Dan Patlansky is the gem of the South African blues scene, grafting from his teens and pounding the pavements since his 1st album release back in 1999, his hard work finally paid off with the 2014 release of ‘Dear Silence Thieves’ gaining international applause and a whole new fan base in the UK / Europe and further afield. His 2016 follow up ‘Introvertigo’ was an astounding continuation and further cemented his position as one of the hottest six string slingers around. His sound deeply rooted in thick blues-rock, dripping in Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan influences, with his own melodic twist it’s a mammoth sound that you simply cannot ignore. ‘Introvertigo’ was one of our favourite albums of 2016 there simply isn’t a bad track on it.
Relentless is his work ethic, Dan hits the UK at the start of May following a European tour to promote ‘Introvertigo’ and appease the huddled masses of the UK blues scene. I got the opportunity to chat with Dan before hitting the road once again.
RnL – Dan thanks for joining us here at Rock n’ Load – Tell me, how does a young kid from South Africa find his feet so deeply rooted in the blues?
DP – For me I grew up in a house that my parents constantly listened to the blues, not just blues but classic rock, funk and jazz. When I started playing guitar at the age of 12 blues just seemed to be the most natural thing for me to play cos I grew up listening to that.
RnL – Growing up in South Africa, apart from your parents was there much exposure to the blues out there?
DP – To buys albums for sure, you could just go to the local record store to pick them up but South Africa didn’t really have a blues scene, not a live one anyway. So you relied on the LP’s etc to get to the music and eventually we caught up and you’d see some local blues bands popping up and it started becoming a thing.
RnL – So where did you as a young musician learn to cut your teeth?
DP – Yeah I started off with a school band, we were always doing battle of the bands etc and that then lead to a cover band, a pub band right, which they never done anything even remotely close to the blues but it was a great learning experience. It was the first paid gigs I got which was an exciting thing, getting paid to play music. That worked for about a year or so before I started to do my own thing, I then took to the road playing gigs where ever I could and got a few regular spots playing residencies and that’s really where I fine tuned my craft.
RnL – What about the geography of South Africa – Is there a national radio station that helps put the music out across the country or is it really a case of just pounding the miles to get your name out there?
DP – The radio station in South Africa is pretty much a commercial one, so we got little or no airplay there. So we just hit the van and toured and tried to a few times a year go back to the same towns / cities and slowly but surely build a fan base. The great thing at the time was that I was still young living at home, so I didn’t have any real financial responsibilities to tie me down and I was able to graft away for a long time earning very little money while we built up a name for ourselves.
RnL – What role did Selwyn Millar (South African / New Orleans based Manager) play in your musical career?
DP – Selwyn was a South African band manager who managed the likes of Bread and Petulia Clarke, he took me across to New Orleans around 2005 and introduced me to the music scene over there. I played with some really cool musicians and we did a couple of shows. We unfortunately went across at the worst possible time as Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans about 3 months after we arrived and that put a halt to our plans for touring etc, but I really enjoyed my time there, played with some great musicians and supported some great bands and I learnt a lot from my short time in the states.
RnL – You released your very 1st album way back in 1999 but is it fair to say that international acclaim really only followed after the release of ‘Dear Silence Thieves’ in 2014?
DP – Yeah without a doubt, that album really opened up new doors for us especially in the UK. Everything that came before that was more localised to South Africa, we would tour around S.A and maybe the odd other country but for sure with ‘Dear Silent Thieves’ we put together a team that would help us achieve that next level and reach the likes of the UK and the rest of Europe.
RnL – I’m sure you felt that with ‘Dear Silent Thieves’ the bar had been raised and set a new stall for the likes of ‘Introvertigo’ and beyond?
DP- Absolutely, we worked really hard to get a feel and a sound with ‘Dear Silent Theives’ that we were happy with and one that worked for us going forward through ‘Introvertigo’ and future albums.
RnL – You went back into the studio once again with Theo Crous, you obviously felt you had created a little bit of magic together with ‘Dear Silent Thieves’ that you wanted to continue with ‘Introvertigo’
DP – Yeah I think that if you find yourself a good producer its important to stick with him especially when you work well together. The interesting thing about Theo is that he is not a rock-blues producer at all, he’s actually a commercial pop producer back in South Africa. We would spend a lot of time fighting in the studio, but I find that very constructive as he brings out elements of the song writing better than most people could as he comes from that kind of world, I’ll bring the roots kind of stuff to the table and we seem to have a really good working relationship and I think I will milk that until we cant anymore.
RnL – So how did you approach ‘Introvertigo’ do you write organically all the time, or do you set aside time to write for a new album?
DP – We always spend a lot of time on the road and I’ve always battled to write while on tour, so I would generally set aside some time to do that more so to get my head into a writing frame of mind, than a performing frame of mind. It can take a few days for that to happen, we usually set aside a month or so before we hit the studio to dedicate time to write as many songs as we can before we lay down any tracks.
RnL – Your tone on ‘Introvertigo’ is absolutely beautiful, especially on tracks like ‘Heartbeat’ and ‘Bet On Me’ – Is that something that you have fine tuned through time or something that you worked on with Theo for the recording?
DP – Yeah well it’s definitely a time thing for me, It’s like the most important thing to me next to the song, if I cant achieve a nice tone for playing live then it’s a really tough day at the office for me. So I spend a lot of time dedicated to finding that right tone, through various pedal, guitars, amps and sometimes when you hit the studio it can be quite hit and miss. You can find yourself working really hard to get the sound to work because the room is so dead, but we were fortunate recently as the room tended to lend itself to those sounds.
RnL – Do you have to hold yourself back when recording guitar solos on the albums or do you just know when you’ve nailed it?
DP – I always try to keep the solos on the album a lot shorter than I would live, a liv environment tends to lend itself better for a drawn out solo, but an album is a product and I think of a solo as a little gift to the listener.
RnL – Do you have any personal favourites from the album that you really enjoy playing live?
DP – Playing live, Still ‘Wanna Be Your Man’ and my favourite on the album is ‘Heartbeat’
RnL – The album was received with rave reviews – What has the last 12 months brought from that?
DP – We’ve seen a growth in our fan base, we have been able to take it on the road more and further afield and the crowds have grown each time we come back so it’s all good.
RnL – The UK / European tour is just around the corner for you, do you find the crowds on this side of the pond different to back home?
DP – Yeah we have a great fan base back home but I definitely find that the UK and European audiences would be better educated in the genre, they know what they’re listening to and they know what they like, so definitely a more discerning audience than back home. That is fantastic, it helps me raise my game and that’s a great thing.
RnL – Have you ever been tempted to relocate from South Africa to the UK or Europe to further your career?
DP – Maybe a few years back but now I have a family, wife and kids so that move now would be quite difficult.
RnL – With the digital age have you as an artist been able to embrace it or do you find it hard keeping up with all its demands?
DP – Well it is a tough thing trying to keep up with it, but as an artist in today’s digital age to have any kind of success you have to adapt, I think that’s key and if you fall behind you can miss out on the trends in the music industry.
RnL – Looking ahead for yourself do you have any goals or aspirations moving forward?
DP – For sure man, ideally we want to build our fan base in the UK and Europe and play to bigger crowds, we’re not too focused on the likes of the US until we fully establish ourselves in Europe and have that running smooth. For me personally it’s just to continue doing what I do.
RnL – So the album dropped roughly a year ago, which can be a long time in a musicians life, do you guys have another album lined up for the end of this year?
DP – Yeah we are going to hit the studio when we get back off the tour when we get back to South Africa, will hope to lay down some tracks and that album all being well should be released this time next year.
RnL – Awesome & Sauce.
I’d like to thank Dan for taking to the time out of his busy schedule to talk with Rock n’ Load – Below are the dates for his upcoming UK tour with the amazing Ash Wilson in support, another fine UK blues guitarist with a bright future ahead.
The new single is taken from Patlansky’s current album INTROVERTIGO which was recently voted the #1 Blues Rock Album of 2016 by the Blues Rock Review. This marks the second time Patlansky has been voted #1 in Blues Rock Reviews’ Top 20 Albums Polls. The first time was in 2014 with his previous studio album Dear Silence Thieves which featured the rock radio singles Backbite and Fetch Your Spade. This marks Dan’s first UK tour since he supported King King in 2016, and Joe Satriani’s 2015 Shockwave UK/European tour.
Watch the official music video for “Sonnova Faith” here – https://youtu.be/zru0EUGdGOA.
Watch Dan talking about the making of the “Sonnova Faith” video in the official EPK here – https://youtu.be/-3KJ52011-g.
Patlansky’s special guest is Lincolnshire-based singer-songwriter Ash Wilson, who releases his debut album Broken Machine on April 21st, and is hailed as one of the UK’s most exciting new guitarist and singer-songwriters around.
INTROVERTIGO UK TOUR
With special guest
24 HOUR BOX OFFICE – 0844 478 0898
Mr. Kyps, Poole
Saturday 15 April 2017
Book Online: SeeTickets.com
Box Office: 01202 748 945
8a Parr Street Lower Parkstone Poole, Dorset, BH14 0JY
HRH Blues Festival
Sunday 16 April 2017
Box Office: 0203 287 4994
37-43 Arundel Gate, Sheffield S1 2PN
Islington O2 Academy, London
Tuesday 2 May 2017
Ticket Price: £16.50 / 24 Hour Box Office: 0844 478 0898
Book Online: thegigcartel.com
N1 Centre, 16 Parkfield Street, Islington, London, N1 0PS
Manchester Deaf Institute
Wednesday 3 May 2017
Tickets Price: £16.50 / 24 Hour Box Office: 0844 478 0898
Cardiff The Globe
Thursday 4 May 2017
Ticket Price: £16.50 / Box Office: 0844 478 0898
Book Online: thegigcartel.com
125 Albany Rd, South Glamorgan, CF24 3NS
Bristol The Tunnels
Friday 5 May 2017
Ticket Price: £16.50 / 24 Hour Box Office: 0844 478 0898
The Factory, Barnstaple
Saturday 6 May 2017
Tickets: £13.00 / Box Office: 07446 692 751
Book Online: Underground Tickets
The Factory, Petroc Brannams Campus, Oakwood Close,
Roundswell, Barnstaple, Devon EX31 3NJ
Dan Patlansky Online
Official Website: www.danpatlansky.com
Ash Wilson Online
Official Website: www.ashwilsonmusic.com