Dan Croll has traded song ideas with Paul McCartney while embedding himself firmly into the Liverpool music community. Now touring the States, he’s ready to launch into his debut solo album – the melodies always come first, he tells Getintothis’ Alan O’Hare.
Paul McCartney has spent millions of pounds making bad records.
But when his masterful debut solo record arrived in 1970, the back sleeve carried one vital piece of information: ‘Instruments and voices by Paul.‘ That nugget immediately slipped into the eye of Getintothis‘ mind when watching a live clip of a song called Home, performed by an artist and LIPA graduate, a short while ago on YouTube.
It’s gorgeous. And the band (fair enough, playing inside the Paul McCartney Auditorium) sound ace. But the main man is leading them through parts he has clearly and painstakingly put together.
He’s inside every nuance and it’s easy to see he has constructed the piece whole in his mind before another musician got near it.
His name is Dan Croll and – as well as being all over the radio and every buzz blog around in 2013 – he’s been nominated for The GIT Award 2013.
‘I was at last year’s GITs’ and had a fantastic night,’ says Dan. ‘I’m chuffed with the nomination and really happy that I get to experience the whole thing all over again.‘
What about those McCartney and LIPA links though?
‘LIPA gave me a wider knowledge of the music industry,’ reveals Dan. ‘Having a one-to-one with Paul McCartney was pretty amazing – I played a few of my songs to him and he started singing along with me and suggesting things I hadn’t thought of. He said ‘groovy’ a lot too!‘
McCartney’s debut solo album carries with it many beautiful melodies. But he brought the songs to life with his own hands. Just like Dan Croll: ‘I love playing different instruments and having the space to jump quickly from one instrument to another – that can really help keep a creative momentum when writing songs,’ he says.
‘I know that there are many people better than me on quite a few instruments though! So, sometimes I’ll ask friends to come in and re-do a part I’ve done or lay down a fresh idea.‘
It’s a wise way to work and has brought the ex-LIPA lad plenty of success so far.
And Croll is one of a number of LIPA students and graduates that have embedded their music and personality into the Liverpool music community; contemporaries Joe Wills, Jethro Fox, Fabian Prynn and Mikhael Paskalev are all part of Croll’s touring party or wider network – each collaborating with him, or sharing stages across Merseyside and throughout the world.
Recent single From Nowhere hooks you with a deliberate beat and a melody that arrives fully-formed and sounding like your favourite indie film soundtrack.
But it’s when Croll’s distinctive but comforting vocal hits, that you realise we’re dealing with something fresh.
‘That song was sparked by a new organ and its built-in drum machine,’ says Dan.
‘Other songs come to me while running around Sefton Park – and a new song called ‘Must Be Leaving’ came from a fan organ that was found in a skip! A new instrument or a new place usually gets me started.‘
‘If you ever come to my house take your shoes off at the door,’ he sings on the aforementioned Home. It’s a great line and could have come from another great 60s writer: Paul Simon.
Former GIT Award judges, The Guardian recently revealed Croll’s Simon-influence and it’s certainly there for those who listen hard enough: delicious couplets, sweet melodies, left turn chord progressions and the ‘Graceland’-esque building from the beat up.
‘The groove is very important to my music. I usually focus on it the most – even though I’d say the melody comes to me first,’ he informs us.
We can tell. Imagine Paul Simon looking into 59th Street in 1963 and the melodies forming in his head. Then picture Croll walking down, say, Bold Street in 2012 – it’s no surprise that the melodies have shape shifted and added a few life-affirming beats before going into the iPhone!
His debut album is coming soon and with SXSW under his belt, a huge American tour undeerway and a date at Liverpool Sound City around the corner, this is one newcomer who is definitely someone to keep an eye on. Just what the GIT Award is all about.
Further Dan Croll reading on Getintothis
Dan Croll: Wanna Know
Dan Croll: Just Like Christmas
Dan Croll live at Liverpool Sound City 2012
Dan Croll in Liverpool Scene Report for NME‘s GIT Award feature
Dan Croll in Getintothis‘ Ones to Watch in 2012
Dan Croll live at Liverpool Music Week 2011
Dan Croll live at Fiesta Obscenic 2011
Further GIT Award 2013 reading
GIT AWARD 2013 shortlist revealed ahead of April 19 Leaf showcase
The GIT Award 2013 the nominees: the shortlisted artists in detail
GIT Award 2013 at Leaf on Bold Street Friday April 19 with £1000 to winners.
For a full list of the GIT Award 2013 judges and their profiles read here.
The GIT Award 2013 returns championing the best of Merseyside music.