On today’s episode of Quarantine Sessions, we check in with Iowa City musician, Dan Padley. We reached Dan at his home by phone.
Mike Weber: Welcome back to 319 Creates. I’m your host, Mike Weber. On today’s episode of Quarantine Sessions, we check in with Iowa City musician, Dan Padley. We reached Dan at his home by phone.
Dan Padley, welcome to 319 Creates.
Dan Padley: Thanks for having me.
Mike Weber: So how are you holding up in the quarantine?
Dan Padley: Oh, it’s going alright. I’m still working. I’m still going to work at the hospital, so it’s not as wildly different as it could be. I mean, obviously when I’m coming home, I’m staying in and it’s been nice to make music way more than I have in the past. Keeping all my stuff set up so I can just plug in and play and record whenever. But that’s kinda what’s keeping me sane, I guess, is just playing guitar every day and making sounds.
Mike Weber: So for those who don’t know – and I don’t remember if I know, actually – what do you do at the hospital?
Dan Padley: I’m in the food service department, in the catering section.
Mike Weber: So has that changed at all with extra precautions with COVID-19?
Dan Padley: A little bit. We’re actually relatively slow right now, just because there’s not many service events going on. We’re kind of more or less on call, I think. I’m salaried there, so I’d have to be there.
Mike Weber: Lucky you.
Dan Padley: So it’s slowed down. But yeah, we’ve taken precautions. We just got issued the face shields yesterday. So that definitely made things feel a little more real. Not that it wasn’t real before, but it’s just like, yeah. Stuff’s happening.
Mike Weber: So then you said that you’ve been working on more music recently.
Are you just writing more material or are you trying to figure out – I know you did a live stream. We’re recording this on… I don’t even know what today’s date is.
Dan Padley: It’s Friday, the third.
Mike Weber: Friday, April 3rd. So, Thursday, April 2nd you did your first live stream. So why don’t we talk about that first.
Dan Padley: Yeah.
Mike Weber: Was that a new process for you? Have you ever done anything like that in the past? Were there any hiccups?
Dan Padley: I haven’t really. So, my friend Brian Johannesen, he did a live stream early last week, and then sent an email out to a bunch of musicians because that was kind of a guinea pig run for IPR to do their promoting of it. He said they wanted to do more, so reach out. So I emailed. It was kind of an impulse decision. And I realized that this weekend would’ve been Mission Creek and I was slotted to play there. I scheduled that for when my set would have been at Mission Creek. IPR was very kind to put that on and promote it and get the word out.
I haven’t really played solo much, until recently. I did a show at Goosetown early March. More like background music, like the ambient guitar stuff that I’ve been doing just kind of on my own. But in a live setting is new for sure. And then the week after that I had the great pleasure of opening up for Julian Lage and Dave King at Trumpet Blossom, which has been the last show I’ll play for a while. So it was a good one to take a break on, I guess. Then I kinda took those two sets. And I kind of realized I can carry some time. A lot of it gets eaten up by weird ambient loop stuff, which is fun. It’s fun for me anyway. I hope it’s fun for people that listen.
Mike Weber: Yeah. We actually tuned in last night and was listened to most of it. I’m constantly surprised with everyone doing these. I never really listened to or watched any of them before. And it’s interesting to me that we’re at a point technology-wise that this is not only doable, but you can actually sound pretty good doing it. When people started telling me that they were going to be doing live streams, I was just thinking of how a couple of years ago when I saw people doing it – putting their phone in the middle of the room and playing their guitar and nothing sounds good.
Dan Padley: Yeah.
Mike Weber: And now Facebook Live has gotten to the point where it’s able to utilize different audio sources and you can actually use a decent field recorder and pump it into your computer. You can sound pretty good doing it.
Dan Padley: Yeah, I was hoping to get that figured out. Truth be told, I just had my phone on a music stand and that was the audio coming in. I’m lucky that I just have the guitar amp as the only sound source and my voice when I was talking very little in between.
The quality just across the board is pretty incredible. And it’s been nice to see how many people are doing it and making music and making it happen. It makes you think that hopefully – I mean, obviously we all want to go see live music again when this crisis winds down, whenever that is – but it’s heartening that hopefully there’s more music in the world all around with people doing these streams. Then you get friends from other places across the country – across the world – that can tune in and see you.
Mike Weber: Yeah. I was talking with Miss Christine earlier in the week – that episode actually should be going out today.
She was saying the same thing, that she has friends across the country that very rarely are able to actually come see her shows. To do a live stream was something that got a lot of her friends excited because it gave them the ability to see her perform live. I think that’s an interesting thing. As much as we all like going out and seeing a performance live – myself especially – there is a different dynamic to being able to do a live stream. There’s always going to be people that, for various different reasons, aren’t able to experience it in person. Just broadening your audience and being able to get your material in a live capacity.
I think there’s something very unique – you can record a music video, you can record a live performance and put it on after the fact. But there’s another layer to it when you are doing it truly live.
Dan Padley: Yeah, yeah. There’s that engagement too. Last night I looked over to my computer because I had to go in there so I could see the comments better.
And then I was reading a comment as I was playing and I messed up and had to get back on track. But it’s that thing of like, “Oh yeah, this is happening right now.” I’m not just practicing in my room. Yeah, it’s live. It’s alive.
Mike Weber: I really wonder now that more musicians are experimenting with this, how much of this is going to carry on after we get past the COVID-19 pandemic?
I almost wonder if we’re going to start seeing more venues starting to stream portions or all of the live shows, just to keep more people engaged. I’m looking at the situation and trying to find – there’s no silver lining in any of this, but that doesn’t mean that we can find something good to pull out of it.
Dan Padley: Mhmm.
Mike Weber: And I’m really wondering if – talking specifically in the realm of music – we’re all traversing the landscape of live streams, are we going to pull something good and useful out of this whole situation?
Dan Padley: Yeah, that’s a great point about venues getting involved in this, because I’m sure some already do this from time to time.
Just bringing the music even farther to the people. That reach. I had friends tune in from all over. Like I mentioned earlier, I had friends tune in who hadn’t seen me play in the decade, like friends from high school. It’s always fun to have that experience and this is one way to make that happen.
Mike Weber: Yeah. It’s interesting. I think it’s really cool that musicians have this outlet, but as a photographer, I’m still trying to figure out a way to do something right now.
Dan Padley: Yeah. Right. I mean music is such a temporal medium that it just happens.
I mean, it’s recorded and you can relisten to stuff. But yeah, I don’t know. It’s a different medium altogether. That engagement becomes gone in a certain way because you can’t – I guess you could live stream you taking pictures of something. Not sure how that works out logistically.
Mike Weber: Yeah, people have been making jokes that I should start taking pictures of the computer screen during a live stream and start posting those.
Nicole and I have talked about that. I think that there might be something there – at least from the realm of satire. Speaking as a creative in this moment, trying to find new outlets to put out creative work into the world – I think that’s why I fell back so heavily on the podcast because this is something that I can still do.
Dan Padley: Yeah, absolutely.
Mike Weber: And, even in this realm, what we’re doing right now. Doing this interview over the phone was not something that I had even remotely considered doing prior to the pandemic.
Dan Padley: Yeah.
Mike Weber: The first round of the podcast I did in 2018, I hit a wall logistically trying to get people to be in the same room as me. And now, I think we’re on the fourth or fifth one that I’m recording right now. This just seems to work. I think I’ve got the system hammered out.
Dan Padley: Yeah, I mean, there’s always those extra tech hurdles when you’re doing stuff like this. It’s really not that much to overcome.
Mike Weber: Yeah. To me it’s interesting. I think all of us, especially the creatives, are just trying to find different ways to make the most out of this moment of history that we’re living through. I think it’s really interesting and I’m really hoping to see that a lot of this stuff will carry on past the social distancing that we’re trying to live through right now.
So I’ll ask you the same question that I’ve been asking everybody. Once all this blows over, what would you say is your number one thing, what you’re looking forward to doing again the most?
Dan Padley: I think it’s gotta be either playing a live show or going to a live show with friends and just sharing space with people.
I mean, I have a roommate, but, yeah. I wouldn’t call myself an extrovert really. There’s something about being at a show, especially in Iowa City. There’s such a big music community of all different genres and it’s always a good hang with so many different people. And the shows, the big shows, kind of bring that all out and bring people together.
Mike Weber: Yeah. I’m really hoping that once this all blows over, the community as a whole will pull together and do a big show at one of the venues or multiple venues. Especially with us missing out on Mission Creek.
I think it would be really cool to see Trumpet Blossom or Gabe’s or both just do a long Saturday show. Start early, go late, and just bring everybody back together. As a member of the music community, I think that could be one of the most beautiful ways to wrap up this point of our history.
Dan Padley: Absolutely. I would agree with that 100%
Mike Weber: All right, Dan Padley, thank you for taking the time and talking with us today.
Dan Padley: Thanks for having me. This is great.
Mike Weber: Alright. Bye.
Dan Padley: Be well.
Mike Weber: You can find Dan Padley on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. His latest EP Unscene is available now. Dan also plays with a number of well known Iowa City musicians, including Crystal City and Elizabeth Moen.