Interview: Dan Mangan

Dan Mangan im Interview: „I’m feeling really good with my music at the moment.“

Dan Mangan im Interview - Fotocredit: Vanessa Heins

Dan Mangan im Interview – Fotocredit: Vanessa Heins

Wir haben Dan Mangan für Euch exklusiv im Interview hier beim Soundkartell.

Am 02. November erscheint mit „More Or Less“ das neue Studioalbum des kanadischen Songwriters Dan Mangan. Im Zuge des Release und der Themen, die er dort verarbeitet, habe ich dem Kanadier einige Fragen via Mail geschickt. Er hat brav geantwortet und hier gibt es nun alle Antworten in voller Länge und ungekürzt von ihm.

In your opinion, how do you overcome your greatest fear? How are you still fighting against this fear?

Dan Mangan: You have to find humour in it, I think. It helps. Humour is a dose of humility. Allows us to be reminded that we’re not all that important so we can stop seeking evidence everywhere that we might be. One of my greatest fears is not being present enough with my kids – that I’m too focused on my work, etc. – I don’t want to look back and feel disconnected to these years when they’re young. Another fear is that America will decide that it can go to war with every country that doesn’t want to give them all their water and natural resources, including the countries that have typically been allies.

I’m very impressed about your use of Instagram usage in the last couple of months. Who is Dan Mangan on Instagram?

Dan Mangan: I’m finding that I’m more political on Twitter because it’s more moment to moment, and about current affairs. Facebook has gotten so restrictive in its un-paid reach that it seems to be only suitable for broadcasting what’s happening with my album and tours. Instagram is a bit more fun. I still use it to promote my new songs etc but I can be a bit more silly on that platform. I think the trick with social media is just to be as authentic as is possible within the medium. The various channels can take on different elements of your personality but they all have to be a real representation of who you are. People can smell bullshit.

In which way this changed your usage of accepting your music and your existence as a musician?

Dan Mangan: One thing I’m really proud of with „More or Less“ is that it doesn’t reach for something it can’t hit. I think I’ve had really great moments on most of my recorded work, but there was always a moment here or there that bugged me – aimed for epic but didn’t quite land where I wanted it. This album feels self-assured. A lot of that has to do with Drew Brown’s vision for subtlety and minimalism – to let things breathe. I used to waste a lot of time wondering if I was cool. I have accepted that I’m not really part of the most fashionable part of the music industry, and it’s totally okay. I’m not young, and I’m not new, and I’m more comfortable in my skin than I’ve been in my whole life. It’s taken a lot of work to get here. I’ve scraped the bottom many times in my own existential quagmire of self-doubt, but I’m feeling really good with my music at the moment.

What is your opinion: How fast does your music spread in social media?

Dan Mangan: I’ve been blown away by the quality of the response to the new music. I’ve received some incredible messages about how people have connected with the songs. I feel more connected to my audience than ever before, for sure. That said, of course, I’d be happy to see the size of the reach expand. I’ve never had anything properly go “viral” in the sense of how every record label hopes things do. I’ve always lived in a niche part of the music world, and I’d love to have a song that the world knew.

You’ve arranged a private listening session of your new album “More Or Less”. What expectations did you have?

Dan Mangan: I was just bursting at the seams to share the album and that was a ploy to vent some of that excitement. Also, it was a nice way to do something special for the folks in Vancouver who have been supporting me for a long time. I must say, it was a cathartic experience and a very supporting environment to showcase new work.

Dan Mangan im Interview - Fotocredit: Vanessa Heins

Dan Mangan im Interview – Fotocredit: Vanessa Heins

You’ve recorded 10 new tracks on your album. Which is the track the most surprised by the title?

Dan Mangan: Lynchpin is a funny word. It looks weird because the word “lynch” is not very attractive aesthetically (not to mention connotative to a despicable element of humanity’s shittiness). But the analogy of a lynchpin is one that I think about a lot. It keeps a grenade from exploding. That we have these beliefs in concepts that help us simplify the world – religion, science, love, art, patriotism, loyalty, etc – they help us find value in an existence. But when something comes along that questions the validity of these concepts, we feel the need to defend them because if we question the foundations, we have to question everything else that’s built upon them.

And which is the track the most surprised by the songwriting and melody?

Dan Mangan: My favourite song on the album might be Peaks & Valleys, and it’s largely because nobody could have predicted how the recording turned out. The demo is VERY different. The whole process was filled with discovery – rather than chasing an idea, just letting it unfold. That was exciting.

Since your last record “Unmake” and your collaboration with Blacksmith your songwriting got bigger and bigger. And now it seems that you will take a shortcut in your songwriting a little bit compared what happened in the past…

Dan Mangan: I’m not sure I understand the question, but I think that the songs now are harkening somewhat to my earlier work, but with more modernity and maturity. They’re more direct and less chaotic than Club Meds, but still somewhat untypical in execution. This album feels like my most accessible and my most experimental at the same time.

In which way you can say Dan Mangan is now “the Dan Mangan” you wished to be about 8 year ago since you’ve released your debutalbum?

Dan Mangan: I think back then I just wanted to be a part of music. I wanted access to the party. These days I think I have a more focused angle on songwriting. I used to think “I want to write a song, but I have to figure out what it’s about”. Now songs tend to come from a concept or idea first – and then translated into words and melodies. My life is VERY different than back then, mostly in that I’ve got a family now. A lot has changed.

Does it make a difference emotionally if you perform a song in the audience in your hometown in Canada or if you perform a song in Germany?

Dan Mangan: There are certain songs that became popular in Canada early on, and those songs tend to be more precious to the audiences in Canada – they want to hear the earlier stuff. It’s like the song creates a nostalgic link to an earlier performance of it. I think when I’m travelling abroad, because a lot of people are just hearing me recently, there’s less pressure to play the older songs. It just blows my mind that anybody cares about what I’m doing, and so mostly I’m just grateful for the opportunity to have people to play to.


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07.11. DE-Berlin, Festsaal Kreuzberg ^
08.11. DE-Hamburg, Mojo ^
10.11. DE-Weissenhaeuser Strand, Rolling Stone Weekender
11.11. DE-Köln, Gebäude 9 ^
12.11. BE-Brüssel, Botanique Rotonde ^
13.11. UK-London, Queen Elizabeth Hall at Southbank ^
15.11. NL-Amsterdam, Paradiso Noord ^
16.11. FR-Paris, Petit Bain ^
17.11. DE-Rust, Europa Park – Rolling Stone Park Festival
20.11. CH-Zürich, Bogen F ^
22.11. AT-Wien, Blue Bird Festival – Porgy And Bess
23.11. AT-Dornbirn, Conrad Sohm ^
24.11. CZ-Prague, Meet Factory

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