Living in Seattle, Danny Denial consciously surrounds himself with artists who inspire him. Little did he know he was also putting himself in the middle of a revolution.
Being Black and queer, Denial had no hesitations in marching with Black Lives Matter protestors. Though he doesn’t consider himself an activist leader, he has always been politically active. So once the marches started making their way into his neighborhood of Capitol Hill, he had no idea the police who had been tear gassing, flash bombing, and shooting rubber bullets at them for the past week, were going to retreat.
“We’re at an unprecedented point in this and a lot of us weren’t expecting it to go this way when we were marching every day,” he tells BTRtoday from the Capitol Hill Organized Protest aka the Autonomous Zone. “It’s funny because it’s being painted in the media as this anarchist warzone and I’ve had friends and family calling me like, ‘Are you guys okay? Are they keeping you in there?’ [laughs]—it’s like ‘no.’ It’s a very open come-and-go zone.”
Denial says the zone has blossomed into about four streets wide of daily speakers, forums, educational workshops and programs, as well as musical activities, artist showcases, markets, free food, free medics, etc. Though he adds there are a lot of fine lines that are in the progress of getting hashed out. “Seattle has a very small Black community compared to its predominantly white population, so there’s just a lot of inner politics that’s been meaning to be hashed out that I’m hoping we’re making forward momentum there,” he says. “I think we’re slowly getting there—the spectacle of it is definitely a deterrent and it’s been a lot, but it’s been really interesting and if nothing else inspiring.”
Danny Denial, “White Tears Fake Queers” feat. Rat Queen, Dirty Dirty, Slow Elk, & Razor Clam
Though inspired by renewed activism, the album he just released on June 12, Fuck Danny Denial, was actually him stepping away from his usual observational inspirations and trying to get more introspective. Before the protests erupted after the murder of Geroge Floyd, Denial felt lost as an individual. Fuck Danny Denial explored the inner mechanics of this multi-talented artists.
“[The new album is] more about displacement in the world and alienation and dealing with those feelings that stem from being a Black person [and] a queer person and dealing with all that,” he says.
Fuck Danny Denial boldly calls out deep insecurities to wrestle in the ring. Denial uses distortion, experimental sampling, and emotional vocals to create a whole new genre combining emo, garage, and punk rock. Tracks like “Everything Is Terrible” and “Am I Cool Enough For Your Love” will thrust you face-to-face with your inner angst.
Denial says the experience of creating Fuck Danny Denial helped him rediscover his anger and identity—but he’s ready to move forward from that. It’s the protests and shift in collective mindsets that are pushing him back to his observational style of music writing. He says his future endeavors are sure to be massively politically-fueled.
Hear the entire interview with Danny Denial along with tracks from Fuck Danny Denial and his 2017 album Goodbye on this week’s episode of The Music Meetup.