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HOW DO ARRANGED TONES AND PULSES COMBINE TO CREATE SOMETHING THAT CAN SO TUG AT THE HEARTSTRINGS?

Daniel Gardner / The Pacing Party [Liner Note]

Daniel Gardner
Portland, OR. 

Daniel Gardner makes emotion-based pop music from the Pacific Northwest under the moniker The Pacing Party. His new single “Creep/Freak,” which comes off his new album out July 21, can be streamed below. 

When people ask me to explain why I love music so much, I’m often caught off guard, and even sometimes left asking myself…”wait, why do I like this stuff?” It’s hard to articulate why I am, and always have been, so drawn to songs. But allow me to try and explain.

Music, to me, is incredibly mystifying. I feel constantly captivated and intrigued by the questions it poses, and long to know it and understand it more, yet I know I will never fully get it. How does it work? How do arranged tones and pulses combine to create something that can so tug at the heartstrings? To me, it’s an alluring, beautiful, unsolvable puzzle. Pardon the awful metaphor, but the way I experience it makes me think of the way it’s feels to be involved with a particularly enthralling lover. You continually spend time with them, and come to know the person more and more intimately, and yet it’s as if the more you uncover about them, the more hungry you are to discover what else is inside. The feeling of never getting enough, the insatiable longing to experience and understand what is hidden…this is something that drives me to love music.

One thing about it that mystifies me the most is the huge power and influence that music has over our emotions. A song can reach inside you and literally change who you are in that moment, and perhaps even who you are from that point on. A song can soften, or harden your heart. A song can be healing, or salt in your wounds. Music can minister to you in places that I think people cannot. I’ve heard folks throw around phrases like “such-and-such a band saved my life,” and I really do think that can be true. When you are in some of your darkest hours, and everything seems hopeless, you put on that one song. It doesn’t actually change anything about your situation in the real world, but somehow, in hearing that song, those notes, those words, your soul is comforted.

I remember when I was 17, I experienced my first real heartbreak. I had been seeing this wonderful girl for quite a while, and we were without a doubt in love. Due to some messy circumstances, we broke things off. I recall walking out of her house and feeling such a hopeless, hollow, heavy emptiness that I had never experienced before. Nothing was ever going to be okay again, nothing was ever going to be good, life was over. Melodramatic? Maybe, maybe not, but at the time I was hurting inside more than I ever had, and I did not know what to do to fix it. Defeated, I made my way across the driveway, got into my car, turned on the CD player, and drove away. “Jesus Christ” by Brand New came on. In that moment, it was as if that song held exactly everything I needed to make it through this God-awful heartache. I listened and cried and drove, and I somehow felt that even though things were terrible now, and I didn’t understand what I should do, they were going to get better. To this day that song has been a go to for me in hard times. It’s like an old friend that I know is always there.

This idea is one of the biggest things that makes me want to write music: that song was written by four dudes in New York. They have no idea how that song has helped me, but it has, and there are countless other songs by countless other people that have been there for me in happy times, angry times, lost times, depressed times, all throughout my life. I want to believe that if I write genuine songs from my heart about my experiences, there is a chance that some kid might hear them someday and that they will help with whatever they are facing at that moment.

FAVORITE RECORD STORE

I grew up in a small town in Alaska, so there really wasn’t much in the way of record stores. I found the majority of the music I listened to in high school from perusing the internet, and mostly discovered new stuff from websites of record labels that bands I liked were signed to. I suppose iTunes was my record store.

Since moving to Portland I’ve really enjoyed scavenging the huge amount of used CD’s at Everyday Music. It feels like finding buried treasure when I find an old favorite for $3

FAVORITE CONCERT VENUE

Hawthorne Theater in Portland comes to mind. I’ve seen so many incredible shows there with my friends, at this point it’s just a house for good memories.

I’m also a huge fan of the Doug Fir here in Portland, though I haven’t seen as many shows there, they always have incredible sound, and the room itself is just gorgeous and enjoyable to be in.

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