By David Kenney
Waiting for coffee to perk, David Szigeti scribbles in his notepad with a trance-like focus. As he lays his pen on the desk, he does so with some restraint. Bent on writing, his interview puts a temporary stop to the backlog of musings.
"I write as often as I can," Szigeti says.
Lately, it’s probably not as often as he’d like. His consolation prize is a tour in support of his debut record and namesake Daddy Szigeti. Playing the Night Gallery Fri., Sept. 15 with Feist and Great Uncle Bill, the string-heavy pop sound of Daddy Szigeti will stretch the boundries of pop music.
"That’s the point," the Toronto musician says. "The arrangements are really at the fore of the record. How to get over that and translate that process into a quartet is totally exciting. Rearranging stuff for four people was really fun."
Joining Szigeti on his string-pop trek is label-mate Leslie Feist, organ The World Provider and drummer Nathan Lawr. Besides adapting Daddy Szigeti live minus strings, the band plays everything from country to Jamaican music. In one show, Szigeti even took the coffee-house spirit to action by playing a miniature keyboard from a comfy chair.
"I’m kind of the gopher," he says of his live performance, playing guitar and a Yamaha red keyboard. "The more ear candy the better. The record is lush, more melodic, [in] the live thing the visual counterpart comes into play. It’s pretty relaxed."
Daddy Szigeti melds melancholic lyrics with a sound stuck between a string concert and bouncy ’60s pop. Such a sound might seem skittish but Szgeti says it’s just what he wanted. For a relatively classical album, Szigeti achieves a warmth not to be confused with dramatic love pieces.
Szigeti’s musical drama is just starting though. Already he’s recorded his second album, Taylor Savvy, a departure from his self-titled debut featuring house beats with slogans. Szigeti’s eclectic nature doesn’t end there either. A former member of the warp-rock band Son, Szigeti has been involved in R & B, folk and country projects. Despite his variety of musical interests, focusing Daddy Szigeti was easy.
"It was very much a specific project," Szigeti says. "The first album [is like] when you’ve got a entire catalogue to draw upon and the second one is like the choke syndrome."