British singer Dan Black dances to the beat of his own drum. Recently when a white party hosted by EnV needed a singer they naturally thought of Black. Benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Dan the man sported a partly white ensemble and even took time out for a brief interview.
You have performed so many places in Chicago from Lollapalooza to the Lasalle Power Company.
That was an amazing crowd. So far Chicago has been great. I hope tonight doesn’t prove me wrong.
This is more of a party.
I did walk around and noticed this might be hard work but we shall see.
So where did you grow up?
I grew up in a little village in the country about an hour from London. I lived in London when I was teenager. I left five years ago and now I live in Paris.
Do you speak French?
A little, it’s tough.
Are they nice to you there?
Yes, they are… well, not always. The things that I feel difficult about the French, particularly Parisian, I really quite like. I like them colder and to leave you alone.
They are not nosy then.
They are not nosy. One of the failings they don’t have is being nosy.
Your live shows are very 80’s influenced.
Sure. I grew up in the 80’s. I like groups like The Smiths and New Order.
How did you wind up working with Kid Cudi?
It was really random and fast. A friend of a friend played him some of my album. I had put it out in the UK and it was not out here yet. After he heard it then he hit me up. He particularly liked “Symphonies” and wanted to do something on it. Two days later he e-mailed me back and had done his vocals.
Is there someone you would like to work with but haven’t?
Yes, loads of people. I am in the middle of doing my next album and I am sort of in the process of reaching out to quite a few people. I shouldn’t really say anything in case they say no. So all the people I want to work with I am trying to work with now. The answer to that question will appear on my next record.
Will the new record be similar to the last one or are you going for something completely different?
Yes and no. It is funny. When I started I wanted to do something radically different. When you make a song it is quite an incremental process. It is not like you can go there is the song and that’s it. It is like walking up a mountain. There are lots of little steps and I have to concentrate on the thing in front of me. When you look up sometimes you end up with not something you were aiming for. I want to reject a lot of things I was doing on the album but there are things I do that are unavoidable. It is different but if you liked my first record then there are things that I can’t avoid doing.
It is a process.
Yes, it’s a process exactly.
Do you record at home?
I made my first record at home but with the few pennies that I made with that one I now have studio space. It is very intimate though in Paris.
How do you feel about the music business in general?
That is quite a big question. It is where I work. Like most industries it is filled with lovely and also odious people. This is quite a game shifting period and it has been for quite a while. I have been making music in different forms since the late nineties. People have always said to me, “This is a really weird time now.” It has been a weird time for almost fifteen years. The scale and the way I work I like the uncertainty of it and the fact that you have to keep changing how you work. You have to find new ways to get money out of making music. I find that really fascinating. I am not just a singer. I find producing, singing and marketing things quite interesting. It is a lot of work. I don’t have time free.
You are always traveling.
I am and it is not great for friends and relationships.
Did you study music in school?
No, I studied art. I quit to do music. I am totally self-taught.
Yes, and fine art.
You could combine it all together.
I have involved my artwork to some extent with it.
When will the new album be out?
Good question. I keep giving people different dates. I don’t want to give a promise I can’t keep but I would like to get new music out this year.
Find out the date first at http://www.danblacksound.com.