Fritz has since folded, alas.
by Aaron Gustafson
In the'80s a band emerged from the Los Angeles
post-punk scene with both a strong instrumental and lyrical presence.
That band was Afterimage. After over a decade of organizing his
thoughts and reorganizing his band, Daniel Voznick is still making
incredibly good music with a strong lyrical base. The lush instrumental
backdrop over which he hangs his verse is remarkably fresh in a
world full of redundant music. Voznick took a bit of time away from
the recording of his new record to speak with us about both music
Afterimage has been around for many years,
have your influences changed at all since the beginning?
What I listen to has changed a lot and now
it seems to be changing back to what I was listening to then. I
was into stuff with a certain intensity: punk and post-punk. At
a certain time Joy Division, Wire, Fear, The Fall, Pere Ubu, Gang
of Four and X helped me make it through. When I had to start working
full-time, I started listening to more upbeat music... more funky
stuff. When the original band split up, that helped to dissolve
it. I was getting more into backbeats and such. I had also been
listening to jazz a lot, which showed up in my sax playing. Now
I am going back that hard sound. And I find a whole slew of newer
bands that have that same intensity. I listen to all types of music
though, except Dixieland.
What made you want to be a musician/songwriter?
Since I was a child I've been listening to
music. It never seemed like something to make a go of. I harbored
it as a secret passion. I wrote my first good song at 21 or something
Has being an independent band for so long
changed your prospective of the industry at all? Would you rather
be on a major?
I'd love to have a lot of the burden of sales
and production costs taken off, but I don't know about the pressure
to produce the goods. I don't want people telling me what to do.
I know a lot of indies struggle. Some make the best music ever,
but never find a big market. I am amazed at what Ani DiFranco has
accomplished. She's done a lot on her own. Most indies aren't that
As a poet, who or what do you look to
Anything. A phrase can spark me to write
... a guitar riff, a sound I want to hear, a beat, or things that
happen in my personal life. It all comes out. Everything.
You have been in Philly for the last few
months, what have you been doing there?
I've been working on the new album and the
amazing thing is that I've had more time than I've had in years
to work on it. I've switched to a digital recorder now, so the whole
thing is more consistently recorded. It should be totally cool.
How has L.A. changed since you first began
When I first started playing, I didn't know
how good the scene was. When I was a kid, you could go out any night
and see a good band. I changed my musical style at the same time
the club scene went into the toilet. This is when "pay to play"
was in full effect. Promoters got greedy. You had to buy 50 tickets
and sell them yourself in order to play a show. The coffeehouse
scene has brought back the good club scene, but I don't get out
much now. There are a lot of local bands. There don't seem to be
many rock star head trips anymore, that's good.
Do you still enjoy working and living
I am living much better now that I am no
longer under employed. I have a good living situation. I've never
worked anywhere else so I wouldn't be able to gauge working here
versus another city. Each place has its moments ... I takes a lot
of cash to live here, though.
What is your favorite aspect of music?
Creation... there are hard parts, but no
really bad parts. I decide what to do and I do it. As far as the
industry and clubs, I really hate the greed. People seem to be into
music not for the music, but for getting laid. It's a glamour trip.
They read the trade magazines and follow the money and now it's
all about making megabucks. People should be in it for the music,
not for other reasons.
I hate the way the old music is being used
for new commercials, using Sly Stone and Aretha, Marilyn Monroe
and Fred Astaire to sell products. They take these people that we
love and stick them on the television to sell a stupid product.
It's the same with these old songs. It's awful.
what are your goals for the future of
I hope to finish this record and then turn
around and make another one. I'd like to get more exposure in the
rest of the country, then the world. If it goes well, I'll keep
making records until I check out. Or maybe I'll change and stop
making pop music. I don't know.
Where do you see music going in the new
I don't know where it's going. I used to
think knew where it should go, where it had to go. Now I'm just
trying to figure out what I should do. And as far as my music goes,
I can only do what I can do the best I can do it. Mystic, huh?
Where do you think music should be going?
When radio was young, everything was on the
radio. There were no classic stations or oldies stations or "alternative"
stations. I'd like to see it go back to that.
Do you think it will happen?
I'm not holding my breath.
Voznick brings up a good point. Why should
we alienate certain forms of music? Why the separation? A lot of
it has to do with marketing, but it is also the kind of thing that
perpetuates distance between generations and even between people
who happen to like different genres of music. Would people get along
better if all types of music were played on the radio? The answer
is probably not, which is unfortunate because music should bring
people together, not keep them apart. What will the future bring?
Who knows, but if all goes well, we should be graced with quite
a few more releases from Afterimage, a truly exceptional band, fronted
by a truly exceptional man.