an interview with Danielson: A Family Movie‘s director

A few weeks ago I reviewed JL Aronson’s film Danielson: A Family Movie, which finally came out on DVD.

I emailed JL and we did a short interview. Here are it is:

Adrian: Why did you want to do a film about the Danielson Famile?
JL: I first heard Danielson Famile on a Tooth and Nail compilation that I got for free in late 97 (or mid 1998?). So that stuff really works. Not sure if I’d heard of them before that but the comp was definitely my first introduction. The song was ‘Smooth Death’ from their second record, “Tell Another Joke at the ol’ Choppin’ Block.” It reeked of authenticity which is the first thing I look for in music. What exactly they were authentic OF was, however, a bit difficult to ascertain. I pictured them barefooted in rolled up dungaree overalls, singing around one microphone at the center of the room. I wanted to know more and, fortunately, I live in New York and they’ve always played in the city quite a bit. New York’s art-rock avant-garde has always embraced them more than the south Jersey, farmland milieu that they come from. But at their shows I was equally fascinated with the audience as I was with the band. What draws people of different perspectives –often secular people– to a performance of a family singing about their relationship with God? That was what really inspired to make a movie about them.

Adrian:Do you have an religious leanings yourself? Either way, do you think this was important in making the film?
JL: I’m into meditation and I was raised Jewish. I think it helped that I am
sympathetic to people of faith rather than immediately dubious.

Adrian: What did you learn from making it?
JL The filmmaker has to let the movie decide when it’s done, not the other way

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