Daniel Victor

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Daniel Victor
Birth name Daniel Victor
Also known as Neverending White Lights, Black Ribbons
Born (1979-09-20) September 20, 1979 (age 34)
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Occupations Vocalist, Songwriter, Musician, Record producer
Instruments Vocals, Piano, Guitar, Drums
Labels MapleMusic Recordings
Associated acts Neverending White Lights, Black Ribbons
Website Neverendingwhitelights.com

Daniel Victor (born September 20, 1979) is a Canadian recording artist and producer who is most famous for his work in the collaboration of Neverending White Lights.[1]

Early life[edit]

Victor was born a Canadian of landed immigrants, his father born in Italy, and his mother in Argentina, who married and raised a family in southern Ontario. Victor's involvement with music began at a very early age. His father, a musician and performer himself, exposed him to hundreds of record albums and helped shaped his early love of song. He spent the majority of his childhood listening to these albums over and over and found a very strong connection to the emotive qualities of music from his very first experience with it. At the age of six, he studied the piano under the direction of nuns at a local conservatory. After a five-year period there, he quit to pursue his abilities to "play by ear" and compose freely. He taught himself a range of instruments and began developing his vocal abilities. During his adolescence he performed on stage often in various local orchestras and jazz groups as a percussionist. He formed several original 'alternative' bands in which he played different roles, always acting as the producer/engineer in their home studio environment; a collection of gear his father had built in their basement with pipe dreams of eventually starting a record company. Victor worked part-time in this home-studio producing local bands from the Windsor-Detroit area, developing skills and experimentation that would later serve as the background for his upcoming releases.

At the age of nineteen, Victor enrolled at the University of Windsor for his Bachelor of Arts. It was during these years that he began to drift apart from working in 'band-like' environments and experiment with multi-tracking himself in the studio. These early recordings eventually went on to become the first batch of songs from his debut release, "Act 1: Goodbye Friends Of The Heavenly Bodies". Though proficient on most instruments, Victor felt that utilizing the same singer on every song could grow tired, and was all too common. The idea of movie soundtracks, compilations, and frequent collaborations on Hip-Hop records intrigued him, and he wanted to bring these ideas over to the indie-alt music world and create an entirely different concept. Something he didn't own in his collection, but wanted to. After making notes of all his favourite singers, he began sending out compositions to the various vocalists he felt would be a good fit for the songs. His idea was to create something more interesting than just another album by another band; something that offered a bigger experience for the listener.

After Victor finished school, he spent all his time devoted to making the record he envisioned. The name "Neverending White Lights" came to him one night after flipping through his old notebooks in search of key words. The lyric stood out to him and gave him the sense of infinity and foreverness he was trying to create with the project. It was also a metaphor for humans; he explains: "There is an energy in people that doesn't go away when they die. While the physical body stays on earth, the light escapes. That is what we're made of, that never-ending light". With the premiss of the album's content starting to unfold, Victor deemed it important to make the album a concept record; an entire collection of sixteen songs all telling one story, in different ways. This would be an ongoing story, from album to album, each with a different conceptual basis for the lyrics. The albums would be the "Acts", and the songs would be the "Scenes", and of course, the various singers would become the "Actors" - much like a movie or stage play. It was an ambitious undertaking for one person to put together with no help in the industry and no band to bounce ideas off of, and this difficulty led him into some troubled territories.

After a very trying experience realizing this overly ambitious debut, Victor surfaced with the finished album in September 2005. It featured over a dozen guest vocalists, many of which were Victor's favourite. He states: "It means more to me to hold a burned copy of this finished concept in my hands after seeing it in my head for so long, than it does to actually release it to the world. I'd rather just put it on my shelf to listen to now and then and reflect on what it means to have completed this personal musical ambition."

Victor has recently become a spokesperson for mental illness after revealing in a 2013 interview with the online magazine Mind Your Mind that he has suffered from severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Depression, and Anxiety during the course of his career. He is an advocate of non-medinical/alternative treatments and positive focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle while battling these illnesses. He stated in 2012 that much of his OCD not only controlled his everyday life, but seeped into his music methodology as well.

While currently still working on the Neverending White Lights projects, Victor has also ventured off into forming an independent record label of his own, which has already led to the signing of the Vancouver-based act Bed Of Stars, which will see a debut release in 2013.

Career[edit]

Neverending White Lights[edit]

Victor's first project was entitled Neverending White Lights - Act 1: Goodbye Friends of the Heavenly Bodies. The idea behind this album concept was to feature different musicians within his own compositions. It was an attempt to conceive and birth an entirely different type of album/band, and it was an idea Victor had visions of for years before putting it together. It was to play out like a soundtrack, having what he stated as "diversity in the voice, but consistency in the song."

His first actual collaboration for this album was a song called "On Fire", which he wrote alongside Switchfoot frontman Jon Foreman. The song did not end up on Victor's first record, but instead made it onto Switchfoot's Columbia debut album The Beautiful Letdown, which was their most popular release to date, eventually selling over 3 million copies.

It was during this time that Daniel continued work on his own collaborative album, which would feature the likes of many different vocalists. He pulled together the lead men from bands such as: 311, Ours, Hum (band), Finger Eleven, Shudder to Think, The Velvet Teen, Our Lady Peace, Age of Electric, The Watchmen, The Black Maria, Creeper Lagoon, Starflyer 59, and many others. Victor wrote nearly all the music, produced, and performed all the instrumentation himself. His originality and creativity made it interesting for his collaborators to be a part of, and solidified their commitment to the project. It's important to note that Victor insists on performing all the instruments on his albums himself, also producing and mixing them as well. This one-man-band operation of sound from the writing process to the end product is the key element to the unique sound of Neverending White Lights.

On September 27, 2005, the album was released independently through Ocean Records Canada (his own record label). His first single, "The Grace", which featured Canadian singer Dallas Green, shot up the charts, finishing as the 6th most spun song on Canadian Rock Radio in 2006. The music video eventually hit #1 on Much Music and modern rock radio, and a tour supporting Canadian legends Our Lady Peace soon followed.

After taking about a year to write and record a follow-up to "Act 1", Victor emerged with his 2nd album. On October 30, 2007, Daniel Victor/Neverending White Lights released his second album, the follow-up to Act 1 Titled Act 2: The Blood and the Life Eternal.

The first single released off of Act II, "Always", was the first to have lead vocals sung by Victor himself, and peaked at # 18 on the Canadian top 40 Rock Chart.

He later followed that with the second single "The World is Darker" featuring Melissa Auf der Maur (of The Smashing Pumpkins, Hole and Auf der Maur), and then the driving rock song "Where We Are" featuring Rob Dickinson of the UK band, The Catherine Wheel.

Between 2007 and 2011, Victor went to work on the long awaited Act 3 "Love Will Ruin album. Between mounting pressures to produce radio singles and to repeat past successes, yet to still maintain true to the artistic integrity NWL was founded on, writing and production was staggered and troublesome. Victor eventually went on to write and record nearly seventy songs for inclusion on this album. It wasn't until he had a 'finished' copy in his hands after years of assiduous work and travel that he decided it was unworthy for release. He then returned to the studio with a new outlook and found inspiration within himself, free from outside influence and pressure. It was this personal freedom and revelation that allowed the music he was looking for to finally surface. Victor stated that "every song has to take you somewhere, every song has to hit you, and every song has to make you close your eyes and get chills. It was the letting go that allowed me to get to those moments. I tested them on myself, and these are the songs that have stood up for me." This batch of music became Act 3. The album was released in North America (digitally in UK and Australia) on November 18, 2011 and was met with general praise by fans and critics.

In 2012, Victor parted ways with his record label Maple Music Recordings to focus on his own label. He's currently signing and developing acts as well as producing, co-writing, and collaborating with artists outside of the Neverending White Lights brand.

Awards and nominations[edit]

The success of his debut album led to numerous award nominations and wins including:

WINS:

  • Favourite Single Of The Year - Indie Music Awards 2006
  • Number 1 Song Award - SOCAN 2006
  • Favourite Group Of The Year - Indie Music Awards 2007
  • Best New Group Of The Year - Radio Music Awards 2007
  • Best Independent Video Of The Year - MMVA's 2011
  • Number 1 Song Award - SOCAN 2011

NOMINATIONS:

  • Best Independent Video - MMVA's 2006
  • Favourite New Artist - Casby Music Awards 2006
  • Favourite New Single - Casby Music Awards 2006
  • Favourite New Release - Casby Music Awards 2006
  • New Artist Of The Year - JUNO Awards 2007
  • Best Independent Video - MMVA's 2008
  • Favourite New Single - Casby Music Awards 2008
  • Favourite New Release - Casby Music Awards 2008
  • Best Cinematography - MMVA's 2011
  • Best Director - MMVA's 2011
  • Favourite Video Of The Year - Indie Music Awards 2012
  • Collaboration Of The Year - Indie Music Awards 2013

CERTIFICATIONS:

SINGLES:

  • The Grace Ft. City & Colour by Neverending White Lights Certified Gold Single (Canada) - Producer/Writer/Performer

ALBUMS:

  • Sometimes by City & Colour Certified Platinum (Canada) - Engineer
  • The Beautiful Letdown by Switchfoot Certified 2X Platinum (US) - Songwriter

Other work[edit]

Victor has produced and recorded albums for other artists as well, including the City And Colour album "Sometimes" (Platinum Sales In Canada), and keyboard parts on the Ours album "Mercy" (produced by Rick Rubin).

In 2010 Victor lent guest vocals to the single "This Time" from the JDiggz Mixtape, "The Xperiment." This video reached # 1 on the Much Music Countdown and, garnered 4 video nominations, and won the Much Music Video Award for Best Independent Video Of The Year (2011).

On October 30, 2012 Victor released his long-awaited side project called Black Ribbons. This full length 12 song album titled "Neromancer" was written and recorded in 2008 focuses heavily on synth-pop and noir 80's influences like; Pet Shop Boys, The Cure, David Bowie, Depeche Mode, and New Order among others. It will see a physical release in Canada in 2013, followed by a tour.

In November 2012 Victor collaborated with Juno-nominated Canadian Rapper D-Sisive on "Don't Turn The Lights Out". The track featured a stunning video shot in the desert which charted on Much Music's Countdown (Canada) in 2013.

In 2013 Victor began work on an ongoing solo album/project under the moniker Hollow Eyes.

Victor also produced and recorded the debut album for Vancouver artist Bed of Stars which was released June 11, 2013. The artist, Evan Konrad, was signed to Victor's label (Ocean Records Canada) a few years prior.

Discography[edit]

  • 2005: Act 1: Goodbye Friends of the Heavenly Bodies
  • 2007: Act 2: The Blood and the Life Eternal
  • 2011: Act 3: Love Will Ruin
  • 2012: Black Ribbons: Neuromancer

References[edit]

  1. ^ True, Chris. "Biography: Neverending White Lights". Allmusic. Retrieved 5 May 2010. 

See also[edit]