Daniel Ellsworth and the Great Lakes are coming into their own. In 2018, the band will release their new album, Fashion, in 3 parts. While the full LP isn’t slated to drop until later in the year, a pair of EP’s are coming your way soon. The first will arrive in just over a month, with the next one coming in the spring. In October, they debuted the video for their incredibly fun track “Control.” Ellsworth described it as being about “falling head over heels for someone who marches to the beat of their own drum and wanting to lose yourself completely with that person, never changing that person.”
For this album, the band took their time, spending over a year at Elephant Lady Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, working with Kyle Andrews. The passion of the project really shines through in their first single “Control,” which has gained traction in the pop and indie rock world.
They will play a one off in Nashville this Sunday (January 14) at 3rd and Lindsley for Lightning 100’s Nashville Sunday Night concert series. Joining DE+TGL will be The Day Breaks and Victoria Bigelow. Tickets are moving fast and can be found here.
Recently, we caught up with frontman Daniel Ellsworth to talk about Bon Iver, music in the age of streaming, and their forthcoming albums.
GSLM: When did you first get the bug and step on to the stage?
Ellsworth: It was sort of an accident. I was studying music and started writing songs unintentionally. I probably had five or six original songs, and the rest were Elliot Smith and Jeff Buckley covers. I was in college in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. It would have been at the venue on campus. (Laughing) I go back and listen to the demos of those songs…
I left Eau Claire after two years and moved down to Nashville. When I think back, that prompted it. I thought that if I want to make music, I can’t be in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. A year after I moved to Nashville and was at Grimey’s (laughing) and all may friends were saying, “Have you listened to this new Bon Iver record. You should check it out.” This is back when music was magazines were still in print. There was a Paste magazine, and Justin Vernon was on the cover. I thought, “I recognize that guy.”
When I started as a freshman, he had the only band worth seeing, DeYarmond Edison (Members of Bon Iver, Megafun, and Field Report). (Laughing) I moved away, and Eaux Claire, Wisconsin is the only thing anyone is talking about. There is no way that you could have predicted that this tiny river town, where the only thing to do is get hammered at bars, would have… Sometimes I think, “Should I have stayed in Eaux Claire?”
GSLM: And now there is a festival named after the city that Vernon curates.
GSLM: Then upcoming album, Fashion, is a move in a slightly more radio friendly direction than your previous albums. And it is not that bands set out to write radio friendly music, but when talent meets hit making potential, isn’t that what we strive to create?
Ellsworth: We all studied music in school. At the core, everyone is a good pop fan. Tom Petty is our end all be all as a guy who walked the line between rock and pop. It worked on the radio, but was also musically interesting. It was doing stuff the way he wanted to do it. From the beginning of the and, that has always been something that we wanted to do. We want to make stuff that draws people in, that is catchy, but we also want it to be musically interesting.
We would say that they are nailing it, and you would be hard pressed to find a better group of guys, let alone musicians. They will be household names. Mark our words. Buy their music. Go to their shows. Write them weird fan mail (if that’s still a thing, and if not, let’s bring it back). Basically what were saying, and the song below will demonstrate, is that Daniel Ellsworth + The Great Lakes are modern pop music. It is in their blood, and evident in every song that the sing. We hope you enjoy, and know that you will.