Absent Parents is the alternative, ambient, stellar sounds coming from Dali McDonald of Nelson, New Zealand. Look no further for some tunes inspired by countless greats, check it all out here (via his bandcamp). Meet Dali and learn more about the great Absent Parent antics starting in NZ and currently studying in Italy. *Added fun bonus if you catch how many times Drake is mentioned in our chat below:
Could you please tell us a little bit yourself?
DM: My name is Dali McDonald, I was born on the 16th of December 1995 in Nelson, New Zealand. The last thing i thought was cool was..? “Fuck You All The Time – Jeremih.” I’m currently studying in Peidmonte in a small town called Castlemonte on an “AFS exchange program.” At the moment I’m focusing on not doing anything lol but I’m pretty bad at it. I thought after dropping home I could relax and take some time to appreciate what i had. But I’m really struggling to switch of and I am forever making new music.
So, how did Absent Parents began or where does your interest in music stem from? Can you please explain the name, if you want?
DM: I started recording for Absent Parents in early December 2012. The band I was playing with prior to Absent Parents was beginning to break up and our violinist/ vocalist (Giselle Colman) and our bassist/ vocalist (Jade Newton) were both leaving to go to University. So our practice space, which was just Andrew Hampsons garage was full of instruments and the little/ pathetic recording gear we had, which was just a decrepit Mac and an old Guitar Hero karaoke like mic and also a Midi keyboard that my flat mate had lent me. So I had all this shit but no band to exercise it. So that’s when I started recording songs like “stereotypes are comforting” (which ironically features in the recording the intricacy of the old band, bar one member) and “taylor is dead” both songs inspired by the suicide of an old friend. I would go to Andrews record for hours on end and eventually carry my Mac home under street lights to mix it and edit vocals and what not. It wasn’t unusual for me to leave around 5 in the morning and now that I think about it I feel so bad for Andrews mother (Liz (Band Mum) whom I used to wake with the opening of the garage door. The name Absent Parents came out of a book I think.. I don’t really remember but I know when I look for band names I normally resort to books for nice word combinations. But I was listening to a lot of “teen suicide” and “Coma Cinema” and I was looking for a name of the sorts. And I really liked Absent Parents, I intend it to be ironic but I sometimes get lost in the levels of irony. but the best way I can explain it is Absent Parents is a melodramatic self mockery… Yea. lol. #honesty-through-humour
Is there a certain plan or process behind writing your music? Or do you follow a more natural based form of creation? Where/how did you learn what you know?
DM: Nowadays when I approach a song I will normally start with an image or a memmory and an idea of a sound (which generally gets lost in the process.) I really like the idea of “seeing sounds” like a really cinematic sound that captures moods and places. And I do try hard to achieve a specific sound but ironically most of my influences come to me mid creation. Like noises I hear whilst playing or conversations. So after I will either try to re create them or just use the atmosphere I have. I initially learnt drums to play in a Nirvana cover band when I was like 12, and I played in a couple of “punk” bands before I started playing the guitar and then the piano. The piano was actually the first instrument I took lessons in but my teacher didn’t think I could take it any further than the class room, and neither did I, so I stopped. I didn’t start again until I started using Midis on the old Absent Parents work.
What was the last major release that made you super excited?
DM: NWTS ( OVO until I drop)
Are there any musicians who inspire your sounds or who are just your favourite musicians (of any kind)?
DM: Eskimo Eyes and Salvia Palth. Ike and Daniel are two of the nicest and most inspiring musicians and friends. Amazing to work with, they just know music incredibly well. Like these guys are in there own league. On top of that the KCB crew (Race Banyon, Skymning, Totems Etc.) are a bunch of talented people of a similar age all making wonderfull music. I would say all of the above are my favourite musicians and they all inspire me greatly –definitely my favourite people making music at the moment. There’s this wonderful networking that happens, we share music and everyone is aware of what’s happening and helping each other out. This is a list of other musicians whom have inspired my sound: Ricky Eat Acid, heroin party, Keaton Henson, Billie Holiday, Salvia Palth (The album “Voices”), Sea Oleena, Noah And The Whale (The album “First Days Of Spring”), Frank Sinatra, Aubrey (Drake) Graham, James Blake, and Drake. But nowadays its more like: Drake, FKA twigs, Sampha, A$AP Rocky, Yung Lean, Doprah, The Weeknd, R. Kelly, XXYYXX, and Drake.
If you could be any living creature, what would you be and why?
DM: I would be a person. Because some people listen to Drake. Or an Owl because some owls hear really well. OVO
Your music is very nostalgic, warm, and quaint. The many different levels of your soundscapes create some beautiful imagery, and one of my favourites off the most recent release is “citta natale del male.” What is the last thing that really made you think, or what is something that makes you feel connected to the world, or disconnected?
DM: My inability to speak Italian means I’m feeling disconnected 95% of the time. But things that really provoke me… I went to see a Renoit exsibition and god damnit i almost cried. So Beautiful. The Swing. Beautiful. Also seeing people whom can’t connect to an audience makes me sad…
Can you please describe your sound in any 4 words. Or if you like drawing, feel free to draw a picture of your sound?
DM: I’m really sorry… fuc.
What’s your favourite tea or drink?
DM: Umm.. Giselle once Brought back Mapal tea from Canada which was so dope. But when I make it its always gumboot, milk no sugar.
What would you have people keep an eye out? New songs, albums, news, shows, merch, anything? Are you excited about anything happening in the coming year?
DM: KCB is dropping a new mix tape which is exciting and My bois are on a new Christmas mix put together by Starttracker. Neon Bed Sheets are releasing a debut EP soon and Salvia Palth is releasing an EP titled “Winter” last i heard he was working with Ike on something but I don’t know if its still happening. And I’m currently working on some Sempri Apri material for a split with a friend of mine, Nariman. Also a couple new Absent Parents tracks for Jan 2014.
What is one thing you think people should know about, you, Absent Parents, or what do you think people need to know about life in general?
DM: I love my parents. About life in general.. some things are genuinely shitty, and that’s okay. Thank you for the interview! Interest is always appreciated.
Thank you! Link up and connect with Absent Parents below: