Following the November 13, 2020 release of Nané’s debut self-titled LP produced by Grammy-award winning drummer John Speice IV, COLLiDE got the chance to chat with lead singer Daniel Sahad about the LP and what Nané has been up to. With impeccable humor and a true way with words, Sahad has us both laughing and feeling deeply introspective.
How has the lockdown been for you? How do you feel that it’s affected your creative process?
Somewhere in between a dark comedy and a spiritual waiting room. As an extrovert it’s been the least socially stimulating 9 months of my life, while simultaneously being the most emotionally volatile dream circus I’ve lived through. Priorities have shifted, time has been managed differently, and a sense of connection has been reimagined. At the beginning of the lockdown we were all forced to look at ourselves internally, our priorities and our values under a magnifying glass (of sorts). Then a few months later by acknowledging all of the political and social turbulence, I think we were forced to look externally and question where these values placed us in a larger scope. Where we stood and who we wanted to be. Overall It’s been a super self-identifying time. I’ve cried while eating oatmeal in my boxers and celebrated life in like the same 6 hour time span. The polarity of this time was challenging, and it was supposed to be. This lock down has taught me who and what I couldn’t live without, has brought me a heightened sense of gratitude for life itself, it’s brought a fresh clarity to my values, and it’s ultimately made me a better person…However, in a less esoteric way, it’s been good. I’ve produced some music videos, a short film, a few records, marketed/branded some small companies, released some songs and I write constantly. I’ve learned how many gummy bears I can fit in my mouth at once. I made peace with my god in the desert. I’ve learned a lot about the stock market. I’ve learned the bulking part of body building, and I’ve also started to love and understand myself more.
This lockdown has affected my creative process by teaching me how to do more with less. Obviously we can’t connect physically with as many people as before. So I’ve been integrating more looping pedals, drum machines, and some days just honing in on one random instrument. In a strange way I’ve been forced to really practice, explore and learn in a hopeful and focused way; therefore, becoming better at this craft. There is less fomo, physical responsibility, and distraction, and therefore more space for some personal creativity and exploration. BUT there is plenty of inspiration though I’LL TELL YOU WHAT.
What’s your favorite song on the new LP and why?
My favorite song on our record is “Always On My Mind,” because It came to me right before falling asleep in such a personal and powerful way. I often like to write in that dizzy space between consciousness and sleep, and that one hit me like a truck. The voice memo was a hilarious thing to transcribe to the band, but nonetheless the value was there. Separately, when we perform it the audience roars it back to us, so it has that kind of power. It was also our debut single as Nané, and our first breath into the music industry. You can’t put a price on that.
If you could work with any artist, who would it be?
Brittany Howard, hands down. She’s been my hero since I first heard her sing years ago. The way she can contort and express her vocals is unparalleled. What she writes is spontaneous and inspired, so deeply personal yet in the absence of self. If there’s a magic well somewhere, her footprints are nearby. I hope I get the chance to work with her one day.
What/who were your biggest influences on the new LP?
Who: Brittany Howard, Michael Kiwanuka, Moses Sumney, Jack White, B.B. King, Curtis Mayfield and The Talking Heads.
What: The revelation of dichotomies as one exits youth and enters early adulthood: confidence and insecurity, love and loss, binds and extrication.
How has your upbringing and your heritage shaped your music and career?
As a first-generation Dominican, the majority of the music I heard in the house was in spanish: Merengue, Salsa, Bachata and Cumbia. Which fostered a lot of my perception of rhythms and vocal expression that I would transduce and recycle years later. Growing up when my mom played music in english, she favored artists like Louis Armstrong, Bill Withers, Curtis Mayfield, and Marvin Gaye. Therefore I would say that my upbringing and heritage helped shape me into a soulful, vocally emotive, rhythmic little dude.
What are your goals for 2021?
Where to begin. I want us all to survive this madness. I want to hug peoples faces, and not be worried. I want to cram the band into a little van and go on a national tour when it’s safe to do so. I want Nané to get a record deal with a major label so we can see what it’s like to not do everything from our managers kitchen (not that we don’t love that). We’re visualizing a Fender sponsorship so that our guitarist, Ian Green, can hold something he deserves. I want to get better at playing the guitar (I’ve been doing Berkley online as I didn’t grow up playing). I want to write and direct my first short film or commercial. I want to go fully cosmic and write some music that is healing and centered on certain frequencies. I want to collaborate with different artists. Lastly, some semblance of romance or human connection in the outside world would be sick, but we may have to wait on that one.
What’s your favorite pastime aside from making music?
This was harder than I thought so I’m just going to list some basic things I enjoy regularly: I like to cook, I like to learn about the stock market, I like to play online chess, I like to dance to records in my home, I like to write short stories, and I like to travel and go to museums in foreign countries where I can’t always read the language.
Anything else you want to talk about?
Men shouldn’t get to control women’s bodies. Arrest the cops that killed Breonna Taylor. Kiss your lover every day for longer than you pee. Teach others because it builds empathy. Be patient with yourself and give yourself grace during lock down. Wear a mask.
Be sure to stream the full self-titled album here: