Between his candid lyrics, toothy grin and unmistakable cackle, there’s no question that Detroit native Daniel Sewell, better known as Danny Brown, has made quite a name for himself throughout the hip-hop scene over the past ten years.
And this past month, joining a lineup including Paul Simon, Chance the Rapper and Bon Iver at Eaux Claires Music Festival, Brown’s performance was one not to be missed.
Before taking the stage, we stopped by his dressing room to get some final thoughts from the man himself on topics ranging from his relationship with Justin Vernon, to his first concert and his true thoughts on singing in the shower.
Listen to our full interview with Danny Brown below:
Danny Brown: Hi, I’m Danny Brown and we’re here at Eaux Claires Music Festival.
Makenzie Boettcher: So we’re here at the music festival curated by Justin Vernon aka Bon Iver. You guys have two pretty opposite sounds. Are you a fan of –?
DB: I wouldn’t say opposite sounds. We’re both progressive in our music, we’re both songwriters, we both take a lot of time with our music…there are a lot of similarities and he just here. We was just kickin’ it.
[Justin Vernon and I] are both progressive in our music, we're both songwriters and take a lot of time with our music.
MB: That’s awesome. I was going to say, are you guys buddies?
DB: I mean, yeah, we’ve been FaceTiming here and there and talking. So yeah! I would say he’s my buddy now.
MB: Are you a fan of his music?
DB: Yeah! Since “Skinny Love”! *laughs*
MB: Do you remember the first concert you went to?
DB: Yep. The first concert I went to was called Fresh Fest and it was Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, and Run D.M.C. It was tremendous. I was in kindergarten and I’ve been a rapper ever since.
MB: You were in kindergarten!?
DB: I believe so.
MB: Parents take you? Or friends? Like, how does that work when you’re in kindergarten?
DB: My dad took me. It was at Pine Knob which is DTE – it changed names – I played there with Rocky Rose. Kind of tremendous to do that but yeah, it’s like a sit-down, all grass, type of…I don’t know what you call those venues, but one of those things. And yeah, my dad said soon as the music started, I just mimicked everything I saw them do on stage and acted like I knew every song I didn’t even hear. It just was me rambling saying crazy s**** and just looking stupid – I embarrassed him, kind of.
My dad says as soon as the music started I just mimicked everything I saw them do on stage and acted like I knew every song... I was in kindergarten and I've been a rapper ever since.
MB: Let’s talk singing in the shower. Are you a shower singer?
DB: I used to be. Like, back in the day. You know, listen to the music while you take a shower type of shit but not anymore because you got to pay attention to cleaning your a**. You know what I’m saying. You know that deters you from…you know what I’m saying.
MB: You got to stay focused.
DB: Yeah, yeah. So I got a lot of stuff I like to take care of. I’m getting older now so you know there’s a lot of thing you got to do like scrub feet better, you know what I’m saying? Clean ears, you know what I’m saying? You got to use facial products now, you know what I’m saying? Because you’re getting older, you know?
MB: It’s a tough life.
DB: Well I wouldn’t say it’s a tough life. That’s just part of being hygienic! If that’s a tough to you then hey, you got a stinky a**!
MB: When you were a shower singer, what was your go-to shower singing song? Or guilty pleasure song?
DB: Now I wouldn’t say “guilty pleasure” song. I would listen to music that would like, prepare you to get like, fresh, you know? Songs that was about putting on good clothes and songs about self-esteem, I guess. I used to like The Cool Kids, Going Fishing…it’s not Going Fishing it’s the bicycle one.. (*Asks the room*) What’s the bicycle one? …When Fish Ride Bicycles! That’s a great shower album. Ironing clothes…you’d pick out the best outfit ever listening to that album.
MB: What’s a current song that you have been listening to?
DB: I’ve been listening to a lot of Black Sabbath lately… just discovered it. I love to just go back and get into stuff I haven’t gotten into and Black Sabbath has been my new thing lately. “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” was probably the first introduction. My favorite song right now would probably be “After Forever”….. I’ve always been into rock music. My favorite band is System Of A Down.
MB: That’s so funny. We were talking to Perfume Genius and he said the same thing.
DB: So now it’s like, to listen to Sabbath, I’m seeing similarities. I can see where they got influence from now…with transitions and stuff like that. Korn. I love Korn too. Well, Korn up to Issues. Those are my two bands. My two go-to bands.
MB: Awesome. So you go on in a little over an hour…. Any pre-show rituals?
DB: I mean I usually be sitting here trying to figure out my lyrics so I don’t mess them up but right now I’m doing an interview so I can’t be doing that right now. So if I mess up, it’s on ya’ll. Just blaming it on ya’ll. I’m telling you, it’s on ya’ll.
MB: We’ll take the blame. You can call us out, that’s fine.
DB: That’s messed up! You would take the blame and mess up all those people who want to see a good show just for you to get a good interview. You are so selfish! That is so selfish of you!
Check out Danny Brown as our featured guest on 5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To with Justin Barney here.