Bands on Bands is a recurring feature on the 35 Denton blog that will highlight musician interviews written by none other than our own local musicians. Throughout this series we aspire to help you learn more about some of your favorite musicians playing the festival this year as well as introduce you to new and upcoming acts.
Words by Daniel Rush Folmer || Images by Shaina Sheaff
Daniel Markham is one of the premier songwriters in Denton. His gruff and grimy style of rock and roll sits in contrast with his angelic voice and heartfelt lyricism. His new collaboration with Denton mega-boss Tony Ferraro, Smoke Paint, is another collection of solid songwriting and performance from both writers.
Markham gave me some insight into his hometown and reflected on his creative progress in Denton.
DANIEL RUSH FOLMER: Who would you consider some of your present musical contemporaries in Denton?
Can you describe some first favorite Denton bands?
I think Brutal Juice was my first favorite Denton band. I got into them when I was still a teenager. I saw Centro-matic play a show in Lubbock, and that really inspired me. I was exposed to RTB2 who completely blew me away. I just saw Mink Coats the other night, and they were fun. I’m always surprised at how awesome the bands from this town are. I probably shouldn’t be.
What is your favorite music related memory in Denton?
Opening for Centro-matic. It was a dream come true.
Do you feel like festivals have changed the musical landscape of North Texas as a whole?
I don’t know if they’ve changed the landscape. I feel like they bring in new sounds and expose them to a lot more people than maybe just a normal show. It’s nice any time we can show our magical little town off to the world.
What is your favorite venue in Denton – past or present?
Dan’s Silverleaf and Rubber Gloves both have special places in my heart. My old band One Wolf opened for Jucifer at Rubber Gloves for the last date of a tour we had been on. I’d never been there, but I loved the vibe and all the posters on the walls. Dan’s is like my second home. I’ve played there in my underwear, and I can’t change that. I just feel so comfortable inside those walls. I like what’s going on at Macaroni Island. Admittedly, I’ve only been to a few shows there, but I love that it’s there doing what it does.
What was Denton culture like when you arrived and how has it changed?
I loved how inviting everyone was when I first moved here. I was scared to be in a new place, but I knew I was safe here. There has been an upswing in cool local business. Fancier beer selections. There seems to be a lot more bands now, too. We’ve got a good BBQ place now. Hmmmm..
Are there any parts of Denton culture that you feel have changed for the better or worse?
I feel like this town is always evolving into something else. The vibe here is pretty laid back and cool. 35 Denton has been brought back to life in an awesome way which is exciting.
What are your hopes for the cultural future of Denton?
I hope that we will keep heading in a good direction. I’d like for people to stop saying how Denton is a small Austin and realize it’s just a normal sized Denton. I’d like to see more bands in town get more recognition for their efforts outside of town.
You moved from Lubbock to Denton – tell me how the places are similar and how they differed in fostering your creative output.
Lubbock is very isolated. It’s hard to be a band there because you have to drive five hours to get to any major city. The landscape is completely flat, and everything is sky. I think I was writing music that sounded like that for a while. I mean, I basically learned how to write songs living in west Texas, and I always love going back out there. Denton feels like home to me now, though. I walk a lot every day, and I write a lot. I feel free here. I’ve got good friends and a great band that push me to keep moving forward. It’s also easier and more convenient to play in other towns outside of Denton than it was in Lubbock.
We made Pretty Bitchin’ less than a year after Ruined My Life came out. It’s more raw and noisier I think. I’m really proud of Pretty Bitchin’. We recorded it as a band, and we had a great time doing it. That record helped me deal with a lot of things going on in my life at the time that were really dark and mean. I’m glad that I never have to write that one again. I just released an album with Tony Ferraro called Smoke Paint that’s all over the place musically. It’s as equally informed by hip hop as it is doom metal. I love it! I’ve been writing new songs for a new album that I plan to make before the year ends. I’m putting a lot my focus into that right now. Listening to “Live Through This” and “It’s A Shame About Ray” a lot.
You have been touring more than any other Denton musician I know – beating the Midwest like a bad joke – how do you feel like this changes your creative output or stage presence?
It just keeps you salty. It’s exercise. We play a lot of shows. I just want to keep writing songs that are good enough for my band to want to play. That’s my focus now. We’ll be playing out a lot more this year, and I’m excited about that. I’ve always thought about changing into this other thing on stage. Maybe some southern glam rock kind of thing. We’ll see.
Daniel Rush Folmer is an artist from Denton, Texas. He has performed songs as Danny Rush and The Designated Drivers, most recently Danny Diamonds, as well as a touring member of Dallas-schizo-rock outfit the pAper chAse.
This interview series focuses on the shifting cultural landscape of Denton and the affect it has had on the musical landscape.