Interview | Dan Patlansky – SA Blues Rock Maestro
Acclaimed South African Bluesman Dan Patlansky is currently bringing his unique mix of rock, funk and blues music to Europe and he’s heading back to the UK for tour which takes him to England, Scotland and – Wales – he’s going to be playing The Globe in Cardiff on Tuesday 7th June. His latest album, Introvertigo is out on Caroline International. He spoke to Jeremy on Soul of The Blues
JR: Hi Dan, thanks for taking time out to talk to us. You’ve just completed a tour with the mighty King King last month and you’ve gone straight into headlining your own , that must be a pretty tough schedule?
DP: Yes it certainly is! The tour with King King was fantastic – what an incredible live act and band, they are definitely one of my favorite bands of late. It was just fantastic to be on the road with them, and to be exposing myself to their fairly wide fan base, so that was great. And now we are starting the headline tour with the full show of Introvertigo and a whole bunch of other stuff – I can’t wait.
JR: Congratulations on the album – came out on May 6th and its been getting terrific reviews – let me ask you about the title – IntroVertigo – what does that mean?
DP: Introvertigo is something I actually stumbled upon while browsing the web about six months ago. It’s a certain feeling an introvert gets when he spends more than 5 minutes with an extrovert, it’s kind of a dizzy feeling you get. I don’t know if its an official dictionary term but its something that rang a bell with me. I think I am at heart an introvert, and I’ve had that ‘introvertigo feeling’ quite often in my life speaking with certain people – its a feeling like your soul is being sucked out of your body – so yeh, I thought it would be a fitting title for the album.
JR: I think I’m right in saying this is your 8th full album and has 10 new songs?
DP: Yes that is dead correct
JR: You wrote most of the songs yourself, with a couple of collaborations – How do you go about putting a new song together?
DP: I know its different for every musician, I think for me it starts with a small idea – whether its a riff, or a chord progression, or a basic little melody. It could be something that crops up in an improvised section of a show, or in a soundcheck – or just fooling about with the guitar at home. It always happens naturally, little ideas that spark of a song idea will develop eventually into a song. On the last album we had a year to write – it wasn’t exactly a ‘rush period’ in fact it felt quite comfortable to write when an idea came about, and that what we did with IntroVertigo, its the best way to do it – it kind of happens naturally. I’m kind of chuffed about it.
JR: The previous album Dear Silence Thieves was a big success – it was very well received and took your music to a new level, did that put any pressure on you when you were writing IntroVertigo?
DP: Yes, without a doubt. The success of Dear Silence Thieves was there in the back if my mind – I knew we had to follow it up with a really decent album, but when it actually came down to writing the songs I had to forget about that. I think that kind of pressure can only be detrimental to songwriting, so it was a case of saying “let me write the best possible song I can without any thoughts of the last album”. It was sometimes tough to get into that headspace, but I think I managed to and the songs really came out. So, it was a case of trying to forget about Dear Silence Thieves – that was the biggest challenge.
JR: You had the same Producer for this album and the last one, and you’ve clearly got a strong working partnership.
DP: Yes, Theo Crouse is a fantastic guy. One main reason is he doesn’t often produce Blues Rock music – he’s a commercial producer back home in South Africa, possibly top of his game there in that world. I’m coming to the studio with Blues Rock songs and he’s putting his touch – making them more palatable for him, and we’re kinda meeting half-way without compromising anything. So he’s happy with the album and arrangements and so am I, and I think that’s a fantastic kind of marriage if you will. No-ones compromising at all, but we are finding this fantastic middle ground – and I think that’s what gives the album such a unique sound.
JR: You are famous with people who are mad about guitars for ‘Old Red’ – your 1962 Strat, which I know has a tale or two attached to it, did you use that on the new album?
DP: Yes, in fact I think I’ve used that on seven of my eight album releases. It really has been my number one guitar for the past sixteen years, in fact anything else really feels foreign in my hands. I’ve been playing it for so long that it really feels like an extension of my body almost. It’s always the first choice.
JR: Am I right in thinking that you’ve been plating that from a very young age, was it 16?’
DP: I bought that guitar in 2000 when I’d have been 19 years of age – so 16 years ago. It was only the very first album that I recorded in 1999 that I didn’t use that guitar on – otherwise every single album I’ve used that guitar.
JR: And are you bring it on tour with you?
DP: Yes it will be in all the live shows, like I say anything else feels really strange in my hands these days.
JR: Aside from ‘Old Red’ who’s on the tour with you?
DP: Well its my normal touring live band, on Drums its a guy called Andy Maritz, on the Bass Guitar its Clint Falconer – and those two guys have been with me for the last seven years, road and studio – and we have a brand new addition to the band. We’ve been touring as a three piece for as long as I can remember, and now we’ve added a fourth member of the band in the form of a keyboardist – his name is Dean Barrett, and he’s been with us since January this year, so he’s a fairly new addition to the band but he definitely makes a massive difference to the sound and the production – especially live.
Dan Patlansky plays Cardiff on Tuesday 7th May at The Globe
Dan’s UK Tour Dates in June 2016:
7th – Globe – Cardiff
9th – The Jazz Cafe – London
10th – Leek Arts – Leek
11th – Real Time – Derbyshire
12th – Live Rooms – Chester