Singer-songwriter Dan Webb is preparing to load up the van and get out on the road to support his new EP Hyperspace Clearance. But before he does I caught up with Dan to chat about the tour, the EP, and his love of the keys.
You’re touring along the east coast next month. Are you looking forward to getting out on the road?
I’m not gonna lie – it’s been hard organising this tour, but I am really looking forward to playing these shows. Myband members have been on holiday overseas for a few months so I’ve used that time to develop some new songs. I’ve never performed outside Melbourne so it’s really exciting.
This tour is in support of your new EP Hyperspace Clearance. What can you tell me about it?
I really set out to prove a point on my first EP. It was quite heavy compared to this new one. Capitulation was all about showing people that you can play rock music without relying on guitar. Hyperspace Clearance is taking that same concept but taking it to a whole new level by experimenting with some other styles and genres. It’s an EP with a focused direction, tied together by the theme of travel.
You produced this EP yourself. Why was that important for you?
I wanted to head back to the same studio with the same team of people and see if we could make something that sounded completely different to my first EP. I like setting myself challenges. I had a clear idea of which instruments and microphones I wanted to use and so I wanted to have as much of a creative input as possible.
What’s it like being on the other side of the musical desk?
I have to say straight up that the whole project wouldn’t have been possible without my engineer Matt Voigt. He’s responsible for all of the mixing and he did a really great job. I might be able to give directions, make suggestions and requests but at the end of the day, I can’t make a good recording without a talented engineer.
This is your second EP. How do you think you’ve grown since the recording of the first one?
I feel like I’m developing as a songwriter and I’m becoming a bit more confident and adventurous when it comes to writing songs. I was able to take more risks on this EP as a result. I wanted to explore a few different styles and approaches this time round. I recorded clavinet on a track called “Weekends” for example; it’s only there for a few bars but it’s really funky!
Is an album too far down the track?
I haven’t ruled it out, but I’ve gotta say that a third EP is probably far more likely to happen. I really like having just a handful of solid tracks and an opportunity to explore new themes or new styles or whatever.
You were classically trained. What inspired you to change musical tact?
Well I started learning piano when I was quite young and I stuck with it right throughout high school. Sometimes I would get really sick of learning these classical pieces and playing them how the composer had intended. I wanted to be free to explore my own ideas and share them with people and I’m glad I now have an opportunity to do exactly that.
The keys aren’t a traditional musical choice for a rock act. Were there any musicians that inspired you or your style?
I guess there’s no denying Ben Folds was an influence early on, but to be honest I’m more inspired by guitar-led bands such as The Beatles and The Stones. I wanted to approach music as if I were writing for electric guitar, but playing those parts on a keyboard.
I believe that being involved in the Kool Skools project inspired you to take your music to the next level. What can you tell me about that experience?
It was the first time I had ever been to a professional recording studio, so I was grateful for that opportunity. I didn’t really have much input into the song we recorded though; I was playing organ for a band I was in at the time and I was really just playing a few chords here and there. It motivated me to start writing my own songs and I got to work doing exactly that soon after graduating.
After this tour, what’s next on the agenda?
Well I’ve thought about recording a third EP in a year or two. I haven’t approached anyone yet, but I’d definitely be interested in working with another producer and I do have a few people in mind. Right now I’m really looking forward to playing more shows and developing some new songs.
Dan will play the following shows to support his new EP, Hyperspace Clearance:
15 September 2010 – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
22 September 2010 – Ric’s Bar, Brisbane
24 September 2010 – Queens Wharf Brewery, Newcastle
Image used with permission from AAA Entertainment