We had the good fortune of connecting with Daniel Bateman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Daniel, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
The funny thing is about work/life balance when you have a real job and an artistic career that you’re doing simultaneously, like most of the people who have any sort of artistic ‘career’, is that your work/life balance consists of you balancing not getting fired from the thing that gets you paid and having any energy or time left for the thing you find most meaningful. This works when you’re young, have a job that is easy or part-time, or don’t have a serious partner, but when you get older and have children and a mortgage etc., it becomes something that completely destroys your well-being; having it all, never having a blast. That’s a bit harsh but you’re catching me after my kids have been home sick with hand foot and mouth disease for the last week and I’m a bit burnt out. I love my kids so much but I won’t pretend it’s easy.
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.
My band is Frog. It used to be me and Tom White, now it’s me and my brother Steve. If there’s anything that I learned from making music for the past 15-20 years in different bands and projects it’s that it is a completely idiotic activity. It is not worth it in any way that anything else could be ‘worth it’. But when it is satisfying, when you make something with someone that even hints at the depths from which it came, there’s not much else that can top it. You have to see it as something worth doing for its own sake, like landing a 360 flip, or making a really good omelette, or doing something inventive to make your kid laugh when he’s having a tough day. Doing these things is holy, and something holy is beautiful even if you are persecuted for it. I guess persecuted isn’t the word, but playing a show to no people in someone’s house at 3am in Providence feels like something close to it.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I have not done anything fun since having kids. My friends sometimes visit and help me pick up the house that the kids have totally destroyed and then we’ll drink a beer. Sometimes we go to this place in the town where I live called Rockwells, which is a perfect suburban pub. It has a diner sized menu and mostly everything on it will make you feel sick and repentant. But they have mac and cheese that my kids will slam for 20 minutes while my wife and I can enjoy a beer. I guess the upside of being a young dad is you don’t have to choose what kind of fun, interesting, exciting things to do anymore. Any moment you have to relax feels surreal. I’m also lucky to have supportive and involved parents who live nearby and love to babysit and they really do help a lot. They came over the other weekend and I saw a movie with my wife and it was incredible. What did I see? Who cares. I got out of my routine and my own head for a second, and it was awesome.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are hundreds of people that I could name here, but my wife Kelly is probably the most important. She tolerates me when I’m unreasonable (always), angry (often), grumpy (mostly), and can see me for the things that I am, rather than the things that I just did. I don’t think that many people would be able to stick it out with me like she has. I love her more every day.