Dan Croll ist einer dieser ganz speziellen Künstler, die immer wieder überraschen, zwischen den Genre Haken schlagen und auf diese Weise ihre ganz spezielle Version von Pop-Musik entwickeln. Schon beim Debütalbum gefeiert, nahm er eine längere Auszeit um sich auf das Schreiben von neuen Songs konzentrieren zu können, die letztlich länger dauerte als gedacht. Darüber, über sein neues Album Emerging Adulthood, das am 21. Juli erscheint, und vieles mehr haben wir mit ihm im Interview gesprochen!
When you were 18 you moved to Liverpool to study at Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts – how did you feel about moving that young away from your parents and friends and when did you decide that you wanted to become a professional musician?
I decided to become a musician a year before moving away, it was quite last minute to be honest, I was really in to sports and had my sights set on becoming a rugby player but that ended quite abruptly with a broken leg so I made the jump to music.
I felt pretty good to be honest, I think every teenager looks forward to the day they ‘fly the nest‘ and try to become idependent!
You are often described as sound and musician nerd, who doesn’t like one genre but likes to experiment – which idols do you have in that manner and which influences to your sound?
Yeah I love all genres (apart from ska and electro swing) so I try and incorporate as many as possible in to my music. In terms of idols, I love people like a tribe called quest, j dilla, de la soul from the hip hop/sampling side of things. I love metal too, bands like meshuggah inspire me, not in terms of direct sound but more in terms of rhythms and groove. Then the electronic side of things comes from people like john baker, Raymond scott, tame impala, sylvan esso and many more.
It’s now been some time since the release of your debut record and in 2014 you were cancelling your European tour for recording sessions – so what took you so long and what did you do in the meantime?
It has been a long time, frustratingly so, but unfortunately or perhaps fortunately I was dropped from my label and management. At the time it hit me pretty hard so I had to take some time away from things for my personal mental health. But im incredibly excited with what is coming album and tour wise so I‘m determined to make up for lost time!
With award wins and some hype about your debut – did you feel much pressure for the followup record and what was your aim when you started to work on it?
I did and I didn’t, on one hand I wanted to better what I had previously done, but on the other hand I had a clear vision of how I wanted to approach the second album which gave me some comfort. The aim was to write it on my own from scratch within a 6 month period, record it in two months outside of the UK, and to play all of the instruments on the album. Proud to have achieved all of those things.
Could you tell us a bit about the production process of Emerging Adulthood? How and with who was it done, what was the best, what the worst moment during production and whats the most told anecdote from that time?
I had already gotten started on the production process in Liverpool when I was writing, then I took it to Ben over in Atlanta to replace a few bits and put some finishing touches on it. In terms of a bad moment, the only one I can think of is recording the drums in a room with no air con, which in Atlanta is ridiculous, It was like drumming in a sauna for three days solid.
Ben H. Allen did produce the record – how did you meet, how did he influence the record and could you describe how he is working?
Ben came highly recommended from a friend, mainly because they thought he was very similar to me. I‘m quite skatty and unpredictable in the studio, throwing around a lot of ideas and jumping from idea to idea.Ben had what I wanted, on one hand he had produced pop acts like cee lo green and kelis, and on the other hand he had done alternative acts like deerhunter and animal collective. It was that balance and collaboration that I really wanted, trying to find that middle balance.
For us the song Swim kind of stood out of the record as our favorite. How was it done, is there a story behind it and when did you come up with it?
The song was about how at times we can all be our worst enemy, and given a bit too much time can over think certain situations. For me this was surrounding a relationship and questioning the faithfulness around it, even though there was nothing to worry about I found myself with too much time to overthink it.
If you compare both records, how would you describe the differences and the development of your songwriting on both records you’ve done?
The first album was more of a mixtape to me, songs that were written right before and some that were 3 or 4 years old, so it really varied in terms of songwriting style. This new album is far more immediate, I think because of the more ‘professional‘ process it is a lot harder hitting. I had a clear idea of topics and wanted to just get straight in to them, so it really punches.
In your bio is a quote from you that you want to be pop, but not mainstream – how do you mean that, what do you dislike about mainstream music and what is good pop for you?
I want to be pop/commercial, I want support from radio and TV, and I want my music to reach as many people as possible, BUT I want it to come from a more alternative and organic angle than what is currently out there. I dislike this conveyor belt approach to pop, lots of ghost/hit writers in a room selling formulated songs to pop artists to front.
What are your next plans?
Promote, Celebrate, and Tour
What did you learn in 2016?
I learnt that I was excited for it to end, and begin a fresh chapter in 2017.
Which song makes you dance makes you dance every time?
Friendly fires – Paris (aeroplane remix)
How would your Bedroomdisco look like?
It would be on top of a lot of dirty laundry