“Danny Attack” started as just a nickname.
Danny attempted to brand his high school friend “Matt Attack,” thinking it sounded cool. It didn’t stick, and Danny decided to adopt the “Attack” moniker for himself. When he started playing solo shows as a singer-songwriter, he toyed around with different names for the act — Whispers in Reverse, Bad Wolf, Fear Frequency — before deciding to make his nickname the official name of the act.
When Danny Attack takes the stage at the Charleston this Sunday, it won’t be Danny Attack’s first time there, having performed at the theater in the past with one of his other bands. It will, however, be his first time performing in Bremerton under his solo act.
Based in Florida, which has loosened many of its COVID-19 restrictions earlier than other states, Danny’s been able to play shows around his home state for a while now, he says. But he recently kicked off a nationwide tour, his first since the pandemic forced widespread closures of music venues.
“I feel like I’m having to play catch-up again, because COVID started in March 2020,” he says. “I felt like I was ramping up a little bit — I was actually in Europe, in the UK, when all the COVID stuff was happening. So I had to cut a tour short while I was out there to get back here, because they were closing borders and stuff.”
He took the year to work on content, record an album, and shoot some new music videos. “Now it’s all catch-up,” he says. “I have to build up this momentum again and I’m hoping this tour helps that.” He has a UK tour scheduled in October as well.
Although he’s an independent artist, one could be forgiven for thinking he was signed to a label, given the polished graphics that adorn his album art and merch, and his professionally produced music videos. Danny credits his media team at Rozu Creative with adding that extra polish.
“I don’t put ‘Danny Attack’ on any of my merch,” he noted. “It’s only just ‘Attack.’” The idea is to make his merch accessible even to people who aren’t yet fans of his music. “I want to give people the option to buy it even if they don’t know who I am. People will buy art or anything visually appealing to them if they think it’s cool, if they like it. I don’t see that happening if it says ‘Danny’ on there.”
Being independent gives Danny more creative freedom. He’s not averse to the idea of signing with a label someday, but he’s done so much work with his past bands — booking shows and tours, for example — that he can handle a lot of what a label would do himself.
If I don’t make my music and play it out, and send it to people or tour as much as I can, no one’s going to hear it
“A lot of times when you are signed and have management and things like that, there’s a lot of stuff you have to go through before you can get stuff done,” he says. “A lot of the big labels, they want their hand in it of course, because they want to make sure it’s commercial enough, they want to make sure it sells. That’s the business. That’s what they’re supposed to do.”
That drive to commercialize the music often conflicts with the values of alternative bands, Danny says, and although it’s not a particular concern for him personally, he sees value in the do-it-yourself attitude: “I’m doing it for myself because if I don’t do it myself, it’s not going to get done,” he says. “And I’m not one to wait on, ‘Well, I’m just going to sit here and write my music and hopefully someone’s going to sign me and then I can do it all.’ I’m more of a, ‘if I don’t make my music and play it out, and send it to people or tour as much as I can, no one’s going to hear it.'”
It’s difficult to pin down a single genre or theme to describe Danny Attack. Songs range from dark folk tales about murder and mayhem, to lighter pop-punk-inspired fare, to twangy Americana.
“I write to what I like or what I want to sing to, so it’s all over the map,” he says. “I can’t really put it in a particular genre. … I think one I heard was alt-folk, alternative-folk. As a wide range, that might be something I fit in, but I couldn’t say that I belong to any particular one, just because each song is different across the board.”
Having played for various bands of different genres has given him a diverse fan base as well.
“I have metal fans that like my stuff, I have country people that are my fans, and things like that, so it’s a pretty wide range of fans and I think that’s because I write across genres,” he says. “One of my metal fans may not like too much some of the slower stuff I do, but they might enjoy more of the murder-folk, more of the heavier folk stuff that I do. But it keeps them around because they know I’m going to keep writing stuff like that at some point.”
Danny says he’s looking forward to Sunday’s show and that it should be fun. “I hope everyone comes out,” he says.
Danny Attack opens for Port Orchard-based James Hunnicutt (check out our interview with him here), along with Seattle-based Phantom Pines, 6 p.m., Aug. 8, at the Charleston, 333 N. Callow Ave., Bremerton.
Check out Danny Attack’s music and merch on his website.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Danny Attack