With the release of his new, four-song EP, In The Inbetween, on February 25, singer/songwriter Seiichi Daimo invites us into an intimate world of off-kilter but compelling songs.
The somewhat stark mix makes you sit up and pay attention, in a pleasant and satisfying way.
The title track, “In The Inbetween” kicks it off with a rollicking lilt and a singalong chorus.
With a solid beat and some badass banjo, it’s my favorite of the bunch.
The entire collection is well written and just different enough to get its grip on you and hold on tight.
Reminiscent of artists such as The Decemberists, City & Colour, and The Lumineers, Daimo takes on an indie-folk style, with lyrics written in a pop mindset. His Japanese/American home life injects some interesting influences into his writing and performance style.
Here we spent a few minutes getting to know Daimo and his new release. Check out this exclusive stream and read on...
What is the overarching idea behind the title of your new EP, In The Inbetween?
"In The Inbetween" came about when I was at a point in my life where I was feeling stuck. I had come so far in my life but still had so far to go. I then realized that this concept was universally relatable. We are all in some state of transition. We are always changing, time is always moving forward. It became more a metaphor for the cycle of life.
How does your Japanese-American background play into your musicality? You recently visited Japan, right? Can you tell us about the trip and if it had any influence on your EP?
I think my Japanese background brings a very smooth flowing vibe to my music. As well as the structure of being a perfectionist. I recently visited Japan for the first time. I had the opportunity to meet all of my family out there. It was beautiful and definitely a life moment. I took back from the trip the sense that we can be so different, live on opposite sides of the world, and yet we are all connected. Human connection is there, it's just a second language that we all have to learn that they don't teach in school.
Who are some of your musical influences?
Early influences were bands like Brand New, Taking Back Sunday. Later influences are Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan. I listen and study all types of songwriters though.
Can you describe your songwriting process?
My songwriting is very free form. I like to start off with music first. Once I find something I like I will vocally project the feeling that the music is giving me. I begin ad-libbing words repeating phrases I like. I continue to build off of that until the song is done. A song will take me a long time to finish but I think that songs should. Writing words down always takes away how the words felt in the moment and slow things down so I usually never write anything down. In my experience if I forget a "really good line" then it wasn't that good. I think my process is a way to naturally filter. The good ones will stick.
You have an interesting cadence to your melody in “In The Inbetween.” Do you have some thoughts on how that came together?
With the song "In The Inbetween" in particular, I was in my car humming the song a capella, then the chorus just popped into my head. I actually had thought i had already finished the song as a verse bridge format song, but once the chorus came to be, I had to completely redo the song. I think it came out to be a fun song.
My main focus as a writer and singer is to be genuine and honest. To me that is most important. I think just from writing and singing for as long as I have I've developed a strong sense for who I am as an artist. To me it's important that when I write musically I write with enough room to make unique choices melodically. I want to be known as an original and that it all comes from the heart.
Tell us about some of the instruments you used on the EP.
Sure! I play an Art & Lutherie (Godin company) - Ami, cedar top parlor guitar. I love the warmth you get from both the parlor body style and cedar top. It was worked on by the famous luthier, David Petillo, son of the late Phill Petillo. He's such an amazing artist and world class Luthier. Other instrumentation was done on banjo for lead parts played by Joseph Stasio, who produced the record.
What's in store for you in 2014?
2014 is going to be a lot of touring! First tour will be a big city tour of Austin, LA, San Francisco, Philly, and NYC. Dates our to be announced. For updates you can check out seiichidaimomusic.com! Looking forward to meeting like minded people and enjoying new experiences! I'd like to leave you with my words to inspire. "Make this life your art" and "shine bright!"
Laura B. Whitmore is the editor of Guitar World's Acoustic Nation. A singer/songwriter based in the San Francisco bay area, she's also a veteran music industry marketer, and has spent over two decades doing marketing, PR and artist relations for several guitar-related brands including Marshall and VOX. Her company, Mad Sun Marketing, represents Dean Markley, Peavey Electronics, SIR Entertainment Services, Music First, Guitar World and many more. Laura is the founder of the Women's International Music Network at thewimn.com, producer of the She Rocks Awards and the Women's Music Summit and co-hosts regular songwriter nights for the West Coast Songwriters Association. More at mad-sun.com.