In your video response to fans facebook questions you answered that you spoke both English and German, which do you prefer? And why? You can most definitely pull of either; they seem very natural to you.
English, obviously, because it’s my native language. My German is pretty good but I’m always shy when I have to use it around strangers. When people try to get ultra witty, use lots of word games or talk politics I just end up standing there perplexed.
What do you like the least about your profession?
Politics. The politics of the music business are really shitty. Most people don’t realize how bad it is, so take my word for it, it’s bad.
If you had been born in another time. When and where would you like to have lived?
Hard to say. Berlin in the 20’s? America in the 50’s? America in the 70’s? Austria during the reign of the Habsburgers? I can’t imagine living in another time because I’m so used to my time. The thought of not bathing regularly or being able to enjoy music whenever I wish makes me shudder a little bit.
What’s the side of you that the public never sees?
The public gets Daniel Graves. The line between him and the real me is pretty blurry at times, but I hide a lot of who I am intentionally. I’ve always been very misunderstood so I don’t see a point in magnifying that by being particularly candid with a world of strangers.
When are you completely satisfied with your finished work?
Never. If you’re ever completely satisfied with anything you do, just give it up…
What can fans expect in the next year from Aesthetic Perfection?
More music, more tours, more remixes. What else do I do? Ha.
Just coming off an international tour are you ready for plenty of rest? Or are there more future international tours in the works, or at least in preliminary stages?
No time to rest. I’m moving back to the US in a few short weeks and then I have to immediately start preparing for a tour that, for the time being, I cannot discuss. It’s gonna be a good one, though, I can tell you that much!
How do you prepare for tour? Especially one so massive as the All Beauty Destroyed tour?
I rehearse a lot. I plan my outfit. I try to reconnect with the song and understand it from an emotional perspective again. Usually, when I’m done with a song, the catharsis is over and the song is empty to me. I need to rediscover that feeling again so I can honestly perform it. I ask myself why I continue to do this. I tell myself why I continue to do this. I freak out, then find some semblance of sanity and then get on the plane and go…
Whether you know it or not, you have turned out to be quite the fashion icon. Where do you shop the most? Are there any brands that catch your eye more than others? The infamous white jacket was on sale for EBay, how much did it end up going for?
Fashion ICON? Wow. That’s quite a compliment. To be honest my clothes never come from anywhere special. Most of my shopping is done at H&M and eBay. I don’t care about brands or styles or trends. So many people ask me where I shop and when I tell them “H&M” they give me this shocked look and shake their head and mutter something about “commercial crap” and “there’s never anything good there.” Well, obviously there is if you’re asking me where I got my vest/pants/whatever!!! I come up with concepts and outfits in my head and seek out the individual items necessary to make it happen. I don’t go to X-Tra-X or Cyberdog and buy myself a complete outfit designed by someone else. That’s not style, that’s a fucking costume. But I digress… the way you dress yourself should be unique and personal, draw on your influences and make them your own. Get your clothes from everywhere and anywhere you can, modify them, mix them, match them. Be yourself.
Annnd, if I remember correctly, the jacket sold for $350.
What have been the creepiest, & the best fan encounters?
My creepiest and best moments were actually the same moment. A few weeks ago at Amphi Festival I came face to face with myself. A Russian fan has my face tattooed on her upper arm so I took a picture with it. That was a bit creepy but also pretty awesome.
You never explain your meaning behind your lyrics in fear that it will take away from the experience of the song from your fans. Is there a reason behind this, was there a specific song growing up that really moved you, and then when you found out the true meaning you no longer had a connection?
I can’t think of specific examples, but yes, it’s happened to me before. This whole notion of “let the people interpret it for themselves” came from Seal. I was watching an interview with him on MTV around 15 years ago, and when he said that, it completely resonated with me. I thought “I never want to hear another artist explain the meaning behind his/her work ever again.” From that point on I intentionally avoided ever hearing or reading musicians talking about their music.
Fans know what your favorite tattoo is, is there a tattoo you regret? Which one and why?
Actually, no. I thought out all of my tattoos pretty thoroughly and have no regrets. Also, I didn’t start getting tattoos until I was 21. People who regret their tattoos usually get them young, before they really understand who they are or what it is they really like. I will love classic horror movies and cephalopods until the day I die!
You have mentioned previously that you’re really digging Marina & The Diamonds, are you planning to do any of your fun side-project remixes of any of her songs?
I would, but it’s hard getting the vocal tracks to these pop songs. I really wanted to do “Primadonna” but alas, no luck finding the vocals. If someone has them, send them my way. Also, Natalia Kills “Love is a Suicide”. Thanks.
You have many fan girls drooling over you. Do you wake up in the morning, look at yourself in the mirror and say your welcome world?
God no. And if I ever do, put a bullet between my eyes. I hate egos, I hate narcissism. To be honest, if fan girls are drooling over me, I haven’t really recognized it. I’m pretty oblivious to all of that, and since I work so much I’m even more oblivious. Let’s put it this way, if a girl was to flirt with me, to my face, it probably wouldn’t register in my brain.
Will there be any new super limited edition boxed sets released in the new future?
Oh how I love the limited and hand made hand numbered items. The Box Set, The Devil’s in the Details EP, yes indeed. If I had it my way I’d just release everything like that.
Were you filled with nerves headlining a tour, rather than being supporting acts before the headliner?
I’m always filled with nerves. That moment, right before I walk onstage, every fibre of my being is screaming “RUN! GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!” But I take a deep breath and step outside and once I do, and I’m onstage, it all melts away and it’s the most exhilarating thing ever. The nerves keep me in check. They remind me to always care about my performance, to give my best, give my everything. Once I stop being scared is the moment I know I need to quit, because it means I don’t care anymore.
How do you handle mistakes during a performance? Do you & Tim fight like ninjas backstage after a mistake onstage?
Most of the time I’m focused on what I’m doing and never think too much about what Tim is doing. Sometimes I totally blow a cue, sometimes he does, but it’s rare and it’s all part of playing live. It’s never gonna be perfect. I wouldn’t want it to be. Both of us work really hard to do our best. The only time I would ever get pissed at him for fucking up would be if he did it because he wasn’t trying. So far, that hasn’t happened.
Did old records & tapes influence you? Which ones?
Records are a bit before my time. I grew up with cassette tapes. My first tape ever was “M.C. Hammer – 2 Legit 2 Quit”. Great album!!!
To date, including both projects which is your favorite song you have created?
I don’t think of it that way. I don’t really have favorites. I don’t even listen to my own music when it’s finished. Every song is my favorite song while I’m writing it. When it’s done I hate it and want to move on to the next one…
What was the best musical advice you were ever given?
“If a song isn’t good when it’s stripped down to drums, a bassline and vocals, then it isn’t a good song.” – Brian Ill
Halloween is coming up; do you plan on dressing up?
I haven’t put much thought into Halloween this year. I haven’t dressed up for the last couple years, but I REALLY want to be a Ghostbuster one of these days. Nerd out and get the jumpsuit and the pack and the gun. Would be awesome.
What is the importance of music to human life?
Depends on which human. I know people that don’t care about music, I know people who’s passion is fine art or film or science. Music is essential to me, it’s my passion. What I think is essential to everyone is finding a passion. Life is pretty empty if you have no creative outlet.
Anything else you are dying to talk about that wasn’t asked?
I think you covered it all!