Stirring brass sections, sultry vocals; the music contained within Danny Wornsop’s sophomore solo record is a far cry from his work with Asking Alexandria or We Are Harlot, the projects which largely kept him busy up until this point. But this is home for the English musician; his comfort zone from another life before being whisked away into the upper echelons of metalcore.
You can hear it in the mix, the unmistakable buzz of genuine soul. An absolute affront to initial criticism the Danny Worsnop solo project was some sort of betrayal to fans, and therefore himself.
The criticism couldn’t have been more unfounded, simply due to the fact that this music; the type Danny creates when left to his own devices, has been in his veins for most of his life, or as Danny explains to Blunt Magazine, “this is me going back to my roots.”
“People were like ‘you’re abandoning your roots’. I was like, ‘you have no fucking clue what you’re talking about.”
“By the time I left Asking Alexandria, [referring to a brief departure from the band], we’d been going for six years; I’ve been doing this for almost twice as long. People were like ‘you’re abandoning your roots’. I was like, ‘you have no fucking clue what you’re talking about.”
It became very clear that nothing was going to get in the way of Danny exploring a solo project. In 2017, he released his debut solo record, The Long Road Home. Before the dust had settled, Danny had begun working on the follow up, Shades Of Blue, which hit shelves in May 2019.
When held up next to one another, the two records gave immeasurable insight into the mind of Worsnop. Home was a decidedly country record, while Shades brought with it more influences of rock and blues.
Another key point of difference was that the latter saw Worsnop bring friends and colleagues into the fold to get the job done. “This one was a lot of collaboration with songwriters”, Danny explains, “and that was a conscious thing that I did.”
“I have some great songwriters and then towards the end it got kind of silly, like [5x Grammy award winning] Chris Stapleton and shit. I did not have the credits to be in that room. It was educational…”
If you’ve caught one of Danny’s lively social media posts regarding the new album and current world tour, it’s hard to miss the spark in his eye. Speaking with him backstage ahead of his headline show in Sydney, it’s even brighter, though that may be on account of his recent wedding in New Zealand.
Beautiful wedding aside, it’s safe to say working on Danny Worsnop has been good for Danny Worsnop.
This begs the question…if he can make time for such thorough self-care from a force majeure like Asking Alexandria, why don’t more frontmen from seemingly unstoppable touring and recording titans do it?
“I was a guitarist all my life”. Danny explains, “So I pick up a guitar, I start writing songs. I want to do something with those songs…”
“Without wanting to insult anyone, I think a lot of them aren’t capable of doing it. Which I don’t think is necessarily a bad thing. It’s good that they know that. I’d love to be that friend and say ‘sure, you can’. But I’m a good friend and I’m like, ‘You can’t do that. Don’t try it because you will embarrass yourself’.
“As you get successful, haters will naturally accumulate”.
“Some of them listen [to my advice] and some of them don’t. There’s some who put up solo music and it’s like fuck…I told you dude”. While admitting that the wherewithal needs to already be within, Danny feels there’s only one other trick to a successful side project: “Just work really, really fucking hard.”
Another potential deterrent for artists to take the plunge into a solo career is the fear of rejection, something Danny has gained otherwise unobtainable insight into. “As you get successful, haters will naturally accumulate because people are jealous in nature and getting past that is probably the most difficult part of this industry and this job”, he explains.
“I hate social media and all that stuff. I love the opportunities that it creates and I can have fun with it sometimes, but I get consumed by it really easily. Like I’ll sit and I’ll read 10,000 comments and 9,998 of them are super positive and there are two really shitty ones and they’re the only two that I will ever remember and they will dig into my brain and I’ll question everything. I will sit and go through their entire profile.”
“So what I ended up doing, I just turned my comments off on everything ’cause then it deters me from looking and it’s, I get to just…here’s my thing, I put it out there. Done…”
“I want to do an Amy Winehouse record…If Amy Winehouse was way too into guitars”
Much like The Long Road Home, the dust won’t have settled on Shades Of Blue by the time Danny starts work on the follow up. New single “Another You” brings with it further opportunity for Danny to let the wild horses run. At least in his mind, Album the 3rd was already beginning to form. “I’m writing everything,” he decrees.
“The analogy I’ve been giving people and when we’ve been looking at who we’re going to do it with, it’s been like, ‘I want to do an Amy Winehouse record…if Amy Winehouse was way too into guitars.'”
“Kasper [Jensen], my guitarist, and a guy I worked with on my new song is coming out in a few days; The three of us and Sid Glover from Heaven’s Basement, now with The Cruel Knives, we’re basically going to sit down in the hotel and just write and record a new song every single day…I’d like to get it out by the end of the year.”
Scheduling in 2020 may be somewhat delicate, given that Asking Alexandria will begin work on their next album, the follow up to their 2017 self-titled record. But where there’s a will, there’s a way…
“There’s going to be some political talk between Ben [Bruce, Asking Alexandria] and I of how much time, what’s the Asking schedule…when there’s going to be a gap and where it’s cool, I can release an album and go on tour.”
Next up on the solo tour is North America. Danny is short on details on when he’ll next be on Aussie shores, but will be returning nonetheless:
“Next time will be with Asking Alexandria but I can’t tell you when…”