Editor’s Note: This was written by our Austin correspondent Lily Angelle.
Nashville Tennessee’s Daniel Pujol, whose singles “Black Rabbit” and “Too Safe” were produced by Jack White’s prominent Third Man Records, is not letting all the attention get to his head. Rolling into SXSW with a bundle of shows to play, including the official Third Man Records Texas Stand-Off showcase as an opener for Jack White in the flesh, Pujol and his band, that sometimes varies depending on who’s available, graced small Austin venues like Spider House and Austin Symphony Square ever so humbly.
With a southern edge to his garage punk, Pujol sings about things like vampires, Batman and his own pet bunny, as well as big-picture concepts influenced by his truth-seeking writing and time in grad school, seeking a degree in Global Affairs. His debut EP, Nasty, Brutish, Short via Saddle Creek Records proved to be a success, with scruffy guitar riffs beneath Pujol’s grating rock and roll voice and peevish demeanor.
With his first ever LP, The United States of Being out June 5th, Pujol used SXSW as a time to showcase his adrenalized guitar sound, mixed with unassuming charm and loud, fast tempo that drives it all home. We caught up with him on his last leg of SXSW shows, and although it was evident that he and his bandmates had been burning the candle at both ends the last few days, Daniel still ever so kindly took our questions.
30 Days Out: What bands have influenced your music?
Pujol: I like Louis Armstrong, and I like The Beatles. I like a lot of melodic stuff.
30 Days Out: We really like how you give a brief summary of the stories behind your music before you play each song. Why do you do that?
Pujol: I used to work at a venue in Nashville and it got a little boring just watching set starts, like ‘ this is me doing my thing’ and then it’s over. There’s a level of alienation that’s constructed in that and it’s possibly no longer affective. And, this is my shtick. It makes me comfortable.
30 Days Out: You’re affiliated with Jack White’s Third Man Records. Are you signed to them now?
Pujol: We did some work with them in the past and I played their [SXSW] showcase with Daniel and Stewart last night, and they continue to be very supportive and help me get the resources I need to make records.
30 Days Out: Is this your first time at SXSW? What’s it like, for you?
Pujol: No, second time. Last year I played thirteen shows, and it’s not that bad. I don’t really party at all, so it’s kind of athletic. It was harder this year because I was a little sick with some allergy stuff. It’s not that bad, you just have to pace yourself and do work.
30 Days Out: How is the Tennessee music scene different from Austin?
Pujol: There’s a very good dialogue between both of them. Austin’s kind of like a really big, sprawled Nashville. Nashville’s metropolitan area is pretty small, and Austin reminds me a lot of the city of Nashville, but way bigger.
30 Days Out: We closely follow not only you, but other Nashville artists like JEFF The Brotherhood and Those Darlins, and it seems like a closely knit music community. Do you guys hang out, or throw ideas around?
Pujol: When we were younger we did, before we started touring. We’ll see each other when we’re all in town. I saw Jake from JEFF – he picked up Daniel from outside our practice a while ago. I ran into the bass player for Those Darlins not too long ago. We’ve all known each other for about 5 years.
30 Days Out: So, you’re pursuing your Masters Degree. What are you majoring in?
Pujol: Global Affairs, political science, international relations kind of stuff.
30 Days Out: Do you get homesick for your bunny?
Pujol: Yes, I do. His name is Spooky.