Dan had literally just walked off the 'Locally Grown' stage at Lemonfest when we pounced on him, he had an appointment with James Santer at the BBC Devon Introducing backstage area but we agreed to hook up afterwards. Here's how we got on.....
Hi Dan, I know a little bit about you but for the benefit of our readers, please would you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m 17 years old, I do music as mainly a hobby during my A-Levels, I write a lot of my own material and there’s an EP available on iTunes right now, (cue shameless plug) Like An Animal EP. I record all my music in my bedroom and experiment quite a lot with vocal harmonies and loops. I write mainly about things that happen to me and affect others around me
Is this your first year at Lemonfest?
I’ve never played here before, I came in 2013 but this is the first time that they invited me along to play
We saw you at Glas-Denbury in 2014 and you told me earlier that you’ll be playing there again this year, how is your set going to differ from last years?
I think you’ll see a lot more use of the loop pedal, I’ve become a lot braver with it in the last 12 months so plenty more of that and some more upbeat original material
I saw a guy called Sam Fearon from Totnes in Plymouth recently and he was using his loop pedal a lot for vocals and layering, how long have you had your pedal?
A couple of years now, it’s taken a while to get used to it but it’s all coming together now
Do you have any regular venues that you appear at locally?
Not at the moment, I’m focusing mainly on my studies at the moment and I aim to get some Summer work but later on this year, I’m going to be hitting the Open Mic nights pretty hard!
Where are you based?
I’m in Bovey Tracey so I’ll be looking to get around Torbay, Newton Abbot and all surrounding towns and villages!
You recently uploaded some new cover versions onto your Soundcloud page, I spotted a Joni Mitchell track alongside a Taylor Swift number, are these new tracks that you’ve been getting ready to roll out over the festival season?
Not particularly, they’re just songs I decided to play around with in my home studio, playing about with vocal harmonies and I like to put my own individual touches to them to make them a little different from the originals, that’s what I try and do
Who are your musical influences?
This is a tough one, it really depends on what I’m currently listening to, it can range from proper trashy pop such as Taylor Swift to Ed Sheeran, John Mayer, Coldplay, too many to name!
A good mix of classic songwriters and more modern artists then?
Yes, I’d say that they all fall around the singer songwriter genre.
Do you find that covering the more ‘trashy popstars’ attracts a certain age range at your shows?
I think it’s not so much about the artist but more about the actual song that draws me in so I tend not to bother thinking too much about that side of it.
Do you tend to write your own material or do you collaborate with others?
I mostly write on my own but I have written some material with my good frend Lydia (who was sat with us during the interview) but mostly it’s my own material.
I saw a cover version of Fairytale of New York that you did with Lydia on Soundcloud, very impressive!
Give me your top 3 festival survival tips?
Always bring loo roll or wet wipes, make the most of the weather (dress appropriately) and enjoy the music as you can easily get tied up with other things that occur at festivals and it’s a great chance to see some quality local talent so go and support them whilst you’re there!
Staying with music, who are you looking forward to seeing at Lemonfest this year?
I really enjoyed Matthew & Me, I’ve seen them before but they were one of the main acts that I wanted to catch here today, such a great band, really talented.
Which other festivals are you planning on playing this summer?
Glas-Denbury was great last year and I’m looking forward to playing that one again and a couple of local events in and around Bovey Tracey so far, that’s pretty much it for now but we’ll see if any others come along.
You’re doing your A-Levels at the moment, what are your plans for music going forward?
I have looked at a couple of universities but for now, I just want to make a name for myself locally on the scene and building on that.
What do you want to do when you finish your studies?
I hope to do music as my career, maybe a songwriter/performer, some avenue of the music industry would be amazing!
I checked out your ‘Lost at Sea’ EP recently on Soundcloud, you have a great playing style, how long did it take you to settle on it?
Hard to say as my style changes, more of my newer material is a lot more heavily produced whereas the Lost at Sea EP material was penned last summer (2014) and was written on the guitar whereas the newer stuff is liable to change as I record it, the older material is a lot more basic, more raw, more emotional.
Are you planning on releasing any new material soon? If so, when can we hear it?
I’m always writing, I’ve recently put 4 new tracks out on iTunes that have recently been released so they’ve kept me quite busy lately. I guess I’ll keep at it and any new material will be made available as and when I am happy with it.
Tell me a little bit more about your home studio
It consists of my Mac and a microphone and I work with Logic Studio on the Mac and use it to record my vocals, guitar and keyboards.
Have you ever been in a studio to record?
We did use a studio when we recorded the cover of ‘Fairytale of New York’, we recorded it at The Music Mill in Newton Abbot but that’s about it for now.
Are you looking to get back into a studio in the future?
It’s difficult as recording it yourself allows you to be a bit more of a perfectionist, if you’re not happy with a section, you can re-record it as many times as you like until you’re 100% happy with it, in a studio, you’re paying a lot of money and you may not be able to spend as long as you’d like on a recording so it’s a tough call. The plus side of a studio is the production levels, it’s always going to sound a lot better than the sound I can achieve in the bedroom, it’s a balancing act really!
Thanks very much for your time Dan, all the very best for you in the future and we’ll chat to you again at Glas-Denbury in July....
You can keep up to date with Dan by checking his social media pages, they're all listed below, just point and click!
Interview by Steve Muscutt