Saturday, 29 November 2014

DAN WHITEHOUSE

INTERVIEW

Touring for Wolverhampton singer/songwriter Dan Whitehouse has been a massive part of his life for the last few years and it has provided something of a musical evolution which has led to his latest album, Raw State, the tracks of which have been maturing over that period.

Dan Whitehouse
Whitehouse, originally from Compton in Wolverhampton, works from Birmingham city centre not just on his own projects but as a session musician and as a musical therapist using his skills to help vulnerable members of society find a voice.
On top of all this he has spent most of the last three years touring and building a steady reputation as a stand-out musician who takes his music very seriously.
“My song writing is always at the centre of my focus and that’s what I spend the most time on. It’s what makes me happy and is what drives me; keeps me in a positive mindset," said Whitehouse.
"Life is not worth living without music,” he states emphatically.
His latest album, which is out on Monday December 1, is officially launched at the Glee Club, Birmingham on December 7 although it is not new in the ordinary sense. 
There is only one "fresh" track on it but is has, according Whitehouse, evolved as a process of his touring during which he has reworked his creations and was eager to get that sound down on disc.
“When we recorded the first few records they were written in the studio and we used multi-tracking and layering to add lots of textures and then I went and did two or three years touring those songs, mostly performing solo.
“During that time I felt the songs really took on a new form and evolved so then I felt like I had reached a point where I could walk into a studio and lay down fast, raw versions of the songs.
"I have always wanted to make a record in that way, the ways records used to be made pre-St Pepper’s where the bands would tour the songs for at least a year before they put them down on tape. So wanted to try that and lay down some songs that weren’t heavily edited.
“I think it brings a kind of vibrancy and life and energy something akin to what you might get from the live show.”
“This is an album I have carved out.
"It’s like a sculpture that has taken five years and this is the end result. I started out with a big lump of rock and now I am really proud of that sculpture, it’s kind of distorted and imperfect but I am really proud of it."
Simone Felice
So is this process of his songs evolving and almost reinventing themselves ever fully finished for him?
“No, I am always hungry and looking for the next level. 
"There are always other places to go, that’s the great thing about music there are always people who inspire and there are always more things to learn and more things to discover.
“I try not rest on my laurels because I still feel there are songs I want to write and still places, artistically, that I haven’t ventured into.
“I am really pleased with this last record although it was recorded and mixed in about 10 days, but I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I hadn’t been touring consistently for three years. 
"I feel I am a lot more confident playing live than I used to be and I am more confident of my place in society as a songwriter.
Whitehouse has been touring mostly with New York singer/songwriter, poet and author Simone Felice who he met through the Glee Club and now things seem to have come full circle now.
"Simone has been a great inspiration, and he’s got this great pianist Anna Mitchell playing alongside him and they sort of turn your head around 360 degrees and make you look at the world in a much more beautiful way
"I hooked up with him through the Glee Club, Birmingham. I started supporting him on his visits to the Glee and he gave me a few spots on his tour then this time he gave me the whole tour. We just get on through working together and have become friends.
Dan's new album Raw State
"We share a lot of interests and his fans dig what I am doing. That’s always the mission is to find people out there who appreciate what you are doing.
“This gig at the Glee is the biggest capacity venue I have ever played, it can hold more than 400 so is very ambitious.
“It’s going to be a kind of Christmas extravaganza with special guests. I have written a Christmas song with Chris Tye.
He’s going to come down and sing that, there is Duke Special from Ireland and BJ Cole who is a legend on pedal steel.”
Cole, has worked with a vast array of artists including REM, Elton John, Brian Eno and Bjork and the album has been produced by Danny George Wilson and Chris Clarke of Danny and the Champions of The World who put the album together at Clarke’s Reservoir Studios in North London.
The drummer from the band Steve Brookes plays on the album as does Wilson who adds his guitar, keyboard and backing vocals.
So with the album under his belt where is the next step?
“I want to be selling out shows not just in Birmingham or London, I want to be playing in Europe and America.
“It’s a pretty slow process.
"The main thing I focus on is the art of songs. I spend a lot of time writing and recording songs in the hope that if I get that right it will unlock the rest of it.”

Raw State is out December 1 through Heantun Records and Dan's own website. His launch concert at the Glee Club is on Sunday December 7 where tickets are £8 plus a booking fee. Doors open at 7.15 and the show starts 8pm.













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