After more than two years of straight touring, Dan Mangan has been across the world and back. From the famous Glastonbury Festival to our own Woodford Festival, he hasn’t stopped. And with his recent release of his 11-track LP Oh Fortune there is no reason to stop. Having been nominated for the Polaris Award, an award which seeks out the best Canadian album of the year, and winning Artist of the Year from the Verge Music Awards which gave him a huge amount of publicity, Mangan has received much critical acclaim.
He is set to tour Australia in February in intimate venues across the country, playing from Byron Bay to Fremantle and everywhere in-between. I caught up with Dan and questioned him about everything from his new album, touring, to his opinion on fictional characters.
Music Feeds: Dan, so you’ve just released your wonderful LP Oh Fortune. What’s the reception been like on it? Anything that you wish you could change about it at all?
Dan Mangan: I think the reception has been pretty great. It’s been interesting – it’s a deeper record than Nice, Nice, Very Nice – in that it takes longer to really get to know, but I think it’s a more important record. I also feel less connected to what people think about it than I used to with other albums … I suppose I’m just more relaxed and confident about what all that hard work turned into. We’ve had an incredible year – all throughout Europe and North America. I’m excited to get back to Australia in February.
MF: You’ve been touring non-stop since May 2010; what effect has that had on your friends and family? Aside from your tour of Canada in October last year, you’ve been away from home that entire time, and were out here playing Woodford Folk Festival over the New Year break; surely that has some effect on your personal life.
DM: It’s a weird thing to try and live any kind of normal life when the parameters of it are anything but normal. We basically toured all last year and when we weren’t on the road, we were recording and working on other things. That being said, I’m getting married in 2012, which is exciting. I’ve got a little bit of time at home right now, which I really needed. It’s been amazing to reconnect with friends and family beyond the “hello / goodbye” between tours this year. Also, cooking for myself and taking some time to read has been really helpful. I’m starting to feel recharged and ready to write more music and get back on the road.
MF: If there was one artist you could collaborate with, who would it be?
DM: There are a lot of people I’d love to work with: M Ward; Bon Iver; Colin Stetson; Bry Webb; Radiohead. I’ve met some of these folks, but never had the chance to do any creative work, which would be lovely.
MF: What plans do you have for the future? Are you going to jump back into the studio, continue touring, or take a break for a while?
DM: Once we get down to Australia, we’re back on the road for most of 2012 … I don’t anticipate doing any serious recording in 2012, but we do have some B-side type stuff left over from Oh Fortune – so maybe we’ll release a 7 inch or something of the like.
MF: Seeing as you’ve played basically all over the world, what has been your favourite venue or place to play?
DM: We’ve been really lucky and played some amazing spots. It’s hard to pinpoint a favourite venue as gigs are dependent on so many other factors – the vibe, the crowd, etc. We’ve played some pretty triumphant shows here in our home town (Vancouver, Canada). This summer we got to close down a whole weekend of free music in Stanley Park with a fifteen-piece band and about 15,000 people. The mayor waived the noise curfew and ended up on stage shaking a tambourine – it got a little crazy.
MF: At what point in your life did you decide you wanted to become a musician? Did any specific event or anything influence this?
DM: I think I always kind of knew, but it got more real while I was in university. I started spending all my money on gear and recording, and went majorly in debt.
MF: Daily we have new artists emerging on a global scale; do you think the music scene on a worldwide basis is becoming too cluttered?
DM: I think it’s never been better. It’s more saturated than ever, but the internet lets the cream rise to the top. I don’t think music as a whole is better than other eras, but I do think that there’s MORE great music than ever, which is exciting.
MF: So a question that has torn apart friends, and brought enemies closer together: Gandalf or Dumbledore?
DM: Without Gandalf, there is no Dumbledore.
Dan Magan – 2012 Australian Tour
Tickets on Sale Now
Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
Notes, Newton, Sydney
The Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay
Black Bear Lounge, Brisbane
The Grace Emily, Adelaide
The Fly Trap, Fremantle
Listen: Dan Mangan – Rows of Houses