First AMA! Common lurker, but the guilt of never actually getting involved has taken over.

My band Dan Mangan + Blacksmith is celebrating the recent release of our new album CLUB MEDS (Arts & Crafts / City Slang).

Big thanks for all the love the album has gotten from NPR, The Guardian, Q, Uncut, etc. We’re headed across Canada (& Chicago/Minne) supported by Hayden and Astral Swans starting Feb 18. Europe in April, and more USA dates soon, also (incld SXSW).

  • You can get some more info about (and stream/listen to) “Club Meds” HERE.
  • You can watch the music vid to VESSEL HERE.

Annnnnnnnd PROOF HERE.

Let's rock.

EDIT: HOLY CRAP FOLKS! It's been almost 5 hours!! My wife fed me a rice cake. Seems like it's slowing down here.. Thanks so much for all the amazing questions, this has been a blast. I'll linger a bit longer here and see if I missed anything..

EDIT #2: Put the kid to bed and now am back. really trying to make sure each question gets answered.. I'll check back periodically throughout the evening when I'm able

Comments: 706 • Responses: 63  • Date: 

TSApod77 karma

Dan, every time I go to an open mic night in Winnipeg, MB, someone covers one of your songs. Who were you covering when you used to play open mic nights?

DanMangan74 karma

that's mind blowing to me that people play my songs. when i was in the open mic's, lemme see.. i used to cover neutral milk hotel's "aeroplane over the sea" and then it was the first dance song at my wedding.. that song is incredible.. one of the "i wish i wrote this" tunes. just so completely beautiful and melancholy and rich and full of amazing imagery.. we got to play with jeff mangum once and that was a real trip.. what else did i cover.. i used to cover "oh darling" by the beatles.. annd "say it aint so" by weezer.. hah.. still to this day, sometimes when my hands touch a guitar they go right to the opening riff of "say it aint so"

kirkofdoom42 karma

What does Dave Grohl smell like?

DanMangan83 karma

when I met him, he was just finishing a microwave burrito. Definitely, he smells like a mixture of microwave burrito and loud guitars

TheyGotMyDickMessage31 karma

Dan, settle in. This might take a while. I've followed your career since soon after Postcards came out in Canada. I used to have XM, and The Verge did right by me, devoting 7 minutes to "So Much For Everyone". I feel like I've grown up with your career.

I'm from central Virginia, and the year spanning 2012/2013 was amazing for me, because I got to see all my bucket list bands I thought I'd never get to. You were one of them, playing a solo opening act in Richmond. I had Sufjan that year, also in Richmond, and Sigur Rós. Man...

Anyway, the day after Sigur Rós, my last bucket list show, I ended up going to the emergency room in excruciating pain and being diagnosed with cancer. I went through a battle from March 2013 to May 2014, and during that time, my wife left. Actually, only a week into it. Now, I don't miss her, but she got away with my Nice, Nice LP with the signed set list from that Richmond show folded inside, and I miss the hell out of that.

If you're still with me this far, I haven't even gotten to the question I have. That was just my story. My question: You've always been very passionate and candid in your songwriting (e.g.,"I can hear the eyebrows raise when I start singing..."), and I've always connected to that. But there is something, and maybe it's just my interpretation, but there's something that has always felt particularly intimate about "Basket." It felt even more relatable as I was living what might have been my last days in a hospital bed, but well before that, the song has always stood out to me. Are you up to discussing where that song came from, maybe to shed some light on why it drills straight to my soul every time I hear it?

Sorry for the novella. I hope I get another chance to grab a set list and perhaps to buy you and Blacksmith all a round.

Cheers, G

*edit: Yes, I am done with cancer now. A year clean! And I've made a new bucket list that's a lot less attainable. It has a lot more specific conditions, just to be sure.

DanMangan48 karma

wow man i remember meeting you that night.. it means so so much to me to have people out there like yourself who have followed through the albums and find something in it to relate to. thank you.

basket was inspired by my grandfather.. actually wrote most of that song while riding the bus in vancouver a few weeks after he passed away (like 10 years ago now wow..) he got old and basically just watched tv or read the odd book and then him and my grandmother got sick and died within a year of each other.. i feel like the romance of living had left them, and they just didn't really "do" much.. and of course their mental alertness failed them - they started to get dimenstia and would confuse me and my siblings for their own siblings who had died decades before.. i mean they were really loving and good to me, and i have a lot of fond memories of them, but i want to stay alert and active and have friends and find things to love and get crazy about for as long as possible.. so the song is kinda like "your life is this basket full of memories, and what happens if the basket starts to fall apart and the memories fall out, are you still YOU?".. it's just about maintaining an appreciation for life and fighting for honesty and beauty in every moment.. because at that point, things like death aren't that scary, because it's just the next step on the journey

DanMangan22 karma

ps. i'm glad they got your dick message!

sbags19 karma

Hello (and a couple of questions) from a fan in Brooklyn!

  • I discovered ‘Leaves, Trees, Forest’ around the time of a close friend’s passing and a serious state of depression. As dark as the subject matter seems to be, the song has always been comforting to me. I tend to listen to it on a commute home from a bad day and it calms me down and puts my mind in a peaceful place. I was wondering what inspired it / what state of mind you were in when you had written it?

  • Also, will we be seeing you back in the States anytime soon? Any festivals in the near future?

Thanks! ‘Club Meds’ is a spectacular album.

DanMangan33 karma

  • That's incredible. Honestly, I think that a lot of musicians become musicians because they want to help other people feel the way that they do about OTHER music. I also think that sometimes "sad" music is cathardic, not because it makes us "sad" but because it accepts that there is sadness in the world, and actually embracing it for what it teaches us is more important than distracting us from it..

  • yes! we'll be in chicago and minneapolis soon, and hopefully a bunch more dates this year. we really want to play more often in the USA. there are some festivals on the horizon down there but i don't think i'm supposed to say anything yet!

vesselbed16 karma

Hi Dan,

From another canadian Dan; I saw you in Ottawa at folk fest a couple years ago and after your show we saw you standing standing right outside of Patrick Watson`s set. Was cool to see a performer genuinely enjoying another's music at a festival.

Question is: What was your favorite show to attend from backstage while at a festival you were performing? Thanks!

DanMangan60 karma

I love Patric Watson! Always have loved their music. Except when they get a gig we want.. Then... Fuck that guy! :)

Favourite backstage gig? Wellllll lemme tell you a story.......

30 minutes into arriving at Glastonbury, i get a text from my friend Amy Nelson. Her dad (Willie) is playing on the Pyramid stage (totally insane stage that holds like 150,000 people) that afternoon. So I BS my way backstage at the pyramid and I'm 20 feet away from Willie Nelson playing to easily 100,000 people. It was pretty nuts..

then if THAT wasn't enough, we wandered off stage with Willie and his band and ended up with Willie Nelson and Snoop Dog in Willie's tour bus and they're having the most hilarious conversation and smoking mad thrank.

life is pretty crazy. amy is so awesome, too. you guys should check out her band with my other friend cathy guthrie (yup, that guthrie) - it's called Folk Uke. They're hilarious. we toured together in Australia once

vesselbed9 karma

Best. Story. Ever.

You must have gotten out of that tour bus crossing the : Smoking with Snoop and Willie Nelson item from your bucket list.

DanMangan23 karma

i was too terrified to smoke! i get paranoid smoking pot at the best of times, and i can't imagine what kind of sticky icky icky they were diving into

swordgeek16 karma

Hey, congrats on being #2 (behind Steve Earle) on CKUA's top 30 albums this week.

Are you playing any of the festival circuit this summer?

DanMangan22 karma

Thanks! Steve Earle is great. When my kid was super new (and he was sooo tiny.. 4.5 lbs) I'd sleep with him in the next room so my wife could get some sleep. But I'd try to stay away through the night as much as possible because I was so scared that I'd crush him or something haha.. anyway I'd listen to audio books and podcasts and I listened to Steve Earle narrate his own novel "I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive" and it's awesome!!! you should read it.

oh. and festivals. yeah. totally. love festivals.

doughacker14 karma

Hi Dan, two questions

1) You say that "intimate, singer-songwriter stuff is not the way you "feel" music" anymore" Can you elaborate?

2) Which house concert series serves the best lasagna in your opinion?

DanMangan21 karma

hah! hi doug!

1) there was a long time where i was really stoked about being that acoustic troubadour guy in the corner sipping whiskey. I still like whiskey. I guess a part of me still likes the acoustic thing, but there were limits to it. I think there are elements to what we're doing that is still within that world, and enjoyably so. what I DON'T like is "throwback" music - trying to sound like you're doing something "old". Nostalgia frustrates me, because I feel like it takes people out of the present, and because the past was never as perfect as we like to think it was, and I don't like the idea that music used to be better. I LOOOVE to listen to old music, but that's because it was current and true and honest and "new" when it was made.. so yeah. umm. dunno if that helps hehe

2) obviously yours! FOLKS if you live near the billsville house concert in Massachusetts go hang with these kind folks. They'll feed you up real nice

wild_olive12 karma

Dan Mangan!

Big fan here. I still listen to your CBC Radio Sessions podcasts from years ago!

I love the stuff you do with Shane Koyczan... any plans to do anything else together in the future?

Favourite bands at the moment?

Thanks for doing the AMA! :)

DanMangan16 karma

shane - what a talent monster. that guy is so prolific.. just writes and writes and writes. it's so cool to see him getting so popular out there on the internet. dude blew up the last few years. we've both been pretty busy over the years working on our own stuff, but i'd love to work with him on something at some point.

favourite bands??????? been listening to this william onyeabor compilation a lot - 70s african/electro stuff.. pretty rad.. everyone should check out this Astral Swans record that I'm putting out on my new little label Madic Records..

colorfulworld11 karma

Hi Dan, I’m a fellow singer-songwriter from Vancouver; thanks for all the music! What’s your favorite piece of gear? Love the new record, any outstanding pieces of studio equipment that you feel were integral to achieving the sound?

DanMangan16 karma

Thanks! And hi. Maybe I'll see ya down the block. I have a cool old late 1940s Harmony guitar that I found in Penticton for $400. I put a P-90 in it and now it's a weird frankenstein hollow-body electric. I dig that. But as for the record, there's a lot of MIDI on it. I get the feeling to a lot of people Midi is a bad word, but I love it. I don't like when it's trying to impersonate a real musician - because at that point you should just bring in a real player. But I DOOOOO like Midi when you tap into these amazing huge sound banks and you can come up with noises and sounds that aren't recognizable to anything specific.. So.. Yeah.. a mix of midi and cool plug ins..

Also: DSI Tempest. That thing rules. There's a lot of that on the album. And the DSI Mopho X4

RyanOnymous10 karma

Dan! I’m stoked this is finally happening! A pair of questions if I may:

I finally got around to watching Hector and the Search For Happiness and I must say that the music and score were my favourite part of the film, by far! Can you talk a bit about how you and Jesse approached the scoring process compared to your methods for more conventional songwriting?

Also, the new reworking of Sold is so fucking good! Can we maybe expect to hear similar new versions of other fan favourites like Robots on the upcoming tours?

DanMangan5 karma

  • amazing! hector was a joy to work on. it was difficult too, but it taught me a lot. peter the director is an amazing guy - we became really tight. his vision for the music was pretty specific, so it was a constant dance between us being able to go with our guts and also trying to fit within what he was looking for. literally every second of music in the whole film was discussed. i couldn't have done it without jesse zubot. at first, i hired him as an "arranger" because i can't even read/write music (hah!) but he quickly became a "composer" because the two of us worked in tandem so closely on everything.. JESSE IS A TOTAL GENIUS. love that guy. we've kinda lost him to the touring band because he's integral to Tanya Tagaq's touring band, and ever since she won the Polaris Prize (yeaaah!) they've been so busy, he kinda had to step back. but we're still in touch a llot..

oh and i wanted the score to be super weird and noisey and experimental but we got hired because the producers/director liked my older folky stuff - so we found the middle ground on everything..

  • SOLD. cool, glad you dig. i worried we'd get some flack for changing it so drastically, but it feels really genuine now, and the 1-2 shuffle that we used to do just feels kinda dated now.. we've said we're not going to play robots on the next tour, but we probably will here and there - just need to find a way to make it feel as fresh as sold does

bellyfatcure9 karma

Hey Dan, Thanks for doing this AMA.

All of your releases have moved further and further from your singer-songwriter roots. I've attended live shows at The Slice in Lethbridge and more recently Mac Hall in Calgary and the change in your performances have been huge. How do you balance your back catalogue and edgy new stuff in your live shows? Is it ever a challenge to please fans who just want to hear Road Regrets and Robots?

DanMangan13 karma

yeah that's a really good question. it's tough because we're always wanting to focus on new stuff, but you don't want somebody to spend hard earned money on a show and then be disappointed afterward. i've had conversations with other musicians about "shepherd'ing" folks toward the new stuff. Ie, not approaching it like "HEY we're doing this new stuff and we don't care about you" but more like "hey thanks so much for being here and we're gonna give you some of this stuff you already know but also, can we share this other stuff we're really excited about"..

We've decided to put Robots in the "maybe" playlist. There were a few times recently where it just didn't feel genuine anymore. People were expecting a big spectacle (because they'd seen us do it up big before) and it felt like we were kind of acting out a role that we were expected to do.

the most fun times playing robots were when it came together really naturally and serendipitously, and just kinda went crazy because that was the energy. So we'll still play it sometimes, but only when it really feels like the right thing to do. Call it a "variable" song.

that song totally changed my life, so I can't just turn my back on it..

I remember that show at the slice! Kenton and I went crazy over Big Buck Hunter. It got intense!

potato_near_my_anus8 karma

How's touring life with a baby at home?

DanMangan36 karma

we'll see! something tells me it's gonna be hard!

hope that potato feels good near your anus!

hufflepuffer18 karma

Hey Dan! Huge fan. I first saw you at Rifflandia in Victoria in 2009 and Nice, Nice, Very Nice became the definitive album of my early 20s.

I’m extremely passionate about Canadian music. I think we have an amazing music scene despite our massive geography and small population. What are your impressions of the scene? How has it changed since you first started touring? What can be done to support Canadian artists? Who’s on your radar right now?

Thank you!

DanMangan7 karma

so amazing to hear of people sticking with the music over the years. truly, thank you.

i think there's a lot of amazing canadian music also! it's been such a trip to see friend's bands that we were starting out with (playing for $2 at the fairview pub in vancouver) now being all over the radio and playing big festivals

it's tough. im a real believer in arts funding, and i think that's helped us "hit above our weight" in terms of offering some great art into the world despite being a small country population-wise.. also, sometimes that funding and cancon can promote a real mediocrity.. but that's life.. i think the pros WAY outdo the cons..

honestly the best thing you can do to help ANY musician at all is TALK ABOUT THEM. labels spend all this money on marketing and trying to nail down features on Paste or Pitchfork or whatever, but none of that holds a candle to genuine real human enthusiasm because YOU CAN'T BUY ENTHUSIASM. so if you love something. tell the whole friggen world


Oh my goodness, Dan. I met youandfellinlovewithyou at CMW this year while working and was starstruck - thank you for letting me take a pic with you! Your music is amazing, and all of my fond high school memories (and angsty ones) involved your work.

My questions are just:

  • What's the most awkward interaction you've had with a fan (BESIDES ME)

  • What do you think about the enormous influence your music has had on people's lives?


  • Do you think your music has a distinctly regional sound? To me, I immediately thought you were Canadian when I heard it.

Also, amazing show at CBC last week. My friend loved your sticker placement :P !

DanMangan12 karma

to be honest, bears will only eat you if you're a jerk

nice to meet you! if only we'd had more time, maybe i would have fallen in love with you too

  • most awkward? one time this 7 year old girl BEGGED me to sign her FACE with a SHARPIE. i said fuuuuck that. it was awkward, but i knew i did the right thing. i think i signed her arm instead

  • it's helpful to appreciate that my/our music might be a positive role in other peoples' life, but also to try and not let it seep in. you have to go to sleep every night feeling like a normal, real, person and trying to live up to peoples' interpretations of you doesn't help that.. so yeah. anytime somebody says something crazy nice about us - i like to look them in the eye and thank them from the bottom of my heart and then forget that it happend, for my own sanity

  • hah i hope it's not too regional.. i'd hate to feel limited, but i suppose we're inevitably influenced by where we come from

welcome_matthew8 karma

Hi Dan!

You played in Denver on Halloween and I was too shy to say hi, but my kick ass girlfriend got me this hilariously signed CD for me. I feel like for once in my life my social ineptness made for an even better story. Thanks for doing that! Maybe next time...

It's hard for me to gauge just how big you are in Canada. The place you played in Denver was tiny, how was that compared to the rest of the venues in your US tour? And compared to what you're used to playing when you tour Canada?

DanMangan5 karma

hah rad. well. it honestly was a real pleasure to nearly meet you.

that show was crazy. they didn't tell us they'd booked a hip hop act as SOON as bear's den was finished so the whole night got kinda thrown for a loop because they were moving our gear all around trying to set up the DJ tables etc and we weren't done yet! also because it was halloween night and people were all dressed up (awesome.

hmm how big are we in canada?? i dunno.. we're playing Massey Hall in Toronto (kinda like Canada's Carnegie Hall) so that's something? But ya gotta start at the ground everywhere you go and we really enjoy playing in clubs also, as it's where we started and it's very familiar.. so we don't feel entitled to huge crowds.. we know we have to work for it!

dearfantastica7 karma

I was at an HMV listening to Postcards and Daydreaming on one of those CD sampler things (not sure if these still exist?) and I loved it! When I asked where I could find it in the store they were all out so they just gave me the sampler one for free! Listened to it on heavy repeat for a long time, helped me get through a tough year away from home.

DanMangan8 karma

amazing! a real record store experience! let's hope more of those come back to fruition. i love record shops. thanks for listening

colorfulworld7 karma

How did you and Gordon Grdina meet? Saw him play during the Vancouver Jazz Festival. Cool dude!

DanMangan7 karma

he's amazing. don't tell him i said this, but i think he might be my favourite guitar player in the whole world. lucky me.

we met through Kenton Loewen (drums). i'd pulled in Kenton and Johnny into the band when we made Nice, Nice, Very Nice.. back then we had a guitar player named Aaron Joyce. On that tour, Aaron fell in love with a girl from Penticton and moved to the interior of BC, and we kinda fell out of touch, so Kenton said, "well.... I know this guy......."

i first met Gord on his birthday and he was totally loaded and the sweetest dude and then i heard him play and that was that

MemoryMaze6 karma

Hi Dan+Blacksmith, Can’t wait to see you for times # 6 and #7 in London and Massey Hall in February. (Previously seen at Hunter’s Alehouse in Charlottetown PE, Vogue Theatre in Sackville NB, London Music Hall in London ON, Gentlemen of the Road in Simcoe ON, and at Riverfest 2014 in Elora ON).

How you enjoyed the Gentlemen of the Road experience? It looked like to much fun on stage. I met you in the lobby the next day, and said hi, but was too nervous to say anything else.

DanMangan7 karma

wow that's incredible. thanks so much for your continued support. it really does mean the world me/us.

reminds me of when we first played hunter's "alehouse". i think we asked the waiter what kinds of "ales" they had, and she said "ooooh we have EVERYTHING! Coors light, Bud, Bud light, Molson Canadian, Blue".. None of which are ales...

but that show was awesome anyway! the other time we went to charlottetown I got Swing Flu and ended up nearly dying (hyperbole) in an Econolodge. and lemme tell ya that fuckin sucked!

GOTR was pretty rad. I have to say. Beforehand I was skeptical of the Mumford & Sons craze. I'd never really listened to their music and consider me a jerk/snob for reacting poorly to a really popular band. BUT Holy shit they're the nicest dudes ever, and when they played, I have to say, they really nailed it. I tend to gravitate to slightly more experimental music, but they are VERY good at what they do, and super fun to hang with. Also, they put on an incredible festival experience.. they really think about all the details of how it FEELS to be there.. they could have made a lot more money if they wanted to, but they spent loads on making people feel safe and catering to the experiential needs of the festival goer. so kudos to them

rorydaniel6 karma

Hey Dan, been a fan since the early days. I love the progression in Club Meds and it's obviously a bit of a departure from the singer/songwriter style. I've always loved your live shows as well, and my question is how the change will affect how you perform the older songs (if at all)?

DanMangan9 karma

thanks for sticking with us! you rule

the band has a real philosophy of honesty. and that plays out in a number of ways. we don't like feeling like a cover band, so if a certain vibe or feel of a song the way it was recorded doesn't sit with us, then we'll change it so we can still PLAY the song but differently, ya know?

we've changed up SOLD quite a lot recently, slower and different feel, and I've been loving it. I used to feel really rushed through the lyrics, and now I can really get inside the words

hedges7476 karma

Hey Dan!

I'm a big fan; I was right up front last August when you played at Riverfest in Elora. Such a great show! Anyway, I'm always amazed by your ability to put your experiences into words. As someone who is trying to write his own songs, I find it hard to find the things that I want to write about. How do you do it? Thanks for stopping by!

DanMangan6 karma

i think subtlety helps. i always like to second guess a line.. so i'll write something, and then go - is that the best it could be?

ie: i like you and think we should be together

could be

life is totally fucked up and even though you're a total nutbar i think that you make me feel less existentially alone and maybe we should go ice fishing

Sleeper_19726 karma

Hi dan,

What's up with 'Faults'? It's deep as hell with the whole 'sometimes I wish my lover was dead' line

Secondly, any artists that have inspired you that the world needs to hear?

Also, because to you I got in to Zeus and Elliott Smith so thanks. Zeus were kind enough to give me a free ticket to there show when I happened to bump in to them in Leeds a few months after your UK tour together in 2012.

What's the story behind your Harmony(?) acoustic?

Edit: added a question

DanMangan8 karma

so cool you've found Faults! it's a bit buried because it was on an Arts & Crafts compilation but not on one of our albums. I was just thinking about that song the other day, thinking I should practice it because I don't remember all the words and maybe we'd want to play it in the spring..

yeah the line "sometimes i pretend that my lover is dead, so if she ever is i'll be ready for it".. it's a thought i've had about my whole family. it's so unthinkable to imagine losing the people closest to you, and sometimes i'd imagine it just to try and temper it if it ever actually happened.. but then id start worrying that i was tempting fate or something and get all wigged out..

zeus and elliott smith! yes. we've toured with zeus a bunch, we're label mates - i love how they play this unabashed "ROCK" music, but it's got amazing feel and they can all sing. especially neil. he has the most amazing rock voice. and writes these super hot hooky jams

the harmony i bought in penticton a number of years ago for a few hundred bucks.. put a P-90 in it and now it's a frankenstein guitar becuase it's not a "proper" electric and it's not a proper acoustic either.. it gives off so much low end that I have to do a harsh EQ on it before it goes to the amp or it just sounds like MUD. Thanks Empress pedals for sending me a ParaEQ pedal!

mattsimonato6 karma

Hi Dan! Huge fan, first time I saw you was at a concert last year in UBC. Love the fact that you hail from BC!

Oh Fortune is one of my favorite driving songs. I just love screaming "oh my god it's killing me" in the car. Do you have any special driving songs?

DanMangan7 karma

haha i love the image of you screaming "oh my god it's killing me" parked at a red light in vancouver.

i went to UBC too! maybe we saw each other. but probably not because i graduated in 2005. take some sociology!

we always play "good friend" by plants & animals every tour at some point in the van. best song for post-show "everyone's all pumped up and drunk and we need something to dance to"

bmastertempt6 karma

Hey Dan, really big fan. I’ve seen you perform a few times in BC and I’m going to your April gig in Bristol, UK (I’ve moved to England for school). I’ll be bringing a flock of Brits with me, as I’ve now convinced them how rad Canadian music is.

My question(s) for you is this: Back when you were trying to make a name for yourself, did you ever get scared that you wouldn’t achieve what you set out to do and that you’d struggle to make a career in music? If so, how did you overcome it and what advice would you have for anyone else in similar situations?

P.S. Club Meds is incredible, still got it on repeat.


DanMangan8 karma

cool! see ya in bristol!

umm did i ever get scared it wouldn't work out? totally. you'd have to be a total sociopath to never doubt yourself.. it's a tough road, and very few people break through to the point where they can "quit their day job".. i wrote a long extended missive about my early days once on a blog post.... right....... HERE:

that should help describe those early days.

in short. be a good person. always try to get better. surround yourself with people who make you feel like things are possible. keep working on getting better. always be writing. always be subjecting yourself to new art (music and non-music). be honest.

cashewtornado66 karma

Dan, congrats on the new album! I was sceptical about the sound change at first (still am a bit), but after many listens I can tell it will fit right in as a favourite. Jumped at tickets for your Halifax show after the MIND BLOWING show with the Symphony NS there.

• Can we expect any auxillary band members (e.g. brass) on the upcoming tour? - I'd love to hear that Jeopardy trumpet solo live!!

• Any odd show day habits / rituals?

Side-note: 'Sold' is the 3rd most played in my 7-year-old iTunes lib - that tune is great!

EDIT: You've gotta get a Willy's poutine when you come to Hali - with steak.

DanMangan4 karma

  • we'll have JP with us on this tour! he's the insanely great trumpet player! it'll be 6 piece, the quartet plus JP and Tyson Naylor on keys

  • i like whisky and stretching!

SeriousBusinessSocks5 karma

Hi Dan. I always thought Chris Pratt would be a good pick to play you in your biography. Both good looking, scruffy guitar players. Can you call him up?

DanMangan7 karma

i'd love to call him up. yeah i've heard that comparison before. also seth rogen. i'm totally seth rogen if he lost a bit of weight.

debasedhero5 karma

Hey! Fucking love you man haha Where do you usually start when it comes to songwriting?

DanMangan7 karma

I love you too.

When i was a teenager just starting out, it was always guitar first. I was listening to lots of folk music and I'd try to mess around with complicated guitar parts and then write melodies over top. Also, I wasn't very confident about lyrics so I'd focus on the guitar.

Over time, it's changed. Now, it either tends to be lyrics first. But it's also not strictly one way or another.. I'm REALLY SLOW. sometimes it takes me months (or even a year) to feel like a song is finished. So.. That kinda blows because I'm not super prolific.. but it does give me time to feel like I'm really putting everything I have into each piece of music.

Plasma_eel5 karma

Hi Dan,

I am very interested in the Canadian music industry. Much of it seems focused on folk and indie music, and most of that music is great.

Thing is, I don't see much of this music branching out past their cult followings. Many people would love your music (along with other Canadians), but I find many people simply haven't heard of you or other bands. Once introduced, they love the music, but before that, they've never heard of it.

Do you have any plans ideas or plans to expand the market for your music?

DanMangan3 karma

yeah it's tough to get outside the borders! here are a few reasons

  • it's VERY expensive to get work visas to play in the US, and the repercussions of getting caught illegally are really bad. so a lot of bands avoid the US until they're at a certain point where they can afford the visas (sometimes $3-6k!) and then because they've gotten used to playing big clubs at home they get burned out going down there and playing to 40 people again

  • there is A LOT of music out there! lots of competition. the internet helps

we've always toured Europe quite a lot and will continue to do so. we REALLY want to break a bit more down in the USA and plan on trying to hammer it out down there..

but in general, the magical equation that makes any band popular anywhere is a total fucking mystery!

GraceLikesToColor5 karma

Hi Dan,

I really like your music and I've been following you since discovering Nice, Nice, Very Nice in high school, maybe 5 years ago. That album has been with me through a lot of beautiful moments, and a lot of really bad ones, so thank you for making it. I can't wait to buy CLUB MEDS.

What is your favorite thing to do on your birthday?

DanMangan8 karma

it'd be pretty cool to be home on my birthday for once!! seem to always be touring..

my kid and my birthday are 5 days apart so last year we did a joint bbq and there were kids everywhere and it was totally chaotic and beautiful and it reminded me how lucky we are and how many amazing people there are out there

GetFreeCash4 karma

Dan, hi from Vancouver! What's your favourite James Bond movie?

DanMangan7 karma

hmm i'd go with casino royale with daniel craig? the gadgets and crap are a little over the top in bond films, and i like how that one was a bit more character/dialog driven

TheWolfOfWallSt-4 karma

Hey Dan. If you were to have a lurker acct. what would you name it?

DanMangan19 karma

SourAbootLife4 karma

Dan, what are your thoughts on Naramata centre shutting down? I'm friends with Brendan W. and I know that you were the music resource one year there. I'd love to know your thoughts.

DanMangan3 karma

total bummer! i went there some as a teenager a couple times.. teens need a place to go where they feel like they can be themselves and where they won't get hounded for the simplest little thing..

paintbrusl4 karma

Any chance you'd be open to playing my wedding? I'm local! And we both love your music !

DanMangan6 karma

I kinda decided to only play at the weddings of close friends or family for a variety of reasons.. But that aside, I love being married and my wedding was basically the best party ever (big thanks to Yukon Blonde for being the wedding band), so rock on and go nuts, and congratulations to you both.

RilesIsBest4 karma

This is a little late, I'm sorry!!! I know you're a Bowen Island native, as am I. I met your mom while playing at Bowfest a couple summers ago. I just want to ask, what is your favorite childhood memory of BC growing up? I just moved to Toronto for school, and your music has really helped me make this big transition in my life. Thanks for all the great times, I can't wait to see you in concert again at the end of February!!!

DanMangan5 karma

hmm i've been to bowen a few times but have never lived there! which is silly, because it's probably a rad place to live. but BC is kinda nuts. every time i come home, I'm blown away by vancouver and how clean and fresh it smells. i love big cities too, but it's definitely home. when you drive elsewhere in the province you realize how easy it is to take it all for granted too.. up on that drive by cache creek or nearing banff in the rockies.. okanagan in the summers.. my family used to go camping near shuswap

BUT now that i think of it.. when i was little we used to rent this little cabin at a place called "THE ALDERS" on vancouver island near courtney BC.. and there was this little town called MERVILLE. and there was the MERVILLE GENERAL STORE.. and we had this long winded ongoing joke that lasted for years about how so n so's uncle's last wife's previous dog owner's cousin's ex-girlfriend's 1st grade teacher came from meerrrrrrrrrville (you had to say it like that). probably the kind of joke that's only funny to a bunch of kids with the same weird familial affliction

Crabaooke3 karma

Hey Dan, how does your new album Club Meds differ from your other albums?

DanMangan6 karma

It's the best one yet! To be honest, I feel like it's a finished thought. Though I have infinite appreciation for the previous records because they got us to here, I also always felt like if we'd JUST had a bit more time to work on them, they could have been better. This one feels like it's done. And if we'd spent more time with it, we would have just fucked it up somehow. I'm really proud of the band. And I'm the luckiest dude in the world getting to play with them. They blow my mind.

lovelyblonde3 karma

What made you decide to go a different direction in Club Meds with the way that you incorporated the vocals?

DanMangan4 karma

I think a really defining aspect of singer/songwriter music is having super clean vocals on top of a bed of music. That the entire band and what they're doing is just a canvas for the lyrics. That can be really great, but I feel like we'd done that for many years, and I was eager to try something different. This feels more like a BAND. and i think most people like the feeling of being in a BAND. there's power in numbers, i guess

Here_For_Da_Beer3 karma

Thanks for doing this Dan, I missed the memo that you were here yesterday but hopefully you still see this!

I've seen you three times now, all of them in Ottawa, and all at largely different venues:

Out of the three, I think the church show was the best, just because of the intimacy of the setting and the acoustics. I realize that it is less feasible for you to play churches when you can sell out the NAC, but what are the chances you would ever do shows like that again?

DanMangan3 karma

anything's possible! for your sake, let's hope this music career tanks and i'm back at the open mics

but seriously, that church show was fun. i dunno. gigs come and go. i'm sure there'll be some cool intimate stuff down the road

thanks a million for coming to the gigs!

Trevsauce883 karma

Hey Dan, Ottawa fan here.

Do you have a favourite gig? If so, where?

DanMangan3 karma

we played in ottawa a few years ago with bon iver at the folk festival, which was rad... except afterward i made the mistake of partaking in some of the joints flying around backstage and got so awkward and paranoid that i think i just basically went mute and stood there for like an hour.. so that sucked..

cmcavoy3 karma

MFK?: Gord, Kenton, Johnny.

xo Cmac

DanMangan3 karma

M Johnny. F Kenton. Also F Gord.

IAMA_Pizza_AMA3 karma

Hi Dan, I've had the pleasure of meeting you multiple times but most recently at the EFMF. Just wanted to say thank you again for everything your music has done for me. Also, What is your favourite beer?

DanMangan7 karma

woah you're a pizza! fuck ya! i love pizza

thanks for saying hello. it's always a pleasure to meet kind folks.

i like pilsners and tasty ales.. i like IPAs but not if they are over the top with the hoppiness.. it sounds super pedestrian, but the other day i had a pretty amazing experience with a Carlsberg. So.. ya know.. sometimes a simple beer is good too

diggity_dunks3 karma

Danimal! What's your favourite video game and why is it knockout kings?

DanMangan3 karma

hahaha Dunks! dude. i don't know why you chose butterbean - obviously i was gonna rock you with those big slow arms.. but your mom made us some dope sandwiches..

sorry about that time when your parents hired me to mow your lawn while you were away and then i made the bad choice of trying to use your shit ass hand mower right after a rainfall and then it all got clogged up so i got frustrated and went home and said fuck that.. but then again, they paid me like $10.. so whatever..

see you in london?

cfard3 karma

What's the most played song on your iPod/music library?

DanMangan4 karma

"aint no sunshine" but i think it's a glitch because it's in the thousands and i think once i left my laptop playing that song on repeat with the volume off for like a week

tapetalucida3 karma

Hey Dan!!!

I'm a fellow Canadian, and a huge fan.

  1. What is your favourite thing to do when you get back to BC after touring?

  2. What is a song that you would love to cover, but haven't yet?

DanMangan8 karma


  1. sushi - vancouver has the best sushi so i'm scared to eat it anywhere else. Toshi at Main/16th or Kishimoto on Commercial Dr usually

  2. we nearly recorded a cover of "once in a lifetime" by the talking heads, but i realized that the verses would be impossible to sing without just copying David Byrne's incredible delivery, and that would be lame because we couldn't make it our "own".. so yeah.. we ditched that idea.. but that song is INSANELY good

resurrection_man3 karma

Hey Dan! I'm really enjoying the new album!

My question is, are there any songs that particularly emotional for you to perform, and if so, why?

P.S. "In my head is a god, but I can't speak for it" is one of my favorite lyrics of all time.

DanMangan3 karma


basket can be pretty intense.. but that makes it even more fun in a way

implosionatic2 karma

Hi Dan!

First I want to thank you for Road Regrets and Basket. They are the songs I listen to when I'm sad and needing encouragement.

I recently read an album review where you cited some mushroom trip as inspiration to a song (can't remember which). Is this something common to your songwriting? You don't seem like the guy that uses drugs a whole lot, so it was just unexpected to me.


DanMangan3 karma

no, i don't use drugs very often, but i also don't like the idea that DRUGS ARE BAD. i think drugs that falsify feelings of goodness aren't helpful, so i stay away from that bad/super-hard shit. don't do drugs that were made in a bath tub. i'm not interested in cocaine at all. but there are amazing things that grow in the earth. and i love putting myself in places of intense introspection. i've had some serious epiphanies experiences on mushrooms. I would say that under safe, controlled, situations with people you know and trust (ideally love), that moderate and rare mushroom trips can be HUGELY helpful to finding peace in the world, and getting to know yourself, and being able to accept the things in this world that you cannot change

Crabaooke2 karma

Hey Dan, big fan here! I loved your sets at the Edmonton Folk Fest this summer. What’s it like collaborating with other similar artists that you may or may not have heard of before. It seemed like every set you were on seemed to mesh perfectly. Any plans on playing with any of the artists you met that weekend? Hope to see you back next year!

DanMangan10 karma

Funnily enough, we ended up touring with Bear's Den this past fall BECAUSE we met them at Edmonton Folk Fest. The most wonderful dudes, we had a blast. Those workshop stages are funny.. If everyone goes for it, they can be magical. And if everyone is stiff, they can be a drag. But all the ones in Edmonton were super fun. I remember a few years ago in Vancouver playing with ESL and they ripped this incredible version of "Superbaked" and all the bands were rocking out and everyone went totally insane. It can really make a weekend. It's also really CANADIAN. As in, we've played festivals all over the world and as far as we can tell, it doesn't really happen ANYWHERE else

Crabaooke2 karma

Hey Dan, what’s your favorite Dan Mangan + Blacksmith song?

DanMangan9 karma

I have to say I'm pretty proud of Kitsch. And it's a true collaboration song. Johnny wrote the bass line while we were touring in Europe in 2012. He'd sound check to it every day and then we'd mess around with it. I've never co-written anything in my whole life, so it was pretty cool and a new experience. I wrote the vocal melody and the entire band pieced together the format and crafted how it would feel. Kenton's polyrhythms are insane. You'd think the bells on that song were overdubbed but he's actually playing them at the same time as the rest of the beat. So, in a sense, it feels like a BAND song, which is really cool. And it's easier to brag about something that came from a collective.. Maybe that's why we re-named the band Dan Mangan + Blacksmith. Hah

SerDavosSeaworth2 karma

I noticed you've been using Union Tube & Transistor's More and the Electroharmonix Micro POG. Can you talk a little bit about what you've been using them for and what sort of settings? Where abouts in the signal chain are they?

DanMangan3 karma

UNION are great! you can go to EXILE, a guitar shop on main st and get those pedals there.. Chris Young, who designs them, opened up that shop..

The MORE pedal is basically just a gain boost, and the various guitars I play tend to give off different hotness of signal, so it helps me just adjust what's going to the amp with a little more character than just a volume pedal.. the BUZZ BOMB is just insane, and I just kinda use it to make massive walls of fuzzy noise now and then.. The POG I've used for a few things - maybe send a low octave to the bass rig, or just to get a weird organ'y sound (like on the song "NEW SKIES" from the new album)