Interview with Dan Parsons

Last week I had the pleasure to chat with country/blues singer Dan Parsons about his latest single I’ll Live And I’ll Die, his upcoming national tour, and the makings of his third studio album.

BR: You’re about to embark on a huge national tour with Steve Grady, what should we expect?

Dan: It’s been a while since I’ve done a tour with Steve, I guess we kind of came up the ranks together in Brisbane together.  In 2011 we did a massive tour and now it’s fitting to try it again a few years down the track.  It’s a tour celebrating his new EP and my new single I’ll Live And I’ll Die.

BR: Tell me a bit about that single, I’ve heard that it’s about swaying away from human drama?

Dan:  It was really just an exercise for me in writing, most of my music is autobiographical. At the time when I was writing it my life was pretty dull and I decided to construct a character and explore something that didn’t quite relate to me.

BR: How does this affect your live performance?

Dan: It definitely allows me to approach the song from a unique, emotional standpoint. There’s a certain type of freedom in singing something that doesn’t relate to your own life. It’s been really enjoyable to explore that.

BR: This is your first single from your third studio album, how is that shaping up?

Dan:  It’s almost done. I’ve been saying that for the past four months but the nature of recording albums is always one step forward, two steps back. There’s (sic) always revisions to be made, particularly when you’re getting into the home stretch; I’m trying to reign everything in. It’s all recorded, everything’s 95% mixed, it’s just fine tuning from here on out.

I really wanted it to be more of a shared experience this time around.

BR: You recorded and produced your second album by yourself, are you taking this direction again?

Dan: I did the hell out of that process last time, and it was fun for a lot for reasons but it’s also quite lonely.  I decided to work with a guy called Robin Waters who is an amazing engineer and musician. One of the biggest drawcards about Robin is that he understands the kind of music I want to make. I really wanted it to be more of a shared experience this time around.

BR: You’re a master of many instruments, do you have any other hidden talents?

Dan: My other instrument that I play is the pedal steel guitar, which is a country style instrument, there’ll be some touches of it on the new album.

At the time, things were a little dire. I decided to really put myself in a precarious financial situation…

BR: You moved from Brisbane to Melbourne 5 years ago, how was that transition?

Dan: At the time, things were a little dire. I decided to really put myself in a precarious financial situation where I didn’t have a 9 to 5 job. In the past, they’ve sort of gotten in the way of my music. There were some great times where I was working a lot, but also times where I was out of the job for weeks and well, frankly, very hungry.

I’m now comfortably living off music now, which is reassuring, there’s no shortage of work if you want it. The music scene is much bigger in Melbourne, and whats more is that the alt/country folk scene is really strong here with heaps of opportunities for instrumentalists.

BR: How are you feeling about returning to Brisbane with the tour?

Dan: I miss Brisbane all the time. When I left there was a touch of dissatisfaction with the place, mostly because of the relationships around me, but being away from Brisbane and having the perspective of a clear mind, I’ve come to respect it for what it is; it’s a sleepy town with great character.

BR: Will you travel abroad with the new material?

Dan: It’s the natural progression to take it overseas. In the past, America has been really accommodating for my type of music. I’ve been over there twice now, once for Musexpo and again with Kate Miller Heidke, which were some of my favourite shows. This album will be a good candidate to go over there again and just tour with my guitar, I’ve spent a lot of time crafting a solo show, so I can see myself booking a 20 show tour, selling some CDs. Without being facetious, you can really milk the whole Australian thing over there, they love it.

BR: We can’t wait to hear your new music and catch you at the live shows. All the best Dan.

Dan: Thanks Bridie, you too.

You can watch Dan Parsons play alongside Steve Grady at The Milk Factory on Saturday the 2nd of May.


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