Class of ‘14 alumnus Daniel Pimentel talks album making in Honduras

“Fear and Trembling” is a relic of deep Old Testament theology and Pimentel’s long-time passion for music.

Emily Coffey, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Daniel Pimentel graduated in 2014 with a degree in cinema and media arts with a focus on production. The next eight years of his life would be split between being a youth pastor in Salt Lake City, Utah then moving to Honduras, doing volunteer work and audio and video production for a bilingual school. To add to the list of unexpected life events, he was able to record and release his first solo, full-length album, “Fear and Trembling” while living in a developing nation. 

SONGWRITING & STORY 

Pimentel began his songwriting journey at a young age, but it was not until his junior year of college that he began to take it seriously as something he could actually share with others.

 “I’ve always been a writer,” Pimentel said. “I really love writing, and that led me to pursue a degree in film. I want to say junior year of Biola, I started shifting back toward music.

I realized music was the thing that made me feel most alive in this world.

He continued this passion in his senior thesis, which was four music videos shot for songs he wrote. But, after graduation, his music career suddenly stopped when he began leading a youth group full time at a church in Salt Lake City. 

After serving in church leadership, Pimentel decided to travel to Honduras on a short-term mission trip, which led him to living there full-time. Although he started writing “Fear and Trembling,” he did not believe he would have the resources to record until he moved back to the United States. 

“I got connected with somebody at church here who has a studio in his house, which was a huge blessing, just totally God, opening the door for this record to be made,” Pimentel said.

He recorded every instrument on the album save the drums, which were done by another member of the church. He also wrote all of the songs himself, fleshing out the concepts alone. In all, the piece took three years to make. 

MEANING AND PURPOSE 

Pimentel explained that the album was mainly inspired by the book “Fear and Trembling” by Søren Kierkgaard. This book is a defense of Abraham’s decision to sacrifice his child for God. But the main concept of the album lies in the title track, intentionally placed in the center to emulate the chiastic structure of many Old Testament books.  

“To be able to love someone, the way that we’re supposed to requires us to go on this journey so far outside of ourselves and actually die,” Pimentel said. “Which is so wild [compared] to what we put in our culture as love, which is a very feeling-based type of love. That’s what I’d say [is] the crux of the album, everything points to it.” 

It carries heavy themes of Old Testament theology, while also voicing a theological statement and expression about how Pimentel views biblical love—between us and God or us and others. Specifically, the title track is about romantic love. However, he also mentioned that it potentially applies to any kind of love—and that is what lies at the center of Old Testament theology. 

WHAT LIES AHEAD 

Pimentel is hoping to play live shows again, as he only played small house shows before the pandemic. More than that, he would like to move back to the U.S. Pimentel having recently married a woman from Honduras, the transition back to the U.S. presents some difficulties legally. 

No matter what, listeners can expect to hear more from Pimentel in the future. 

I don’t think I can go through life without writing music,” Pimentel said. “And then whenever I write something, I always compile it and I want to share it with people.”

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