Sunshine For The Blind

An interview with Brian Daly
by Mike Huberty
January 2012

Sunshine For The Blind Live

Sunshine For The Blind Live

As the creative outlet for one-half of DNA Studios’ production masterminds, Brian Daly, SUNSHINE FOR THE BLIND, has been performing guitar rock with pop inflections in the Madison area for the better part of the last decade. Their latest album, Second Self, is an absolutely sonically masterful collection of straight-up classic alternative rock songs. There’s plenty of excellent guitar work, big chorus hooks, and a solid (and wonderfully complex) rhythm section provided by bassist Ken Stevenson and drummer Andrew Rohn.

As the guitarist and vocalist for SUNSHINE FOR THE BLIND as well as one of Madison’s most prolific audio engineers, Daly has been into music since he was a kid, “I have always experienced music that I like as transporting,” he says, “as an entry to another world. A world that generally seemed better than the normal world..  Part of this experience was a desire to create music myself. This isn’t logical; it’s possible to love music and not want to make it. But I was infected with this viral aspect of music.“

He recommends “Second Self”, the title track to the album as a good introduction to what the band is all about (and the album is available in its entirety on their website as a free download!) “SUNSHINE FOR THE BLIND has generally stuck to the basic guitar rock formula for sounds and instrumentation.”, Daly says. “That was a conscious choice for a number of reasons, one being it places us in a specific musical idiom. But with the guitar rock genre we always try to bring a sense of exploration and innovation. Second Self is an arty song, with an ambiguous mood. It has a linear structure, with sections that unfold to each other. It’s haunting, it will take you on a journey. It’s about five minutes long!”

And that track is a particularly personal one for Daly as an artist. “It’s a song about the sense I have of an alternative self that coexists with me.”, he says. “In some sense it’s an aspirational self, the person I could be if I could get my act together (so to speak). Specifically it relates to my identity as an musician/artist. In my work I’ve had far more success as a music producer and audio engineer. So I have more of an identity in the world as that…I’m not well known as an artist. So there is a discrepancy, and Second Self is about the survival of my artistic identity, and the music is like a message from that self to the world. This is the literal meaning, what it means to me, but the words are more impressionistic, and speak to a general capacity people have to maintain different identities. I just think that’s weird and a classic theme in art.”

While Daly has been the center of the group, he’s had several lineups over the years backing him up. “As a band that’s taken different forms and I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, as in ‘why the heck do I do this?’ Being in a band is a lot of great things but it’s not convenient!” he says. “When I started working on the concepts for SUNSHINE FOR THE BLIND, I was looking to do original music that I believed in. I wanted other people to like it, but I had to like it first. I have had the experience of performing music that an audience loves but I didn’t feel passionate about. I plan to never do that again! Since it is a labor of love for me, a big  part of my life’s work, I just decided to not stop doing it, no matter what.” He continues, “Now I feel like the sound is together so the original inspiration has returned: the purpose of SUNSHINE FOR THE BLIND is to create a musical experience that is transporting, that gives the listener a different perspective. The music is made with traditional rock sounds and motifs but has unexpected arrangements and compositional element.”

The band will be performing a special acoustic show at The Froth House in Madison on Thursday January 26th at 7pm. It’s all-ages and a free show. And Daly is excited about the opportunity to present the music in a new and different environment, “At the Froth House”, he says, “they have a real piano, and Andrew (usually on drums) is a great piano player. Both the acoustic guitar and the piano are sounds that suffer in your average club environment, so to have the real sounds is a treat. We all sing,  Andrew and I will be doing some percussion, and Ken will be playing upright acoustic bass (and maybe a little electric bass). So it’s pure acoustic sound. “

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Sunshine For The Blind
CD: Second Self