of us work in restaurants and hotels. When we’re not on the road we all live in Sudbury and also frequent the local venue, The Townehouse Tavern. Personally, I serve in a local restaurant.
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music scene?
I honestly have no idea. I can remember being a kid and listening to Guerilla Radio by Rage Against the Machine a whole bunch. Maybe that one?
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
I’m not sure if anyone ever gave me this advice or not, but one of my favorite quotes about living is from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
All that matters is how hard you work at your craft. You need to be working and improving every day. Routine and boundaries are conducive to creativity and technical improvement. There is nothing magical about inspiration and, in my opinion, very little to do with it is innate. It’s all about practice.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
“Under peaceful conditions a warlike man sets upon himself.” -Nietzsche
You get off a plane in your hometown,
1/ where is the first place you visit
Likely my apartment, though also The Townehouse Tavern or the Laughing Buddha, two local establishments that are sort of like watering holes for the arts community.
2/ where is the first place you see
When you get off the airplane in Sudbury the first place you see is a small outlying community called Skead. Mostly you’d be seeing forest, creeks, and lakes.
3/ where is the fist food place you go and what do you get
I would go to the Townehouse Tavern and get a hamburger I suppose. Some of the guys in the band have actually done this.
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Your instrument, your tuner pedal (very important), your stage attire, how to play the songs (also very important), and to drink lots of water.
Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?