Galiano Island / Berlin
If you want to understand Frivolous – aka Daniel Gardner – imagine if Bob Dylan went really electric
and started making four-four beats, or if Tom Waits met and caught sparks off the techno futurism
of Juan Atkins and Derrick May. Imagine, if you can, a fusion of punk, rave, jazz, minimal, Eastern
European folk music, classic house and swinging 60s soundtracks fueled by the a passionate love for
found sounds and eccentric experimentation. If you can imagine that, you’re getting close.
Daniel Gardner, born thirty years ago on the west coast of Canada, grew up studying classical
music and listening to his mom sing in the choir and his daddy holler the blues. He fell in love with
punk but when his rough-neck friends snubbed rave he snuck out to parties anyway, hypnotized by
the beats. He found a spot in his room where the radio tuned in a local university station that played
British acid house and experimental German music. Like a magpie, he picked up every shiny bit of
sound he could find, hoarding it in his mind as he taught himself to DJ.
Early DJ gigs in Vancouver, British Colombia, fired Frivolous’ love for electronic music, but left
him frustrated with the limited, commercial music scene. After going to design school and a stint in
the printing industry, Frivolous packed his bags headed for Canada’s techno capital, Montreal, where
he wound up working in a cafe kitchen, beneath a record label office. “I was fired as a kitchen hand,”
he recalls, “but the cafe hired me as a resident DJ the same day.” It was an encouraging step, but
Frivolous was still living on boxed macaroni & cheese, trying to balance “extreme poverty” with a
penchant for crate digging.
Never quite satisfied with making standard floor-fillers, Frivolous developed a love of live
performance, complete with extraordinary hand-made instruments – a passion he developed as a
kid, taking apart and putting back together his mother’s appliances. Word spread through the
underground of his extraordinary live sets complete with appearances from his “Broken Ruler Music
Box” and “Patented Electromagnetic Knife” among other inventions. After a few years of living in
Montreal but surviving on the proceeds of his European tours, Frivolous made the move to Berlin,
where he developed a fresh perspective on the prevailing minimal sound. “I flirted with rebellion,”
he says. “It was only after moving back to a small island in Canada and living with farmers that I
reversed the rebellion and rekindled my love of ‘dance music’.” Now, Frivolous has taken the next
step in his sonic evolution, fully embracing both “child-like mischievousness” and dance-floor friendly
beats. This combination led him to join forces with the like-minds at Cadenza Records, which is set to
release his 3rd artist album in early 2011.