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(top photo: Abby Banks)

Like many Brattleboro artists, Danny Bissette has an extensive hat collection.  In addition to recording and performing under his own name, Danny is a comic book artist, Wampum Physics University alumni, digitizer/mastering engineer, record store employee and active member of Grape Room.  The following interview was conducted via email between August 4-11, 2014.

M: What artistic pursuits are you currently working on?

D: I have been working on an album with Peter Nichols and Jo Miller-Gamble for a new band called Grape Room.   Really excited about that.  Gonna play some Grape Room shows around the northeast in August and September. Recorded some solo songs back in the fall and Peter and I are going to make some videos for them.  Comics are something I like to do.  Look for the “Spuds” comics Jo, Peter and I did on tour and “King of Fearts” comics Ruth Garbus, Luke Thomas and I did last year on my website  Right now the site is just a color changing background with some videos but that will change soon. Probably gonna put some newer comics I did on there too and those new videos when we get around to doing them.

M: What is your favorite building or structure in Brattleboro?

D: Parkers House on Wantastiquet Drive is a little dream home.  He’s some sort of scholar who wears all green and bikes around town. His house has all this asymmetrical lattice work with a little adjoining building that I’ve heard is his library.  It looks kind of Japanese and I heard it was designed by his architect friend.   His lawn is all overgrown with this big hilly lump that looks like replica of the Mt. Wantastiquet..

M: What is your favorite band in New England?

D: I’m really inspired by Peter’s Window.  His song craft and stage presence are really fun and heartfelt.  He makes me want to run home and write a song.  His songs deal with staying inspired, getting out of town, being in a band, wanting to be someone “upstairs”, purple slime, prairie dog breakfasts, all sorts of fun stuff mixed with feelings I can relate to.  He also worked with my friend Ian McPherson on a project “Tall Boys” which is really awesome too. He’s really helped me out of big slump. I also love Ruth Garbus.  Her new songs are really life affirming and deceptively simple yet really detailed.  I helped her digitize her new “Joule EP” and it was an honor and a privilege to help choose the final mixes of those songs.  So good.  I guess they’re not really bands but they keep me going.  Pyramid and Shoe is my favorite band in New England.

M: Few songs i’ve heard of yours use acoustic drum kits or traditional (though sometimes minimal) beats, yet there is a distinct execution of rhythm that I find a unifier in your aesthetic.  When writing does the melodic or rhythmic idea usually come first (lyrically or not)? On guitar do you write static strumming patterns?

D: I tend to just strum chords and sing along when I write.  Somewhere along the way the rhythm gets cemented, usually when I start recording or playing it with other people.  I usually have a general feeling about how the song goes in my head but the process of making decisions while recording helps me bring it into focus.  Sometimes it ends up totally different from how it started.  My sense of rhythm can be pretty loose but I try to be solid enough to play along to.

M: Do you think playing shows or touring is important?

D: Yes.

M: I hear you are part of a small mass exodus about to relocate from Brattleboro to LA. Have you visited before?   

D: I grew up in Brattleboro and now I am leaving to hang out with some people that used to live here but now they are in L.A. I have visited a handful of times.  For me it’s much more the people then the place and that’s probably why I hung out here so long.  But alas it is time for me to go try something new.  I will miss you :(.

M: What do you think is the role of artist in community in such a sprawling place?

D: Needle in the hay.

M: Is there a particular “scene” you see yourself working within?

D: I see myself at Abby Banks house eating baby corns or inspecting Sam Phillips hammer toe.

M: If you could compare Brattleboro and LA to a dish what would they be?

D: Brattleboro is a lot of overcooked green vegetables lacking salt.

L.A. is a tiered birthday cake made out of tacos covered in sparklers.



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