Danny's Boy, AKA Connor Klocke, is an aspiring singer-songwriter from Overland Park, Kansas. Inspired by Simon and Garfunkel, Tom Petty, Bon Iver, and Lil Peep, Klocke's approach to music has grown over the few short years since he began writing songs. During the course of 2020 he has released a handful of singles and is hopeful for more music in the new year.
Please introduce yourself. Describe your music for new listeners.
My name is Connor Klocke, and I’m an alternative singer/songwriter performing under the stage name Danny’s Boy. I’m 16 and a junior in high school.
My music is pretty simple, but I think that's what makes it special. I don’t do anything extraordinarily complex; every song I’ve released at this point consists of two elements: guitar and vocals. I like to think that by limiting myself in what I use to make each song I make better songs overall. Rather than focusing on the production value of my work, I try to write songs that listeners can connect to.
When did you start writing songs? Who were your earliest musical influences?
My dad is a very musical guy, so I was exposed to music at a young age. I was in church choir from second grade on up. I think I was probably 10 years old when I first attempted to write a song. I never seriously started writing until I was in high school, though. I’m not particularly proud of this, but as a freshman I had a brief stint as a Soundcloud rapper. I thought that maybe everyone would think I was really cool and I’d “fit in.” Typical freshman mistake. After I got past that attention seeking phase, I stopped listening to and pursuing rap music, because truthfully, I didn’t particularly enjoy it. I got really into underground indie stuff, and eventually I picked up the guitar that was sitting under my bed collecting dust. I messed around with that the summer before my sophomore year, ended up writing some songs that I was actually proud of, and from then on I began my musical journey as Danny’s Boy.
I listened to a little bit of everything growing up, again because of my dad. I heard everything from jazz, to classic rock, to Ben Folds (a LOT of Ben Folds!). Also, the first time I heard Weezer’s “Blue Album” (their self titled debut) was a game changer. It was around the time I stopped listening to rap and started playing guitar. While I don’t listen to Weezer a whole lot anymore, that album opened me up to a whole new world of possibilities musically. I loved how relatable and honest many of their songs were, as well as the fact that it was the first album I could sit and listen to all the way through and never lose interest.
Midwest Emo music was also something that inspired me a lot early in my songwriting. It’s a very niche subgenre that not many people seem to know about in my experience, but in my opinion very underrated. Camping in Alaska, Mineral, Hot Mulligan, and Empire! Empire! are a handful of midwest emo bands that I listened to a lot.
I don’t really know who specifically I’d say my influences are, but I definitely pursue a more retro or classic sound as opposed to trying to emulate modern sounds. I’ve always enjoyed 70s, 80s and 90s acoustic music and I guess you could say those eras inspire me. These days I mostly listen to music from those eras along with some modern indie/ acoustic stuff.
Describe your creative process. Are you a heavy editor of your work or are you more of a first-thought-best-thought kind of writer?
My creative process is kind of all over the place. I’ll typically mess around on the guitar until I make up a riff or progression that I really like, and then I let myself process it for awhile (anywhere from an hour to several days, depending on when inspiration hits) and take note of the words, phrases, or images that the progression brings to my mind. I sit with these for awhile, and find a way to connect them to something I’ve experienced, or something someone close to me has experienced, and go from there. I don’t do a whole lot of editing, because I typically prefer to develop lyrics in my head until I feel very satisfied with them. By the time I’m happy enough with where they are to write them out, I might change a word or two here and there after writing the song out but nothing drastic.
What music are you currently raving about?
Right now, my favorite artists are probably Simon and Garfunkel, Tom Petty, Bon Iver, and Lil Peep, along with a bunch of small indie artists and bands most of the general population probably hasn’t ever heard of.
What’s ahead for you in 2021?
Living through 2020 has taught me that I can’t expect everything to go according to plan, so who knows? That said, I’m hoping to put together another project or two within the next year. It would also be super cool to do some live performances if the covid situation improves. More than anything I just want to keep enjoying making music and developing as a musician, wherever that may take me.
Connor's book recommendations from the Johnson County Library catalog:
The Mist by Stephen King. A great book for a rainy summer day.
The History of American Graffiti by Caleb Neelon and Roger Gastman Not sure why, but this was one of the most fascinating non fiction books I've ever picked up.
Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson
The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock. This book helped me when I hit the occasional songwriters block during the process of making my first album last summer.
The Firm by John Grisham. One of the most addicting books I've ever read.
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. This was required reading for me in school, and though I usually don't like required reading books, I loved this one. One of my favorite books of all time.
What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell. I'm a huge fan of journalism and this is some of the best out there.