Hailing from the Northshore, the Dream Rebel – born Michael McDaniel – is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist whose sound manages to balance the contemporary with vintage. Inspirations range from David Bowie to John Lennon but there’s nothing referential on Queen of the Cliff, deputing today on OffBeat.com.
A four-track E.P. which, according to the artist “anchors itself in vulnerability,” was recorded at the legendary Fairfax/Sound City Studios in Los Angeles, where Elton John, Nirvana, and Tom Petty spent formative time. Working with producer Gavin Paddock over a six-day period, the Dream Rebel says 12-hour recording shifts were the norm, with each day devoted to a single song. “In the mornings, we would record the bones of the track (drums, bass, guitar). Then, we began layering the song with other instruments (depending on what the song called for). By around six o’clock, we would turn the lights down to set the mood for vocals, followed by background vocals,” he tells OffBeat.
Inspired in part by the unpredictable nature of life, he says the beauty lies in those moments in which we let go of a need for control. “People like to feel that they have control over their own lives. But, to say that any person in the world actually has control, would be a lie. It’s a beautiful thing that happens when people acknowledge that and still decide to take a leap,” he says.
Though recorded in California, the Dream Rebel remains steadfast in his love of home and it’s imbued in the music. The native New Orleanian says “the more I see of the world, the more I realize how unique the place I call home is. The city has played a large part in Rock ‘n’ Roll history. It’s musical roots have laid the foundation for many of my favorite British rock bands of the past. I’m very lucky to live here and to be influenced by the same soulful music that shaped my idols.”
Check out Queen of the Cliff below.