Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. On Why The Internet Won’t Ever Love You Back
The name alone confuses and intrigues passerby only luring them right into the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. world. Once there, you will find extremely catchy and playful electro-pop music rooted with down-to-earth sensibility. Lead singer Daniel Zott filled us in on balancing tour life and love life, the prison that surrounds trying to be cool and an upcoming album in the works.
by: Shannon Kurlander
First you have to tell us about the unconventional band name, why Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.?
It’s evolved, if you asked me this question a few years ago I would have given you a different answer. It’s something that gives us a lot of freedom to change our sound and do whatever we want, not have any restrictions because it’s such a weird thing no one knows what to expect. I think that’s really what the name is about now for us. It’s about not putting a limit on things. The new record is going in a different direction for us and having that name sort of allows us to open our minds and try anything else.
Your new single is about a man near and dear to our hearts, James Dean – who is the epitome of cool. Cool is a problematic word…can you define cool?
I grew up in the age of a lot of cool, like Thom Yorke as a kid you think is so cool. There’s so much pressure – not to be able to try different things or be silly or be something that’s totally different because he has to be so freakin’ cool. It’s almost like a prison. I know a lot of people, ourselves included, addressing this problem of wanting to be cool and then not caring and trying to not care about it, it can be very restrictive especially on bands with the songs they write: not being too pop…it’s a lot easier to just make stuff that is meaningful when you’re not trying to actually be cool. That song is about that struggle with whatever that cool is for people…it’s just this invisible aspect that shapes what people make. If you can get above that, I think the freedom there is incredible.
There’s a line in your new single, “the internet won’t ever love you back”. Reminds me of the Jimmy Kimmel mean tweets skit. Have you received nasty comments on social media?
I think everyone has, especially if you’re in the limelight and have success you get a lot of people who want to say rude things. I think that’s also what the line is saying. When you’re dealing with that aspect of cool and you’re reading an article about your band it feels like the internet won’t ever love you back. But it’s also this personal thing and you’re trying to fulfill what can only be fulfilled face-to-face. In a lot of ways it’s just talking about social media and blogs and how you can’t expect that to love you and fulfill all your good feelings of wanting to be recognized. I think it’s still the most important thing to make what you love…there’s going to be someone obsessed with something you do and someone who hates everything you do. None of those can be a measure for what you do.
You have been on a crazy tour, which must be hard on your love life. Any tips for making long distance work?
It’s hard because you have to figure out your balance. I’m married so I take it a little more seriously, I hope. It takes a lot of planning, which I’m a horrible planner. Connecting on the internet or FaceTime and all these other things are still not as good as just holding someone and not saying anything. That’s the reality of it.
What’s the future look like Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. ?
We’re working on a new record so we’re going to get home, take a week off or two and get cracking at it again. Trying to wrap up the new record in December, we’re getting close. I’m really excited to put the final touches on the album.