We had the good fortune of connecting with Danny Knapp and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danny, what’s your definition for success?
In my experience, what many people describe as success in the music business doesn’t seem to make them happy. For me, success isn’t about money, fame, or being number one. I feel successful just having the opportunity to do what I’m passionate about, and working with people that feel the same way.
I love the journey every bit as much the end result. As a musician, I enjoy practice, whether it be on my own or with a band. I get to work with some amazing, talented people, and we have a lot of fun together whether we’re in front of an audience or just working up new songs at a rehearsal hall. I never get tired of writing new material, because there’s always inspiration coming from our life experiences or just wanting to explore a subject. And then there’s the recording studio, which has always held a special magic to me. It’s one of the places where I truly feel 100% comfortable in my own skin. In the studio I have the freedom to explore, experiment, try, and fail in the process of trying to convey emotional thought. And more importantly, I get to share the experience with others that share the same goal.
I think another measure of success for me is when my work uplifts others. If you come to a live show and get lost in the music and forget your troubles, or if you’re moved by a song that I’ve recorded, it means the world to me. If I inspire someone else to start learning to play or write music, it fills my heart.
I have other passions as well, such as teaching surf lessons part-time, software engineering, and volunteering for several different organizations. Being involved in activities outside my music career helps me maintain a healthy work/life balance, which in turn helps me feel more fulfilled and successful. Having the ability to contribute to projects and causes I feel strongly about makes me feel very successful, whether it have an impact for one or for thousands.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a musician. My primary instrument is the bass guitar, but I also sing and play ukulele as well. I’ve been writing, performing, and recording music professionally since I was a teenager. I’ve always enjoyed exploring different genres of music, and I am comfortable playing in a lot of different styles, including pop, rock/metal, reggae, Hawaiian traditional & contemporary, funk, R&B, post-punk, alternative, and electronic dance music.
It’s taken lot of effort and perseverance to get established in the L.A. music scene: countless auditions, networking at local jam sessions, and projects that never made it out of the shed. However, I consider myself fortunate, because I am a part of so many projects that I am passionate about, and I continually get to meet and work with so many fantastic, talented people.
Currently, I write, perform, and record original music as a member of the emo/alternative band We’re No Gentlemen and the alt-rock/reggae band The Bredren. I also work as a for-hire/session musician with several artists, including singer/songwriter Serena Foster and the pop duo Taysti, as well performing in numerous tribute/cover projects as well.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We’d spend a day visiting Huntington Beach, and go to Dog Beach to watch the dogs play in the surf, Then, just a couple of miles down the PCH, we could walk the Huntington Beach Pier and downtown area to do a little shopping. From there we could go to HB Pita Grill to have some Mediterranean food or maybe get some really good casual Mexican food from Castañedas.
On another day, we could visit South Bay, starting with a surf lesson at El Porto Beach. Afterwards, we could grab some healthy Mexican food at Senor G’s in Playa Del Rey or Hawaiian food at the Gardena Bowl Cafe. That night, we could go catch a live band at The Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach (the club featured in the movie LaLa Land).
We could spend a day in the West LA area and do some forest bathing at the LA County Arboretum and Botanical Garden and then eat and shop at Marketo and the other markets in Little Ethiopia. We could also go to the Melrose district and check out all the vintage and punk clothing stores. Maybe we could catch a show that night at The Troubadour.
We could also spend a day up in the San Fernando Valley, driving up through Topanga Canyon, shopping for vintage clothing and vinyl records up and down Ventura Blvd, and grab some vegan pizza at The Pizza Cookery. That night we could listen to some world-class jazz at The Baked Potato.
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?
I love working with Life Rolls On (LRO), a non-profit organization that puts on adaptive surfing and skating events for people of all ages with mobility challenges. I’ve been volunteering with them for six years and it has enriched my life in so many ways. I’ve found many great friends at LRO, both in the athletes as well as in the other volunteers. I can’t even begin to count how many amazing experiences I’ve had at LRO events — truly, some of the best days of my life.
Matt Martinez, Keren Lynn, liferollson.org