Interview – Danny Surico of Hiber

Spring has been a busy season with allergies taking over and the thrill of the breeze flowing through the open windows. Alongside the welcomed warmth and color, music has been in full force as well. Chicagoans, Hiber, is one such musical group that are pleasing the ears of many with their eclectic sounds. Their name seems worthwhile theme after many souls are finally coming out of hibernation to enjoy the missed sunshine. With a new EP, ‘What You Wanted’ being released on May 20th, songwriter Danny Surico, of Hiber and The Future Laureates, gave a glimpse into this new endeavor.

Music entered his life in an unusual way. “While I didn’t realize it at the time, a big driver for me was fear. Specifically, fear of losing momentum and a sense of my purpose if I didn’t keep creating. As the project evolved, it became more of a challenge to myself to see if I could start something new and apply the wisdom I’d learned over the past seven years to speed up the process.”

With a wide breadth of work already under his belt, he mentioned some of his favorites. “I’m really proud of The Future Laureates’ song Sinners and Saints. Hiber has a new song called Safety Net that I’m particularly proud of. I think it takes some of the concepts we started to hone in on our song from the EP, Slow Down, and expand upon them a bit.”

Performance-wise, ambitions run high for Mr. Surico. “I would love to go on tour and open for a national act for a string of regional shows. If I had my dream band to open for on tour, it’d be Guster, just because I’ve grown up admiring their music and songwriting for so long. I think to have that experience as an opening band to play and warm up the crowds for a larger act … That would be an opportunity I would really embrace. If we ever were to perform on a late night talk show, that would also be incredibly cool.”

While expanding his showcasing skills, he noted some hard moments. “I think my most difficult performances have been when I’ve performed solo. It’s the most naked I’ve ever felt as a performer and pressure is magnified because there’s no other music or musicians to lean on and hide behind. Perhaps not coincidentally, these performances have been some of the most rewarding.” It seems like a constant evolution.

In the music scene, Danny gave two viewpoints on its progress. “I think as a fan of music, there’s no better time to live in than the world of today. With all the different types of music you can have access to by streaming, it’s a pretty great set up as a consumer of music because you can basically hear anything anytime you want. As a musician, I think it’s significantly more challenging. I know a lot of very talented musicians who work extremely hard and have very little financially to show for their music. There’s still this pyramid structure of artists at the very top who make exorbitant amounts of money and a lot, lot, lot of musicians toward the bottom of that pyramid. On the industry side, there are some good eggs and some bad eggs, and I think the ones that give the business a bad rap tend to be greedy and take advantage of the artists they employ. The ‘middle class’ of music is much smaller than it could or should be. The people I’ve seen who make their living in music tend to get into the production and writing side of music as well as performing. Now I might get some flack for this opinion, but the people I’ve observed who are happiest in music don’t do it for a living at all. They do it because there’s a real passion and love for art, but they make their living outside of music. What they have is a balance of creativity, good people in their lives and stability, and because of that, they are happy.”

Music may not be his only medium of choice, but it has a primary foothold at the moment. “… I think about this every single day. I believe it will happen when the timing is right. I’m not trying to force it at this time. I would love to write for and with other artists. Whether that be featuring them on Hiber’s music or writing music for other artists altogether. I know so many vocalists and instrumentalists who I admire, and I write songs sometimes where I think ‘her voice would sound awesome on this song’ or ‘I wonder what it would sound like if I asked him to play.’ It’d be a great privilege to work with other collaborators, but I am also intentional about who I want to collaborate with. I plan to create more opportunities for myself to write and create with new people.”

His respect for artists in the space is apparent. “It seems to me that any artists who make their living in music but also find a way to put an emphasis on family and loved ones inspire me. I see it being such a trade-off to do so much travelling in a band setting, so especially when I see touring bands where the members have successful marriages and have their own families, and they find a way to make that work with being on the road, that inspires me.”

The man always remains busy. “… It’s 9:30 PM and I’m about to go to bed. I have work at 8 AM tomorrow! It’s in the very early stages, but I am starting to get involved with a new project that involves collaborating with a select group of other songwriters and producers. That’s all I can say about it right now.”

Jam on.


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