1. What have you been listening to lately?
2. Favorite album of 2021?
I think it’s technically end of 2020 but someone new by Helena Deland
3. How has the comedian/actor Ray Romano helped mold you as an artist and person?
I’m glad you asked. Used to watch Everybody Loves Raymond even though I did not understand anything that was happening because it came on before Sabrina the Teenage Witch and I didn’t want to miss a single minute of that show.
4. What did you get in trouble for the most as a kid?
5. The last time I cried was the day Daniel Johnston cried. What’s the last thing that made you cry?
Spider-Man Into the spider verse
6. I just spent way too much money on sneakers, and I feel gross. What is a better way to spend my money?
7. Can you do a Daniel Johnston cover and share it somewhere?
This is a good idea which song???
I don't thing anyone has ever agreed to do this.Either "Some Things Last a Long Time" or "Story of an Artist"!
8. What is on your anti-bucket list of things you NEVER want to do in your lifetime?
I don’t want to go to Woodstock 99
(This is such a good answer. Yall, look up Woodstock 99 if you don’t understand)
9. What are you most looking forward to in 2022?
Being nice to my friends and getting them presents.
Isaac Gutierrez for Born Loser Magazine: To start things off, can you introduce yourself?
Anna Beckerman (Daneshevskaya): My name is Anna Beckerman and i'm from NYC! I sing and play guitar. My dad is a music professor and my mom was trained as an opera singer so I was always around music, plus I’m Jewish and grew up going to synagogue learning all the prayers which are very musical. I took a bunch of different music lessons but I was so so bad at practicing and never made it super far.
What first sparked your interest in music, and what has your musical journey looked like so far?
I sang in all the groups in high school and would sing with my friend all the time just to calm down. It was always something that I did, even when I got no validation for it. I got rejected from so many clubs and programs for singing. But for some reason I kept doing it.
I started playing the guitar a little during high school and college and a friend in college asked me to sing in his band and that led to more backup singing. I thought it was so fun and taught me a lot. After college I started writing songs and kept them to myself but would spend a lot of time with them. Then one of my friends heard one and was so supportive, and as I surrounded myself with more supportive people it became something I could actually see myself doing.
Was music something that you always wanted to pursue?
No haha. I mean I always knew music would be a part of my life, but I was actually in my second year of a social work program when my music started getting any attention. I was planning on doing children’s counseling (which I still plan on doing), but I’m taking a pause on that until I know I can give potential clients the amount of time and dependability they deserve. Now I work at a daycare which allows for a little more flexibility.
Do you have any classical training? I’m just asking because the arrangement of piano and strings in “Bury Your Horses” is phenomenal.
I have super talented friends who have classical training. Finnegan Shannahan did the strings and he is a magician. He plays right through that violin. Artur Szerejko did most of the arrangements, I think a lot of what I love about this album is seeing the songs through the lens of his production and engineering. Madeline Leshner is a classically trained pianist and we wrote a lot of these songs together over the course of years. I'd trust those three with my life!! Robby Bowen did the drums and did an amazing job making them subtle and fit so well with the rest of the song. Mike Haldeman helped us record the drums and piano at his studio. The piano was really central to the album and Mike made sure it sounded good.
What did you listen to growing up?
My parents never liked rock or pop or anything post 1969. so I listened to a weird concoction. There was one cd by the bothy band that we listened to over and over on car rides. A lot of folk music and classical music.
Daneshevskaya is your middle name, as well as your (correct me if I’m wrong) great-grandmother’s name, right? What made you decide to start putting out music as Daneshevskaya?
I always loved the name and band names are really hard. When it came time to pick something I kept looking up the names I liked and they were taken, so at some point I just looked at my ID and figured there would be very little competition. The music is also about my family and about me and it feels fitting to honor that with a family name. I only have a few pictures of my great grandmother but she seems like she was a very intense person and someone I would be very scared of, but I also feel connected to her.
Were you involved in any musical projects before Daneshevskaya?
I sang backup vocals for a bunch of Scott James songs and for a band called Glassio. Never recorded anything with them but I used to sing backup for a band called roofers union.
You wrote a song titled Scrooge. Can you write a song about Scrooge McDuck next?
I need to immerse myself in the Scrooge mcduck story 😩
The first song of yours that I heard was “Dr. Johann Averies”, and immediately fell in love with your music. Can you give us some background on that song?
I think I wrote like 5 songs over that chord progression. I just really liked playing it and singing over it. And I never showed them to anyone, just kept writing and rewriting and then I sent one to Maddy (Madeline Leshner) and we would get together and see if we could make it up. And then I wrote that end part separately because my ex was writing songs and I felt sad that they weren’t about me. I think the original lyric was “you must be really happy, so many songs about nothing, so in love and yet nothing to talk about” but then I felt weird about that so I changed them. I’m glad I did cause the lyrics I ended up with are nice.
Can you talk to us a bit about your EP Bury Your Horses?
It was all the songs I had, recorded remotely during the pandemic and lovingly stitched together. I think I had been sitting with a lot of those songs for a long time and It was so fun to catapult them over the castle walls.
How does it feel to have that out in the world?
It feels good! Every time I get a message from someone I haven’t met telling me they like it I feel so happy and lucky and appreciative. Even you reaching out, I feel really grateful that people connect with it and connect with it enough to tell me! I respond to every dm I get which I guess is uncool but that’s fine.
Did you make the album art yourself?
It was done by my friend Maya Ragazzo. I think a lot of this album was taking things I care about and have been so precious and protective with and trusting people I love and respect to help me create them. I love Maya's style and I was so excited to see what she heard in the music and what art she thought would go with it.
What was the recording process like?
It was messy lol. Dr Johann is just a live recording with some harmonies and violin over it, but the vocals and piano were recorded live. I think it kinda made it magical though because me and Maddy definitely like to milk emotions and when we’re playing together it’s an udder out there. Most of the other songs the vocals were recorded first and that made things tricky for Artur. Artur did such a good job and spent so much time making it feel cohesive. He took so much feedback very graciously and worked so hard to do right by the songs.
What were the main influences/inspirations behind the EP?
Hmmm I love Elliot Smith and Angel Olsen. Also Molly Drake and Sybill Baier. I think Angel Olsen’s All Mirrors was a really big influence. Sufjan Stevens. Frank Ocean has such perfect lyrics and I definitely listened to a lot of him when I was writing these.
Bury Your Horses feels different than your previous releases “Bear Trap” and “Ebenezer”, was the change in sound an intentional choice, or something that just happened naturally?
It was my first time trying to make a cohesive collection of songs, so that might have affected it. They were all recorded close together in time too.
I read that you wrote the songs for the EP over the process of 5 years or so. Do you feel like you’ve changed or evolved as a songwriter since you first started writing for the EP?
I hope so! I think at least what I want to write about has changed. I was sad about various people choosing to leave my life, and I think this album helped me deal with those feelings and make peace with relationships and friendships that ended. I think now I am focused more on other things (though I’m sure I’ll come back to loss). I’ve been thinking a lot more recently about my current relationships and how I’ve grown within them and what I’ve lost within them and I think the more recent songs are about that.
What do you think has helped you grow the most as a songwriter?
Writing bad bad songs. I’m so glad tik tok and Instagram weren’t around when I was writing really bad songs. For real 😧 some of those songs were so awful but I had to write them and grow and write more and listen to new bands and write more songs etc.
You’ve mentioned that these songs were reactions to people leaving your life. Does writing about those situations allow you to process everything and let go, or is it more of a way to preserve a memory?
I think both! Some moments of songs are images of joy from the relationships. Dr Johann especially has a lot of memories in it. Some of them are about saying goodbye. I think one compliments the other.
What is your main focus when it comes to songwriting?
For me I think if I am excited about making something it’s more likely to get done and I’m more likely to be proud of the end product. The songs people seem to like the best are the ones that I had the most fun making even if they are sad songs.
When you’re writing a song about a specific situation, do you have to kind of let it sit a while before you share it?
Hmm I like writing a really reactionary song and then recording it on my iPhone and forgetting about it for 3 years and then rewriting it a little calmer. But that being said I still love listening to the versions I made back then.
Who do you consider your musical and nonmusical influences?
I’ve been really into the artist Vangel Naumovski. Also Eden Seifu. And more, but those two are so good at world building. I love art that makes you feel like you’re underwater.
What would you like to accomplish through your music?
I saw that you’re on tour! (at the time of writing) is this your first tour?
It is! The first show of our tour was the third show we ever played. We were shaking in our boots but it was so fun.
Most memorable show?
The people in DC were so nice and made us all feel like princesses.
Is there a song you enjoy performing live the most?
I liked singing this new song called not the one a lot. I generally like singing the newest ones the best but I like singing all of them.
What can we expect from Daneshevskaya in the near future?
I hope to keep writing music and recording it. I also love working with new people and making music with others when it feels right.
And to wrap things up, do you have any questions for me?
Are you nice??
I try to be.
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. I really appreciate it. Looking forward to seeing/hearing more from you in the future!
Thank you so much! This is so fun and I appreciate how personal and thoughtful all these questions are. I really liked answering them and wish you the best in all endeavors.