Saint Mesa – aka Danny McCook – has quite a story. The self-taught musician fought the odds and somehow recovered from a mysterious debilitating illness, seeking solace in the songwriting that has led him to a massive break. He’s been spotted and snapped up by Interscope, delivering his latest track Beads with a flourish most new acts can’t master. We whizzed over our quick Q&A to get to know a bit more about this fascinating new talent…
First musical memory?
My first really vivid memory of music was driving to the beach with my dad and brothers when I was probably 7-8, sharing a tall Arizona, and listening to stuff like Tears for Fears and Depeche Mode.
First album you ever bought?
First album I ever bought was Parachutes by Coldplay.
Describe your vibe in three words (but then tell us a bit more about how Beads came along).
Nature, carefree, (striving to be) genuine. Although I feel like summing my vibe up into my own words is more so what I hope I appear to others versus what they actually see.
“Beads” was written when I was dealing with really bad sleep anxiety.
We can’t talk about your music without discussing your past. Firstly is your health better now, and secondly what elements of that experience (if any) do you now bring with you to your music?
Being sick completely changed not only the way I look at music, but the way I look at life and people. When your value for life goes up, everything sounds different. Everything tastes different. Getting sick for such a long time was the best worst thing that had ever happened to me.
Your inspirations, musical and otherwise?
Musical inspirations would be bands like Coldplay, Phil Collins, Glass Animals. Otherwise? Nature, art, traveling.
What are your current jams?
Current jams – “She’s American” by the 1975, “Africa” by Toto, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears, and “Babalao” by Angélique Kidjo.
Any guilty pleasures, musical or non?
Musical guilty pleasures, I don’t really have any. I think you shouldn’t feel guilty about listening to music you enjoy. Otherwise, ice cream drumsticks are my late night guilty pleasure.
Your dream collaborations?
Dream collaborations would be with Lorde, Radiohead, Animal Collective, or maybe Kendrick (who knows what that would sound like).
You also have a proud Chilean heritage. Are we going to see more of that in your future music?
I’m definitely learning more and more about Chilean culture as much as I can from here in California. The few times I’ve been to Chile have been amazing, I would love to immerse myself there and write music based off that culture. We’ll see.
And finally: favourite Beyonce song?
Definitely Partition. It’s just too good.