An interview with Dan Croll (28/07/13)

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In his trademark, thick rimmed spectacles, I watch Dan Croll perform a session with Secret FM, the pop up radio station of the Secret Garden Party. Laid back and gentle as ever, he strums away at his guitar and all is well with the world. If you aren’t familiar with his music, it’s a blend of calm acoustic, soul-warming folk and vibrant world music, and there’s lots more of it on the horizon. In this interview with The Edge, Croll reveals details of his debut album and his next single, along with plans to tour the UK again before the end of the year.

Hi Dan Croll! How’re you?

Tired but good. Early drive at 7am from Liverpool. We played Kendal Calling last night and Switzerland the night before, so a lot of travelling. I’m ready to have a few days off, that’ll be good.

Have you managed to see any of Secret Garden Party yet?

We just quickly did a lap around the lake and once we got round one side we realised our good friends Farao were playing on the Where The Wild Things Are Stage where we’re playing tonight, so we ran round and checked them out. Then we walked back through the boutiques and shops and stuff. It’s cool.

You’re doing quite a few other gigs and festivals at the moment, how are they going?

Yeah really good! We’ve been at it for a couple of weekends now and they’ve all gone really, really well, and we’ve got plenty more coming up.

You sang about your hometown and family on ‘Home’, is it weird to be away from your home so much when you are touring?

Yeah it can be but it’s nice to be at a bit of a level where I can get a few extra tickets to get family to come, like my brother has come with us this weekend for all the shows and stuff so it lessens that homesickness. But it’s cool, they know I’m not messing about out there so it’s all good.

Have you had a chance to write any music whilst you’ve been on the road?

No, I haven’t, and I was chatting about this today. I’ve got a week off now and I’m just making it my aim to have a very productive week. But not to say I haven’t been inspired by the places I’ve been. Switzerland was incredibly beautiful so it’s definitely got me in the mood for songwriting. 

…And festival season has been in full swing for about two months now so have you been able to record anything?

I knew that I had to finish a lot of recording before we started the festivals so most of it is done now and mixes are coming back.

Does this mean there’s an album on the way?

There is yeah! It’s all being mixed at the moment and hopefully aiming for a first thing in the new year release, I think January time. Might be a good way to kick it all off in the new year. 

So have you thought of names for the album?

No we haven’t… we’ve been sharing a lot of them in the van but none of that yet. Artwork-wise my first single ‘From Nowhere’, an artist called Leif Podhajský came on board, and he’s done Tame Impala and Foals, and a lot of great bands so I’d like to get him back on board for the album. 

What kind of music can we expect, will it be similar to your EPs?

Uh, yeah! It’s going to jump around a lot, like I play around with different genres and influences so one track might be quite african and then suddenly you’re on the next track and it’s very electronic and R&B-esque, but for me it’s not like an album where there’s a theme. A lot of artists write these albums with consistent themes and threads and sometimes it makes it sound like every track is the same because of that, so I set out to go against that, in a way. These songs, it’s almost like a mixtape of my past two or three years so it’s all a bit different, but hopefully it’s got a bit of a charm about it.

You recently had to postpone your US tour, was that to do with recording the album?

Just really getting busy yeah, and we thought it was best suited for September. We’ve got Austin City Limits Festival and CMJ in New York in September so it seemed like a really good time to just put it all in that one big bundle, and we’ll be gone for a month and a bit.

So your album is being released at the beginning of next year but what else is in the pipeline for the rest of 2013?

Finish these festivals, go to America, and hopefully do a quick UK/Europe tour before Christmas. I’d like to get another single out before Christmas, maybe something a bit more mellow because I haven’t really done that yet. 

Have you got any particular track in mind for that?

I think ‘Home’ is a pretty strong candidate, so we’ll see what happens!

You can read The Edge’s review of Dan Croll’s set, here.

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