It’s been a busy month for Dan Croll; at the end of August, he played his last show in Norwegian band Eye Emma Jedi, geared up for his debut solo single ‘From Nowhere’ by filming a promo video and got the single played on Radio 1 and 6 Music. He’s currently in London recording more songs for future release.
He moved to Liverpool in 2008 to study at Liverpool’s Institute for Performing Arts and formed his first band Dire Wolfe. From early on, his confident songwriting was there to be seen; it was clear that Dan would make a name for himself in no time at all. The popularity of ‘From Nowhere’ has been immense. Blogs and websites have scrambled over each other to feature the formidable pop hit, so Best Fit asked Dan about the single, his inspirations and future plans.
‘From Nowhere’, your debut single has been playlisted on daytime Radio 1, how did that feel when you heard your song on such a massive platform?
It really was mind-blowing, I had every bit of faith in the single doing well, but I never imagined getting daytime Radio 1 & 2 plays, or breaking 100,000 SoundCloud streams in two weeks. It seems like people are really enjoying it, which is amazing, and makes me feel really optimistic and excited about my future career in music; thank you to everyone who has listened to it!
The single has touches of Beirut and Jens Lekman, what did you listen to when recording it?
I was listening to bands like Beirut, Metronomy, Dirty Projectors, Feist, St Vincent, Efterklang, Beach Boys, Cougar, Toe, Grizzly Bear, and a few others. Recording with Joe Wills [Dan's producer, band member, and flat mate] is always a great experience, and I can always rely on him to introduce me to some of his crazy influences. A lot of those I’m sure subconsciously made their way in to the single.
The single is out this week, what label is it on? Are you planning anything to celebrate the release?
It’s out on a label I set-up called ‘Racquet Records’ which came from school gym/badminton court where ‘From Nowhere’ was recorded. With the single going down so well already I’ve been pretty rushed off my feet and haven’t been able to sort an official release show/party. Perhaps me and the band will go to the pub, and for how ever many digital/vinyl sales we get, we’ll match in shots.
You’re based in Liverpool, but you’re from Staffordshire. When and why did you make the move to Merseyside?
Well, apart from my brother and myself, all of my family are from Liverpool. We would regularly visit family members most weekends growing up, and the city became a second home really. When it hit the time to start choosing/looking at universities, Liverpool just so happened to house the university I wanted to go to, and I’ve been living full time In Liverpool for 4 years now.
What inspired you to begin creating your own music?
I was brought up in a relatively musical family, there was always music playing, my mum singing, my dad trying, and my sister playing the piano. It was mostly jazz, blues, power ballads and irish/celtic folk. I really started to enjoy performing and writing towards the end of high school. I have my music teacher Craig Gilligan to thank for helping me channel my teenage frustration against the world in to music. Both my family and Craig were big inspirations for me.
How do you know when you’ve written a song you want to perform?
I’ve got a terrible habit of writing songs, then stopping half way, and never going back to it. On the rare chance that I do finish a song, it usually calls for celebration and a slot in the set.
Can you tell Best Fit about the other musical projects you are involved with or have been in the past?
My main projects have been Dire Wolfe, Eye Emma Jedi, my solo music, and the occasional bit of guitar playing for Jethro Fox, but to concentrate on my solo music I’ve had to leave Eye Emma Jedi, and restrict Dire Wolfe gigs to one a year.
The Liverpool music scene has had a resurgence of great talent in the last year, the likes of Outfit and Stealing Sheep have made a impact on the national music scene. Has it always been this good or has the rest of the country been slow on the uptake?
I’ve always thought the Liverpool music scene has been underrated, there has always been great quality bands, but I definitely think there has been a real step up this year. We have an amazing musical family now in Liverpool. It’s a tad incestuous as we all play in each others bands, but we love it that way.
A brief introduction to our family…
Outfit, Stealing Sheep, Ex-Easter Island Head, All We Are, The Staves, Eye Emma Jedi, Baardsen, Carnival Kids, Jethro Fox, James Canty, Kankouran, Spring King, Mikhael Paskalev, Billie Van, Jonas Alaska, Like Spinning, Douglas Dare, Anna Lena & The Orchids, Vasco Da Gama, Chrik, Ninetails, Dire Wolfe, Neon Lights, Emily & The Faves, Sing for your Supper, Tibbi & Her Cello, Loved Ones, and many many others.
You won the Music Benevolent Fund songwriting award in 2010, this must have helped your career exponentially. What did you put the prize towards?
A few musical bits and bobs, and beer for the band.
When Best Fit saw you play live in May, your backing band had two members of your old band Dire Wolf – will they always play with you or is it a constantly changing line-up?
It was originally just myself, then it jumped up to a nine piece band (seen on the ‘Marion’ and ‘Home’ Youtube videos) and now its been condensed down to a solid five piece. I’m really hoping it stays like this, they’re four amazing musicians that I can’t see myself every replacing. Or even wanting to for that matter.
Definitely, I’m working really hard at the moment to tie these songs sonically together with my new material coming through. The end result hopefully will be my first album.
Are you recording at the moment? What can we expect to hear from the sessions? An album?
I am, I’ve moved down to London for a month to work in a studio called ‘The Pool’ in Elephant & Castle just whilst all the guys are away from Liverpool and to keep productive.
An album is close I can feel it.
From Nowhere is available now on Racquet Records. Dan Croll will play at the Kazimier in Liverpool on 16 October.