with Dan Beckman of Village of Spaces
Name: Daniel L Beckman
Bands: Village of Spaces, Impractical Cockpit
Listen to “Forget Me Not” by Big Blood
QRD – How old were you when you first realized you wanted to be a professional musician?
Dan – I’ve never been very comfortable with the idea of considering myself a professional musician. Maybe if at some point I can afford to quit my “day job,” of being a handyman & take up playing music full time as a way to put food on the table, I would then consider myself a professional musician. I have been experimenting with sound & song structure for almost 20 years now & take my role as a music maker & communicator very seriously. It is something that is very spiritually fulfilling to me & something that I think about on a constant basis....
QRD – What are a few highlights of your musical career?
Dan – Singing with Gordon Bok in a nearly 60 person folk chorus/orchestra performing his Cantefable “Another Land Made of Water.” Singing & composing songs with my wife & life partner Amy Moon on a daily basis! Recording with Michael Hurley. Collectively writing & recording “Facilidad?” which I believe to be Impractical Cockpit’s magnum opus.
QRD – At what age did you decide you wanted to become a father?
Dan – 32.
QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your family has had on your career?
Dan – Having a child has had a profound impact on our band. My favorite album that we have released to this date, called “Alchemy & Trust,” is heavily steeped in the life force energy of childbirth & was recorded during & shortly after the pregnancy & birth of our first child. We made a conscious decision to have a child & knew that it would slow the band down a bit. A compromise that is well worth it. Since having our son we have turned down many an offer to play shows. Not that this is a bad thing. We are more picky about which shows we play only doing shows that we are really psyched about.... We also have only been playing shows in which we can be done performing by 8 or 9pm. I suppose that if we hadn’t chosen to have children we may have continued our epic two month tours.... But Amy & I were getting worn out from ten plus years of hitting the road pretty hard, so settling down a bit & homesteading as well as having children sounded pretty good.
QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your career has had on your family?
Dan – That’s a hard question..... I am pretty uncompromising when it comes to where I place my family in terms of music. The music happens when I can fit it in & I aim to always be there for my family. My son is surrounded by music constantly. Band practice happens at all times of the day, however we can fit it in. Our Thursday night practices start at 8pm & often our son is still awake, so he drifts off to sleep to the distant hum of sound, barely audible to him but surely seeping into sleep. I think the touring has been good for our son. His first year we did a one month tour from Maine to California playing about nine shows. I think the socialization is good as long as he’s enjoying it.
QRD – Has your son effected the music you make &/or listen to?
Dan – I suppose. I’ve always listened to a very wide variety of music. But sometimes I put a record on & my son says, “No papa, not that record.”
QRD – Have you had problems with the lack of steady money from a musical career providing the security you feel necessary in your household?
Dan – Yes, that’s why I have always had a “day job.” But I’ve always been leery of leaning on music in that way, more for fear of it affecting & or commercializing our sound.
QRD – Given the limitations having a family has on being a touring musician, would you have toured more earlier in life if you’d known?
Dan – I toured like crazy for over 10 years before having a kid.... Epic 40-50 shows in 2 months tours, 2-10 folks & dogs & gear & backpacks packed into vehicles, everyone going mad & having the times of their lives. So taking a break from that is okay by me. I do miss it sometimes though!!! & maybe it will happen again, before too long!
QRD – Do you think being a father or a musician has a greater impact on your community?
Dan – Hard to compare. I am a father & a musician so it’s hard to imagine being neither of those at this point.
QRD – Would you rather see your son eventually become a musician or parent?
Dan – A musician parent! Ultimately though, I am preparing to find interest in whatever my kids are impassioned by.
QRD – Both family & music seem like things that will take up as much of your time as you’re willing to put in. How do you end up dividing your time?
Dan – I think I covered that up in the earlier questions.... Right now I spend way more time parenting than playing music.
QRD – What does your son think of your music?
Dan – My son is a great conductor. Sometimes he digs what I’m up to, other times he mutes the guitar strings & says, “no papa guitar,” or “papa no sing that one... papa sing tanker truck one!!!”
QRD – Do you think you could ever do a musical project with your child?
Dan – Almost nightly I jam with my 2 1/2 year old so that’s a great start. It is my hope that this continues. It is a great way to communicate. He’s 2 1/2 & recently contributed harmonies to a song we recorded for a MYSTRA compilation coming out this summer.
QRD – Any words of advice to young people?
Dan – I’m glad I waited till I was in my 30s to have a kid. Oh, & you can never give your kid too much love.
Other QRD interviews with Dan Beckman:
Record Label Owner interview with Dan Beckman of Turned Word (January 2011)