Daniel Wesley is a man without a scene. While bands are often — arguably too often — defined by the music scenes from which they're born (think all those Haight-Ashbury bands in the late '60s or Williamsburg in the '00s), Wesley has only the music.
He's not a loner, by any means. He's just never been the kind of guy to give a damn.
"I don't go out every week and try to find bands and try to 'hang in the scene' kind of thing," he says. "I have trouble trying to keep up with all (my own friends) as opposed to being in a scene."
This sense of duty to friends and family permeates our discussion. Likewise, it's found an increasing presence his music. At 26, he established his career with "Ooh Ohh," a four-minute rock-reggae gem about smoking dope. Five years later, Wesley and his wife are expecting their first child, and along with it has come a new sense of responsibility.
"It's definitely given me a broader outlook on my life, for sure," he says.
Wesley will be recording a new album in the fall with a release date that will likely line up around the time his child is born. He says that the lyrical content of his new songs (a few of which have already been recorded) reflect this new stage of his life with deeper, more heartfelt ruminations of adulthood and newfound responsibility. It's a considerable step for an artist who owes much of his career to a song about lighting up joints.
"It's definitely a huge positive influence on my life. I've been looking for something like this for a long time and I feel like my life needed something like this and it will be definitely be something new," he said.
Musically, says Wesley, the album will deal in much of what he's been doing already: reggae-inflicted rock with a few diversions into country-tinged ballads and alt-rock stompers.
"I don't have a filter with music," he says, adding that he writes music in the same way that he lives.
"I'm kind of all over the place with my life the way I feel about things. Some days I feel one way about something and other days I feel another way. I think that's just the constant evolution of being a human and being someone who's trying... to let the current take you where it goes."
He's had a remarkably successful career, considering he's had very little radio play outside of British Columbia and very few records sold. He sells his live show — or, really, he sells a certain lifestyle through his live show. He'll likely never sell 10 million records, and he's comfortable with that.
"The older I get and the longer I do this, the more I realize I'm not that kind of artist. I'm the kind of artist that, through my longevity and sincerity will hopefully be the lasting imprint of my (legacy). Hopefully I can keep doing this for another 20 years," he says.
His previous album, 2011's Livin' Easy, a 10-song culmination of all that he's done until this point, sporting a mature, crisper sound while leaning on the feel-good, reggae-influenced party anthems that have been his moneymaker for the past five years.
He conceived the album while cycling around the Vancouver Seawall and thought it complimented not only the content of his album, but his entire career up that point.
And, indeed, life has been easy. He admits he's doing nothing on this fine Monday afternoon. He went for a run around Stanley Park and after the interview he'll tackle some chores around his East Vancouver home. The sense of optimism that dominates his music is not put on: his entire life is devoted to positivity and living as easy a life as possible.
"It's not a hardline (philosophy). I just try to enjoy my life as much as I can. I love my life, I love my family, I love my wife, I love my friends and I try to live every day and do something every day. The only thing that I really try to make sure is that it's positive. After that, it is what it is," he says.
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