By Sarah Huether
The mid-morning sun shines into the windows of The Village Cafe, outlining a tall figure. Daniel Gonzales waves at an employee as he sits, his long fingers, callused from hours of playing guitar, wrapped around an iced coffee. A singer/songwriter/musician, Gonzales is more at home on the The Village’s stage than he is sitting a few tables away.
His musical career began with the piano, says the Dallas native, before he moved to drums, a choice Gonzales teases he made because he knew it would annoy his parents. He then taught himself to play guitar by watching his brother. “[It] just clicked,” says Gonzales with a snap of his fingers. It was after moving to College Station that his songwriting began to flourish, he says.
Gonzales’ first album, “The First 20,” draws on his young life: being 21, “being bad at life” as a young adult, and the end of a long-term relationship. Gonzales laughs when he notes that while break-ups are sad, it gave him tons of songwriting material.
“Thoughts pop up at 3 a.m.,” says Gonzales, and living alone, he has the freedom to play whenever. “[It is] hard to be honest and not be cliché,” says Gonzales of writing lyrics. His favorite song, “Part 2” on his new single CD, was so lyrically honest that it happened in just two minutes as it poured out of him.
While Gonzales says he loves the freedom of playing alone on stage – just him and his guitar – he is also part of a band formerly known as Larynx. “There’s a certain energy, playing with your best friends,” says Gonzales. As a group, pianist Mikey Gattus, bass Spencer Lammers, drummer Alan Green, and lead guitarist Danny Malooly, now go by Gonzales’ name when they perform at local venues such as The Village, Revolution Café and The Grand Stafford Theater.
Pulling from his drumming background, Gonzales says he is a very percussive guitar player. When onstage by himself, he tries to be a one-man-band with percussion, lead guitar and everything in between, he says. With a uniform of t-shirts and jeans, Gonzales notes that while he is simple, his music is not. Bored with playing simple chords, Gonzales says he tries to make his music as complicated as possible, describing music as “beautiful chaos.”
Gonzales teaches guitar lessons at the Brazos Arts Music School. His favorite part is helping his students fulfill dreams, he says. With a piano and drums in his classroom he often accompanies his students and writes songs with them.
“Being famous is not my goal,” says Gonzales as he looks to the future and struggles with the idea of a record label versus being an independent musician. He eventually wants to travel out west to see how his music holds up outside of Texas.
To follow Daniel Gonzales’ next 20 years, find him on Facebook at “Daniel Gonzales Music;” and watch him on YouTube at “Daniel Gonzales.”