Dan Black Interview
The future solo star with the chequered past fills us in....
33 year old Dan Black grew up in Buckinghamshire and London but has been living Paris for over two years.
After a stint in indie band The Servant hes gone solo and taken on a quirky, funky sound. We talked to Dan about his influences, single Yours and the unusual reason he first picked up a guitar
MTV: How long you been in the music game?
DAN: Pretty much since I can remember, When I was 5 I got given a keyboard. I didnt start properly until I was about 15.
A good friend of mine liked a girl in my village so we needed an excuse to go round to her house. We asked to borrow a guitar and it only had one string. So I started playing riffs on it and singing over the top!
What music has influenced you?
I have really broad taste in music. Im really massively into Prince and that led me to hip hop. Nowadays I listen to a lot of cutting edge hip hop and RnB production. Also things that are distinctive like Sigur Ros and Bjork. Music that has a strong identity.
Havent you been in a few bands before?
I am a man with many skeletons in my closet. I almost have a cemetery! I was in The Servant and I did some dance stuff in Italy called Planet Funk.
Why did you go solo?
I was in the band and when it started it wasnt a million miles from what Im doing now. But it became a 'classic' indie guitar band. I got bored of band politics and being on a bus with the same people!
How do you make your music now?
Its very much made with me and a computer. It's hip hop/ dance production and very melodic. It has a strong pop thing.
Tell us about the single 'Yours?'
I wrote it about a year ago when I left the band and sat down and wrote a load of songs. It was one of the first ones I did. Its a bit like N.E.R.D meets Thom Yorke. Its about passive-aggressive games people play in a relationship or in the band.
Whats the video all about?
Its directed by Chic & Artistic who are Paris based. Its me and the guys I play live with suspended by elastic. It was inspired by Missy and Busta videos but obviously made for about 50p.
Does living in Paris influence your music?
There wont be any accordion or croissant based songs on the album! But I can concentrate more here whereas in London you feel like a tiny fish in a vast ocean. Paris is cheaper too so I can live in the centre of the city and you are not a poncy w*nker if you try to do something creative.
Any ideas what the next single will be?
I think it will be 'Alone' which is my attempt at a Kitsune or Ed Banger track. But meets Sigur Ros with 80s Prince drums.
Is the album finished? Does it have a name?
It has a working title of Un. Im in the middle of recording the album now so fingers crossed Ill get it done! Im delivering it (to the label) in mid-Feb and theres a tour starting after that. Im spending far too long in a windowless cellar, recording.
Is it daunting being on lists like the Spanking New one?
It is motivating that people want to see what I can do and I feel a lot of pressure but most of its coming from myself. Ive been given this opportunity so I dont want to f*ck it up!