Dropout Dan was raised in the outskirts of Cambridgeshire, learning from an early age that music would become one of the most important parts of his life. Otherwise known to his family and friends as Daniel O’Dell, he began writing songs from a young age as a way to articulate his feelings and experiences. We sat down with Dan to chat about his latest EP, musicianship and his upcoming UK tour.
By Paul Fellowes
The release date for Forever, Instead EP is currently set as Valentine’s Day – was that an intentional release day, or just a coincidence?
It was an intentional release day, yes. The idea behind releasing it on that day is because all over the world every boy will buy his girlfriend it and every girl will buy her boyfriend it, therefore global domination is imminent! Plus the fact that there is a certain, dare I say, romantic feel to the EP. It’s baby making music. Simples.
This EP seems a little more settled than your last, does it feel like you have grounded yourself now and that you know what music you want to make?
I don’t think it’s been a case of grounding myself, I just think that these songs made sense to me at the point of writing them and fortunately the themes of them all fit together which is why I think it’s a strong EP. The songs that made up the previous EP ‘Do You Remember?’ were written between the ages of 18 and 20 so they were still very naive and I was still finding my feet. Also, I was trying to squeeze all these different influences into each song to stand on the shoulders of my peers whereas nowadays I’m comfortable enough with my songwriting to know that it’s ok to try something different and stick out a bit.
Which musicians have influenced the making of this EP? In comparison to those who influenced your last.
Too many musicians to name, but I’ll give it a go anyway. Bon Iver, Dave McPherson, Charlie Simpson, The Wonder Years and Brand New. Even bands like Touche Amore, Converge and The Ghost Of A Thousand, maybe not in a musical sense but definitely lyrically as far as just being brutally honest in what I say. The comparison between myself and Frank Turner will always stick I suppose as he was my main influence back in the day, plus if I’m ever in need of inspiration I’ll always turn to his albums for pointers, but I’m not trying to be ‘folk’ or ‘punk’ anymore.
You’re hosting a tour around the UK, is this the biggest one you’ve done to date? How excited are you for it?
This is my biggest tour so far and I simply cannot wait to hit the road and meet lot’s of new people. It gets a little tedious when you start looking at how many miles you’ll be travelling and the cost of it all, but it’s all for a good cause. If anyone reading this is coming to a show then come and have a chat afterwards. I’m a nice guy, honest!
B Sydes is set to be your support act for all of the tour dates and his sound seems more acoustic than you own – do you think this could cause a bit of a clash?
I wouldn’t say he’s my support act, we’re just doing a joint tour and whichever order on the bill we end up on any particular night, then that’s how it shall be! We do both have very different styles but we’ve played enough shows together to the point that I think we both complement each other musically. Plus, he’s a whiskey drinker, I’m a whiskey drinker, this tour is fool proof. The only problem is that he’s one good looking guy, I’m afraid that when I’m playing all the eyes in the room will be drawn to his lovely wavey hair and tanned skin. Who wants to look at a chubby, pale skinned 22 year old when B Sydes is in the room? I’m not even joking. He is beautiful. My girlfriend’s going to hate me for that!
You’re not far off achieving 1,000 fans on Facebook, an excellent feat, do you feel that you’re music is capable of enticing a new audience towards you?
It’s nice to know that my music is getting out there to a wider audience. Unfortunately with the way the industry is nowadays, the internet is both the best and the worst thing. Anyone can get onto a computer, put together a 3 and a half minute pile of garbage, call it a ‘song’, release it and then call themselves a ‘musician’. Whereas there are actual hardworking musicians who don’t get the respect they deserve. I’m lucky enough to have met a few of the “fans” and they’re really decent folk and we all have the same views on how the industry works or doesn’t work, whichever way you look at it.
Who, if anyone, do you aspire to be like in terms of musicianship in music nowadays?
Dave McPherson from InMe is a great example of someone who I aspire to be. He’s probably the single most hardest working person in the industry at the moment. He literally doesn’t stop! I’ve played a handful of shows with him and he really takes the time to get to know his fans and give something back to them, more than just music. I like to think that if I’m ever lucky enough to make a living from playing music, I’ll be as humble and down to earth as him. Plus he’s ridiculously good live so go and see him when you can.
Other than the inevitable release of your new EP and your UK tour is there space for anything else in the pipeline for Dropout Dan?
There is indeed. Music videos, live sessions, radio interviews etc etc and one day, the debut album! But I might do a Justin Bieber and release an auto-biography despite the fact that I’m still too young to even consider writing my memoirs and haven’t even lived a full life yet. It’ll be great, you’ll all buy it.
Many thanks to Dan for taking the time to chat to us. You can check out tour dates and music at: www.dropoutdan.com