We featured “Blow” off Attic Giant’s excellent EP “Flush” (Better Call Rob) last year. They’ve since followed up with the even better “Light=Whatwesee”. The group is a Vienna-based musical project and five-piece band founded by singer-songwriter Daniel Tischler, we were delighted to catch up with him to find out some more, and his grandmother provided a rather wonderful drawing too which made us very happy 🙂
Why did you decide to be a musician?
Actually, I’m not quite comfortable with calling myself that in the first place. I’ve always thought of „musician“ as kind of a problematic attribution to claim as I, for whatever reason, consider it to be reserved for people that are engaged with music in a much more sophisticated way than I am. But may well be that I’m too captious on such terminological matters. Of course, making music has been a great part of my identity ever since my early teenage years… So, now that I think about it, maybe I once did decide to be a musician, which is when I founded my first band at the age of 14 or 15 (classic!). But I soon grew into a much more relaxed relationship with that „decision“ or wish or whatever one might call it, and I believe it is quite telling that at the same time as the ambition of living a life as a „musician“ at any price is easing, my artistic output is gaining in quality and seems much more appealing. I’ve learnt that those two factors strongly correlate, at least as far as I’m concerned.
What was the first piece of music you loved, and why?
I was just ruminating about some early Death Cab albums and the like to brag about (not to unpack some truly dirty memories of my ten-year-old me listening to Limp Bizkit on repeat), when just now the genuine answer came to my mind: I’m pretty sure it’s those several pieces that my mother would play on her upright piano while me and my sister were childishly dancing to it as four- or five-year-olds. An etude by Chopin in particular, the one that goes by „Tristesse“, I think.
What is your favourite song that you’ve written and why?
That’s hard to tell because such sort of ratings varies over time. But it is probably one of those that were written and finished in a short and compact process. So to name one, I’d maybe say „Ghosts“ from our first EP is a song that I am still ok with and that means a lot to me as it was written after a quite long period of not being able to write music for some reason. Then one evening, out of nothing the whole song appeared, and I’ve even managed to record it that same night within an hour or so and consequently forced myself not to change anything about it subsequently.
Classical music seems to be an influence. Do you listen to much classical? Who are your favourite composers?
Oh, really? That’s surprising to hear. In fact, when I started to write the first songs for Attic Giant some years back, I actually intended to integrate some such influence, but luckily I abandoned that idea pretty soon. I even thought about doing an adaption of Dvořák’s American Quartet that time, but, thank God, I didn’t. I’ve rather formed a habit of being very sceptical toward pop artists that claim classical music as an aesthetic or creative frame – a thing that I believe to be pretty likely to turn out quite pretentious (naturally not always, but still quite often). However, I do listen to classical music, at least I used to do quite a lot, but mostly to the romantic stuff like Dvořák, Rachmaninov and the like. I think that already indicates my philistinism in this regard, even more in comparison to my bandmates. You should rather ask our drummer Hannes for instance, he’d blissfully discuss J.S. Bach’s biography or contemporary opera with you for hours. As for me, I’m much more an amateur.
How do you know when a song you’re working on is complete?
This sort of follows up on the question before the previous one. I’d say, in the best of cases, it goes without saying, meaning: you never intermit the writing process and the whole song is written within one cohesive session, regardless whether that takes a whole day or just 10 minutes. If such happens (it just doesn’t happen as often as I’d love it too, unfortunately), all possible changes afterwards won’t ever lead to a better result, but only can make it worse by corrupting the captured moment’s sincerity.. it might sound like a cliché, but obviously presence and fleetingness and concepts like that seem to play an essential role in all of this. So, for me, to know when a song is complete also demands quite a deal of discipline to follow that conviction. Especially the entanglement of writing and recording that comes along with all the technical possibilities these days often happens to be an obstacle in this regard.
What’s the music scene like there?
You’re referring to Vienna respectively Austria, I presume. Fortunately, Vienna is a city of a sufficient size to have plenty of most different scenes existing simultaneously, from hip electronic stuff to a pretty awesome DIY-hardcore scene. What’s probably most remarkable (and thus finds most resonance in the media) is that there has evolved a range of pop acts that have been dominating pretty much the whole German-speaking industry over the past years, sort of a new wave of Austro-Pop but dressed up in global indie-rock aesthetics. Hence, at the moment it feels more than ever like all but a handicap to be a Viennese musician (there, I said it) and not that much apart of the rest of the world as it possibly used to some time ago. At least as long as we’re discussing this within the restrictions of a Continental European context.
What song by another artist do you wish you had written and why?
Well..I’m not quite sure what to answer to this. I guess such a feeling or desire hasn’t come up yet. Possibly because all the songs that I love intensively belong to those who’ve written them, which is quite likely a big part of why I love them so much. Accordingly, I wouldn’t ever have wished them to be written by me. I’m ok with the songs that I’ve written so far, at least with some of them.
What artist(s) has been your biggest influence and in what way?
I should be honest on this one so I won’t complicate it: There’s sort of a holy trinity that has contributed a major part in the process of my musical cultivation that is Conor Oberst, Sufjan Stevens and Justin Vernon. There are a lot of other and often very different artists of course but say those are definitely three of them that have been steadily there over the past 10 years, maybe even longer.
What is the best new band that you’ve heard recently?
Most of the time, I’m not quite up to date, so I’m usually not sure whether a band that I believe to have discovered is an act that one would actually declare „new“. But I can say I deeply fell in love with Fog Lake in the course of the past year. Also, I really like Rostam Batmanglij’s solo stuff, to name a release that seems sufficiently „recent“. Oh yeah, and I finally also fell for Car Seat Headrest (better late than never!)
Can time travel be achieved by entering a black hole?
Yes, of that I am certain.
What’s the world going to look like 100 years from now?
It’s probably going to be the same bad place.
What’s your idea of success?
I think I’m having some general issues with that word. Somehow, I accustomed myself not to think of it as an aim or anything likewise desirable, even though it’s quite unclear what is even means. But anyway, I hope I’ll recognize it when I am having some.
What’s your favourite music blog? ( you don’t have to say SWIT)
Ok, I’m sorry, but you’re talking to the wrong person. I don’t even get the difference between an online magazine and a blog. Would you be so kind to tell me?
Well, we don’t really know either, we’re not fond of the word “blog” but that’s what most people call us. “Magazine” is such a better word isn’t it?
We’d also love you to send us an original sketch or drawing of anything you like.You can draw it and take a picture of it or scan it in – Could be your band, yourself, a straight line or anything really. We’ll post it on our new gallery page on the site!
I visited my grandma today and asked her for a sketch of our artwork photograph, so we did this together. You’ll find it attached!
We love it!
All photos by Lukas Maul.