INTERVIEW: Dan Croll, on Tour
Dan Croll came to a 2,000 strong audience at Heaven in London this week, and we were lucky enough to catch up with him ahead of his show!
I’m here with Dan Croll backstage at his Heaven gig, and the crowd is starting to come in! How are you feeling?
Good, I’m excited to play!
And this is your fourth night on the tour?
Yeah we’ve done Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, and this is number 4. Just a little UK run, after this we’ve got Birmingham, Bristol, and Brighton for The Great Escape.
Any international tours coming up? As I know you’ve spent quite a lot of time out in America…
Yeah we just try and pop back as much as possible, we’ve got a tour we’re about to announce in September, so just trying to keep busy!
I just went to New York for a few months so I was curious what you thought about the American scene vs the scene over here?
It’s very different but it’s amazing! I love it all going back and forth between those two very different countries.
For me I found the UK music industry more exciting than other places I’ve been because of BBC Radio, I couldn’t really find that hub for emerging artists anywhere else, but as an artist would you agree?
I think I get really excited by the American radio industry. I think here University radio is looked down on, which is a shame because it’s really good for promoting local music, but in America college radio is the biggest thing. It’s so huge over there, so I think it’s nice to go in between.
And your music is quite an interest mixture of ambient, folk, pop, synths, and you’ve got loads of different things put together, but you have this fusion in quite a sophisticated matter which is quite a skill so where did that come from?
I was brought up on folk, I’d say James Taylor, Paul Simon, stuff like that but also maybe Michael Jackson, ABBA..
So is ABBA is where the synths come from?
Maybe so yeah! But I think a lot of it also has to do with equipment I own, because when I started out, the only thing I owned was acoustic guitar so I could only really make music that was based around an acoustic guitar, but as the years have gone by I’ve collected more instruments and naturally have progressed to more electronic instruments, synthesizers, and stuff like that, so I think the music has gone with that.
Would you say the electronic stuff also came by what was around you? Because there’s so much, there’s a new wave of electronic music that’s just come up in the last couple of years.
Definitely that, and it was definitely before I went to University as well where I was born in Stoke, and there wasn’t any kind of electronic music scene, it was more pub folkey stuff, so that’s all I knew, whereas when I came to uni, I was in a class of 24 people from around the world who had completely different influences and tastes from me, and they shared that with me, and from that I’ve kind of learnt to love all of these different genres, and they had a big impact on that.
Do you still collaborate with people you went to uni with?
Yeah we’re still part of a really great scene, the Spring King guys are doing really well, Circa Waves, All We Are, Stealing Sheep, that’s Liverpool’s music scene, really good at the moment.
And you’ve been with Communion for five years now right?
Well actually I’ve just signed back to Communion. Communion released my first ever piece of music, probably around 2009 or 10, and that was their first ever release, they were just a live company, and so they put me on in London when I came down, and then they put me on a compilation which was a huge thing for me as a starting out artist, and it was a huge help to me, I was on the split 12 inch with Michael Kiwanuka, Ben Howard, and loads of great artists who went on to do massive things in that year or two.
And since you were just an acoustic guitarist at that time, it must have been pretty exciting to join that line-up!
It was perfect! Because they weren’t properly a label, they weren’t big enough for what I wanted at that time, and so I ended up signing with Decca, who I did my first album with, then came away from Decca, and in that space of time Communion had grown so much, and it’s still the same guys running it as well, an amazing team! Actually the people who introduced me to Communion were The Staves, at the time they were such a huge influence to me as a solo artist, acoustic, and they were such a huge influence to me in terms of harmony, which was a massive thing for me, as I’d always been a solo artist on my own and I hadn’t really heard harmonies before.
So are you a major artist or an indie artist right now? I thought you were kind of in between but was wondering what you thought!
Well, the first album was with a major label, so that was quite a major release, and Communion, as indie as they are, I’d say they’re still a part of that major system, so that’s what I am yeah kind of in between! A pop artist, I make commercial pop music, and I really enjoy that, but at the same time I want to do it from a left field angle, so a slight alternative angle to pop.
And I always ask artists I interview to nominate another emerging artist they feel deserve a bit of extra bonus recognition to feature, if you have anyone in mind?
Liverpool has a lot of great artists, and my band member Andy on keys has a project under the name Dialect. And my bass and drum player they play in a band called Real Terms, who are a bit more kind of laid back intricate rock.
Well I’ll definitely check them all out, and have a great headline show!
Dan took the crowd away at Heaven with his hits for his dedicated fans, including an opening on songs from his first 2014 album ‘Compliment Your Soul’ and ‘Home’, along with previews of tunes from his upcoming album ‘Swim’, ‘One of Us’, and anticipated new single ‘Bad Boy.’ Openers Matt Maeson and Chelou added to the musical talent on stage making for an overall brilliant night from start to finish. Make sure you keep an eye out for Dan’s upcoming release with Communion ‘Emerging Adulthood’!