Cultural Vultures is the professional name of singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist producer Danny Schneider. A lifelong musician, Danny debuted the project in 2016 with the 10-track album Dhalgren. That record introduced a multi talented artist from Kentucky with a timeless sound that finds influence in americana, alternative and classic rock.
Since that debut, Cultural Vultures have released three studio albums, including 2017’s Zero History and last year’s Avarice. Along the way he has connected with hundreds of thousands of fans around the globe with tracks like “Surreal Sister,” “Catch Hell for Comfort” and “Mechanical Savior.”
Danny makes music that is deeply personal yet at the same time cinematic and larger than life. Lyrically he uses visual and often cryptic poetry to tell tales of souls both lost and found. On Cultural Vulture tracks like Avarice‘s “The Greater Fool” and “All or Nothing” he spins personal memory and social commentary into a single visceral narrative.
Musically, the Cultural Vultures sound draws influences from a broad range of artists and styles. Schneider’s penchant for multipart harmonies and orchestral string arrangements draw easy comparisons to the likes of Beach Boys and The Beatles. His natural singing voice too bares more than a passing resemblance to that of John Lennon. And like Mr. Ono, on tracks like Zero History’s “Love Contradict” and “Stay,” Danny has a knack for highlighting both the yin and yang of life and love.
I’m just trying to write and release music that stands the test of time.Danny Schneider (Cultural Vultures)
Woven throughout that blend of pop, rock and classical music runs a thread of traditional folk and country that gives the Cultural Vultures music a distinctly American vibe. Though he’s not afraid to introduce a bit of electronics on tracks like “Moon Without a Face” and “Wet Heat,” Schneider’s music is almost entirely organic. His strings are real, his drummers have a pulse and the landscapes of his records are painted by the harmonics of ringing guitar strings.
Check out the “Catch Hell For Comfort” video below. Listen to Cultural Vultures’ Avarice your favorite streaming service. You can also hear the song “Mechanical Savior” on the Deep Indie Dive playlist. Recently the group was the first act signed to the new independent SoundMojo record label. We had the chance to chat with Danny Schneider about the past, present and future of the project. Check out his answers to our 8 questions. And follow the links at the end of this article to connect with the Cultural Vultures. Get on his socials, dig into his excellent back catalog and stay in the loop on all of the music to come.
8 Questions With Cultural Vultures’ Danny Schneider
Where are you from?
I am from Kentucky, right outside of Cincinnati Ohio. Although I’ve traveled all over the world which helped shape my viewpoints on people and the world we share.
How long have you been making music?
I’ve been writing and recording music since 2013. I’ve played guitar pretty much all of my life and it’s been the one consistent part of my life when everything around me changes. I would say music is the only thing that can connect me to a deeper part of myself that I can’t get to otherwise. Even when I write music I find myself in a trance and something else enters the room and connects with my deeper self.
Who are the musicians involved?
I work with my producer Ric Hordinski in Cincinnati Ohio. The strings are all written out beforehand and we have several people come on board from the Cincinnati Symphony to play the violin and Cello parts. I play the guitar parts along with Ric also. I’ve worked with Byron House on my albums as well who is Robert Plant’s bassist. I try to surround myself with musicians that are better than myself because it pushes me to be a better musician.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
This is a tough one as music has been such a huge part of my life. I grew up on my dad’s collection of music when I was in grammar school. Listening to his record collection which consisted of the Ventures, Jan and Dean, The Beach Boys etc. which was the precursor to classic rock.
In my middle school years I was listening to Pink Floyd, Zeppelin, the Doors, Hendrix, etc. That led me to more obscure acts like Captain Beefheart, the Velvet Underground etc. I made my way through the 80’s music listening to Beastie Boys, The Cure, Joy Division and Siouxsie & the Banshees, up through the grunge acts like Nirvana, Alice In Chains.
The 90’s I believe like the 60’s we had a great visitation of creative energy. There was so much that came out of the 90’s from Massive Attack, Tricky, Bjork to Nine Inch Nails and the Wax Trax era out of Chicago. I loved industrial music like Meat Beat Manifesto, Coil, Doubting Thomas etc. All of this and much more influenced me. I also love the old standards like Frank Sinatra, Gloria Lynn, Nina Simone. So I try to mix all of that into my own music.
What is your greatest non-musical influence?
I’ve done Martial arts my entire life, or since so was 5. I was in the junior Olympics when I was in sixth grade and took home a silver medal in both forms and free-fighting. That taught me discipline and how to react to life situations. How to navigate a sometimes unkind world with grace.
What inspired you to create this project?
Well it’s something I love, and I’d say that you need to do what you love. Most people who don’t believe in anything will just entertain themselves their entire lives. They haven’t found purpose. To me this is something I feel inside of my core. It’s part of who I am, so even though it’s a lot of work, I’m creating something that didn’t exist before.
What are your plans for the future, musically?
Well I’d like to do music full time. Tour the world and make a living doing something so love to do. I’d like the music to pay for itself so I can keep releasing albums and connect with people around the world.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Thank you to the people who appreciate what I’m trying to do. Thank you for listening to my words and my music