Formed in late 2008, “The Desert Lust” has always been a project that has teetered precariously between the progressive and the nostalgic. One foot wears a shiny loafer, while the other wears a dusty, travel-worn biker boot. This is due to the fact that the project’s brainchild, Daniel Waszay, has lived his life in exactly the same way. Even with both eyes on the road, he still pays heed to what he sees in the rearview mirror.
Classically trained in piano from the age of five and moving to violin by the age of nine, Dan was never someone who could fully conform to the rigid structure of musical theory. And so, at the age of twelve, when his mother purchased him his first guitar from a flea market, the musical paths he began to travel were wild, unmarked and untouched. Grabbing early influences from downtrodden blues riffing, eclectic world music, ebm, industrial rock and old school punk, Waszay’s music was always destined to be chaotic and unique.
Depeche Mode is an overwhelming influence in his sound, specifically drawing from the band’s darker roots (i.e. Songs of Faith and Devotion), and has hugely governed the overall structure of its “beautifully tragic” mentality. Building upon that foundation, traces of Nick Cave, Tom Waits and Urge Overkill can also be heard in both chord progression and vocal styling. Top this melancholy concoction off with a smattering of Shoegaze revivalism and good,ol’ fashioned rock, Waszay has created a complicated monster, but one with a soul as beautiful as a wilting desert flower.
When asked why he made the music he makes, he simply stated, “I want to leave something behind for people to hear when I die. I want them to remember me by what I created.”
After years of substance abuse and emotional turmoil, particularly the untimely death of his mother, the uncompromising and raw sound of early “Desert Lust” (a project title that has now been changed to just his name) hits home that much more for the listener, and makes sense of an otherwise intellectually intimidating and introspective wall of sound. Understanding what the singer/songwriter has been through, you find yourself standing side-by-side with Mr. Waszay, staring out of the same smudged motel window, silently looking towards the same endless horizon, watching the same pinkish-purple dusk sink into darkness. And while you may be sad, you are comforted by the fact that he is right there with you, showing you that there are other people out there who feel the same pain that you do.
And as the ultra-bright light from the neon sign in the parking lot finds its way to your face, where the warmth of the sun resided only moments before, he picks up his guitar, looks to you, and smiles a sad smile.
Written by - Doug Borghese