We had the good fortune of connecting with Dan Rosenboom and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dan, how do you think about risk?
Choosing to live as an artist is inherently a risk, and thus every subsequent aspect of one’s life and career carries an element of risk. Throughout my life, I’ve often made the riskier, less stable choices because the soul-filling rewards seemed too enticing to ignore. I’ve been so fortunate that many of those risky moves have resulted incredible experiences and successes. There have been obstacles, setbacks, and failures along the way, but embracing risk and charging forward has allowed me to cultivate an authentic and exciting life, and defined the very nature of the way I view the road ahead.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
For me, as it is for many, a life in art is all about spiritual and intellectual growth. The pathway of any artist requires a dedicated mind and an open heart, and a love of exploration paired with a humble practice. That humility, grounded in respect for the craft, allows us to see that there is always so much more to do, and so much farther to go, and it provides an unending source of motivation. When you dedicate yourself to this kind of pursuit there really is no final destination – it is entirely about the path. As a young musician, I was enamored with classical music, and totally excited by the composers of the early twentieth century. I was born in the early eighties, so when the grunge and heavy rock explosion of the early nineties hit, I was just starting to buy my own records and got totally hooked. Then as I grew into my teens, I discovered the canon of Black American Music (which many know as “jazz”), and as a young trumpet player, was so inspired by the great practitioners from that lineage. My parents are both avant-garde artists – my dad a composer, and my mom a designer and vocalist – and our home was always full of wildly experimental music and art. From an early age, music that many might find extreme or fringe was just a normal daily experience for me. In college, I went deep in the classical field, and in graduate school I embraced improvised music and Balkan folk music as major interests. All along the way, I was listening to a wide range of hip-hop, drum ‘n’ bass, metal, electronic music, free jazz, avant-garde music, and even some pop, though I’ve never been all that into pop. I tried to embrace a wide view of what being a musician could be, and tried to get inside all the various things I enjoyed. The point of mentioning all this history is that, to me, there are no boundaries for a musical imagination. In making my own music, all these influences naturally meld and combine in my mind, and come out as some kind of sonic amalgam. My music is definitely a fusion of elements, but it’s not a conscious combination of specific ones. It’s all just a stew, an organic mix of the way the world sounds to me. In my music, I try to leave a lot of space for the musicians I work with to be expressive. My compositions owe a significant portion of their stylistic rendition to the people who play them, and they’re designed to be flexible in that way. The people I play with are more important to me than the notes on the page. I want to create an opportunity for us to exchange sonic ideas, share energy on stage and in the studio, and give the audience an experience that feels spontaneous, exciting, suspenseful, insightful, and genuine. Trying to pin a genre on my music is the bane of my existence, LOL! And that’s precisely because the people come first. Everyone brings their own bag of styles to the table, and we let it flow. Whatever comes out is what comes out. I love that Miles Davis quote (paraphrasing): “I’ll play it first, and tell you what it is later.” It’s such a perfect attitude for making creative music. We can’t allow boxes to limit our creativity. We have to follow the spirit where it goes.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Los Angeles is such a special place, but it’s the kind of place you have to simmer in. It’s not easy to get a sense of the place in a quick trip. That said, here are a few things I’d love to share with people: First off, you have to visit the Blue Whale in Little Tokyo. The Blue Whale has been one of the most important venues to the creative music scene over the last decade-plus, and it’s the kind of place where you can’t miss. Every single night they’re open, amazing music happens there, and the owner, Joon Lee, is an absolute champion for the scene. There’s plenty of good food in Little Tokyo too, so grab a bite and see a show! You’ve got to get some Korean-Mexican fusion food at Cha Cha Chili on the East Side. Go on a dim-sum tour in the San Gabriel Valley. Spend some time strolling down York Blvd. and Figueroa in Highland Park, and hit up places like The York, Sonny’s Hideaway, Ramen of York, and see some great music at ETA (great cocktails too!). The museums are a must, The Broad, MOCA, LACMA, The Getty, The Huntington, The Museum of Jurassic Technology, MorYork Gallery, and so many more. Check out a performance at REDCAT, see the Los Angeles Philharmonic, or if it’s during the summer, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. See shows at The World Stage in Leimert Park, the Just Jazz Series at Mr. Musichead Gallery in Hollywood, Sam First near LAX, or the Baked Potato in Studio City. Dig through the vinyl and antique stereo gear at The Record Parlour. There’s a ton of cool underground spots, like the speakeasy at Varnish downtown, where you can get superb artisanal cocktails. The LA that I love is full of character and history, some of the best food and drinks on the planet, and some of the best music in the world. You might have to dig a little to find the spots, but there are so many amazing experiences to be had.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My entire life and career owes so much to my mentors and community. There are so many and it’s impossible to point to just one, so some of the mentors who have really shaped my life include Vinny Golia, Wadada Leo Smith, James Thompson, Jens Lindemann, Ed Carroll, Miroslav Tadic, Jon Lewis, and so many more. But truly, over the years, my community of colleagues, band mates and friends have pushed, encouraged, and inspired me to work harder and go farther, especially Gavin Templeton, Jake Vossler, Alexander Noice, Jeff Babko, Richard Giddens, Eron Rauch, Brian Walsh, Jon Armstrong, Kai Kurosawa, Dan Schnelle, Matt Mayhall, Sam Minaie, Caleb Dolister, Joshua White, Aaron McLendon, Jerry Watts Jr., Tim Lefebvre, Gary Novak, Zach Danziger, Troy Zeigler, David Binney, Tina Raymond, Tim Conley, Billy Mohler, Artyom Manukyan, Gene Coye, Anthony Fung, Logan Kane, Orest Balaban, Austin Wrinkle, the entire Orenda Records community, and so many more. And perhaps my greatest supporter and inspiration, my incredible partner Aubre Hill, who is herself an amazing dance artist and and artistic powerhouse. I’d like to dedicate this shoutout to all of them!
Other: http://danrosenboom.bandcamp.com http://www.orendarecords.com
Aubre Hill, Eron Rauch