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Dan Parsons Interview March 2011

Catherine May

Triangle

At just 22, Dan Parsons is already an established singer songwriter in his home country of Australia. Ahead of his arrival in the UK we caught up with him to discover more about him and his music…

MTTM: What’s made you want to venture over to the UK music scene? Are there any big differences between the Australian and UK music scenes?

Dan Parsons: Well, I have been fortunate enough to have been accepted to perform at The Great Escape Festival in Brighton.  I guess wanting to perform in the UK is quite natural when you’re an Australian- the same goes with the States, I guess.  It’s a progression many an Australian band/musician has made to develop their career.  This will be my first time in the UK, so I’m yet to find out what the scene is like.  After The Great Escape, I’m also playing Liverpool Sound City, The City Showcase in Shoreditch and some side shows in London so hopefully I will be able to tell you then- and in quite some detail!

MTTM: Who have been the greatest influences on your musical style?

Dan Parsons: To name a few I would have to say James Taylor, The Shins, Paul Simon, Wilco, Death Cab For Cutie and Joe Walsh’s second album The Player You Drink, The Smoker You Get.  The cover of the album features a British Sopwith Camel Fighter- I always thought that was pretty cool.

MTTM: You entered the music world at quite a young age and Firestarter has been said to map this journey from your childhood world into the future, is there anything that you’d like to tell your 17/18 year old self?

Dan Parsons: Open your ears and write everything down. 

MTTM: This year you embarked on a “50 first dates” tour and played shows all around Australia. What was your favourite memory from this tour?

Dan Parsons: Well, as I write this, I’m in Melbourne, Victoria.  We’re 3/4 of the way through the 50 First Dates tour.  There are more memories to come, but a favourite so far is when we played in Monto, Queensland.  There was this incredible gorge- ‘Cania Gorge’; we went for a swim and walked around.  We met some of the nicest people there too.  It was a quaint little town and the nature surrounding it, just amazing.

MTTM: What are you most looking forward to about your UK tour dates?

Dan Parsons: The idea of seeing a different part of the world whilst playing music.  I still can’t get over it.  The city intrigues me, but I gravitate more naturally to the countryside, so I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to check out some of the small country towns when I’m there.

MTTM: Does it feel strange to be launching Firestarter over here when you spent last year launching it in Australia?

Dan Parsons: Yes it does feel strange, but when you think about logically it makes perfect sense.  I’m proud of this album and I can’t wait to see how the English take to it.

MTTM: What made you choose to go down a new direction after Old Brown Shoe?

Dan Parsons: I felt like I’d played my acoustic guitar just a bit too much.  A lot of new influences integrated with existing influences, so I was just writing with that as my creative fuel, I guess.  When it came down to it, I just wanted to challenge myself- to see if I COULD do something like that if I wanted to.  It all came out very naturally and looking back on how I felt about my acoustic guitar, it’s really been the crux what I’ve done right from the beginning.

MTTM: Do you feel that having Firestarter as an iTunes Single of the Week and you being a part of Triple J’s Unearthed have put you in better stead with your musical career? Was one more important than the other for you?

Dan Parsons: Both have been great devices in getting my music (Firestarter, in particular) out to more listeners.  They were both just as important as each other- Triple J is a very respected radio station in Australia which gets out to a lot of people, and iTunes being one of the most popular mediums for music listening in the world; well that was a great thing too.  Both have definitely helped my career.  Thanks!