Dan Reed (Dan Reed Network) – Fighting Another Day
Dan Reed originally formed the Dan Reed Network in Portland, Oregon, United States in the 198os to both public and critical acclaim which resulted in packed out local clubs. Since then, Dan Reed Network have cut several albums with their most recent ‘Fight Another Day’ being released by Frontiers Music SRL in June 2016.
With an extensive 11-date headline UK tour for March 2017 imminent, frontman Dan Reed kindly sat down for an interview with JLTT. Enjoy…
- Could you please tell me about the music video for your new track ‘Champion’? What was your/the band’s thought process?
I wrote this small bio below about the video yesterday regarding all that’s behind the clip, regarding our thought process… It really started off as an idea to have the band in full silhouette with ‘film’ of different people from around the world, but Dan Pred, the director, and drummer in DRN thought it would be more powerful using still photographs since the band was in motion. I liked that idea and both he and I began searching for images of people who had a captivating intention in their eyes, a certain weight. I was very fortunate to run across famed photographer ‘Lee Jeffries’ work, contacted him and was given permission to license 12 photographs from his awe inspiring collection of photographs of homeless people from Manchester, England.
‘Champion’ deals with the concept that we are what we eat, not just physical health but our soul’s well being. The song is about surrounding ourselves with people that feed our dreams, support and push us to be more creative, more alive and enjoying the ride. Often times we find ourselves surrounded by cynicism, anger, even fear… and it can have a really negative effect on our own drive and intention. Champion is about getting high from those you have in your circle of friends in your private and business life, and sidelining the shadows that all too often throw us down the road to apathy. The concept of the video is to portray the intensity in the eyes of people for every walk of life. Having the band performing in front of the rear projected screens was to immerse those of us who wrote and will be performing this song live was to visually state we all live in this bubble of light where every person we meet brings new insights, lessons, strength… and if we’re lucky, wisdom.
We are especially honoured to have been granted permission by well known and admired photographer ‘Lee Jeffries’ to use some of his disarming and enlightening photographs of people who call the street their home. Juxtaposing Jeffries’ images with images of people who clearly have a more affluent life felt healing in some way. We then had the opportunity to shoot in an airport hanger near our home town of Portland, Oregon, and this spoke to the idea that we are all just aviators and passengers in this world… presenting many different souls on the screens in that setting took on a new meaning. Flying off in to the sunset, where tomorrow will bring new adventures.
- Dan Reed Network will be embarking on an extensive UK Tour in March 2017. With so many releases how do you choose a setlist?
That’s a great question! We always struggle with what to play live because we have 5 studio albums to date, a ton of b-sides people keep requesting, so it’s a difficult process. Of course we in the band would love to play all new tracks since they are the most challenging since we don’t have a history with them, and we like a challenge, but we also enjoy paying homage to the past and rockin’ the old tunes as well. So for this tour we plan on play a rather long set so that we can play all the classic DRN material as well as 5 or 6 of the new songs.
- Which two things have you learned NEVER to do on stage?
One thing I’ve learned to never do is to not get upset with any technical difficulties, and instead make them in to some form of comedic moment for ourselves and the audience. Not to take things too seriously and to remember there will always be problems on stage. Once you let those things get under your skin the whole vibe of the show goes down the tube. The second thing is to always remember what city you are in! I’ve seen many lead singers thank the wrong city, and even though we musicians travel a lot and it can get hazy as to where and when you are existing it’s important to respect those who left their home, bought tickets, parked their car or took public transit to at the very least remember and respect their home town.
- Name a track – any artist or genre – with a memorable drum introduction
Led Zepplin – Rock and Roll… always loved that intro, and always will. Jon Bonham was a drumming god! He told a million stories in the gravitas and simplicity of all his massive beats.
- Is travel a bore for you or an inspiration?
Being on the road has become a meditation for me in many ways. I look at all the traveling, sound checks, airports, train station, hotels, and the waiting as part of the process of getting to those couple of hours on stage and meeting those who attended the shows. It’s all part of a symbiotic relationship that allows us to create, record, release and perform live new music. To be bored with that part of the process can mean certain death for the heart and soul of artists who pine for being only in the studio, creating.
- The album cover for your new release ‘Fight Another Day’ is very much in the style of a videogame. Do you have a favourite videogame soundtrack? If so, why that one in particular?
Oddly enough any video game I’ve come to play I always disable the music because as a musician it’s distracting listening to the music while trying to save the galaxy at the same time, so I draw a blank on this question 🙂
- Describe your hometown
I was born in Portland, Oregon, moved to a farm in South Dakota at the age of 8, then moved back again to Portland when I was 19… so in essence I have to homes I grew up, however, I would say being born in Portland it is what I fondly refer to as my home town. Portland has changed a lot over the last decade, with hundreds of thousands of people moving there from all over the US recently. It’s part of the problem when your city is voted the ‘most liveable city’ in America year after year. I’ve been away from Portland for going on 14 years now, but go back at least once a year to visit with friends, record and perform. It was once a city that had tons of live music venues and healthy competition between all the bands and artists that performed at these venues. DRN grew up in that environment. Those days have been replaced mostly with DJ club, pick up bars, ect. but I will say Portland is one of the most open minded liberal cities in the US surrounded by some of the most breathtaking nature the world has to offer… the pacific ocean to the West, the Cascade mountain range to the East, lakes and rivers are abundant, and the city is filled with great restaurants and artisan shops. And of course there are about a million coffee shops and beer breweries!
- Suggest an acoustic gem that bears repeated listening. (Artist /title/source album)
‘Sweet Baby James’ by James Taylor from the album ‘Sweet Baby James’… I could say the same about 10 James Taylor’s songs.
- What are your favourite recorded performances by James Brown and Marvin Gaye? Did you see either artist perform?
Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’… a beautifully pained song about the challenging times of his day. And for James Brown I would have to say ‘Get Up Offa That Thing’ which is pure energy designed to make your body and soul groove all night… all your life for that matter!
- Could you please tell me about the track ‘Divided’
Having always been fascinated by what unites the human race rather than what sets us apart I really wanted to compose a song that addressed this issue but with a hard edge and in your face, not unlike the conflicts we experience in real life. The idea of the track really started coming together in 2015 when witnessing the division happening in the US of those who supported Donald Trump’s message of building walls and preventing Muslims from entering the US, a message of blaming minorities for our problems based in fear, while at the same time Bernie Sanders message of inclusion, economic fairness, and using compassion as a weapon was gaining traction. Two very different points of view from ‘outsiders’ in the political realm capturing the hearts and imaginations of the majority of US citizens was intriguing, and most likely not an accident. Not all that different than the case of Hitler and Gandhi, both with very different messages while both being alive and wildly influential at the same time in history. ‘Divided’ almost wrote itself over the course of two days as I felt compelled to ask the question- Are we born to always be at odds with each other… is it some form of balance that is always present and imperative, or can we as a human race find a path where empathy, understanding and an acceptance of that which we don’t understand but can embrace becomes a tangible reality?
- How do you look after your voice? Any secrets or recommendations?
I do some vocal warm ups, but not much… only if my voice is in trouble do I revert back to vocal chord maintenance and do my proper vocal exercises, which thankfully to date has not been too much of a problem. The most important thing for vocalists is to get as much sleep as possible after a performance and to ‘try’ not to talk too much in loud clubs after the show. This can singlehandedly take a vocalist down.
- Name a track that makes you laugh (intentionally or otherwise!)
YYZ by Rush… I always smile and am amused by the thought – ‘What goes on in the minds of those three stellar musicians to come up with this insane time signature madness?!’
Glenn Sargeant & Pete Sargeant
(Many thanks to Dan Reed for his time, answers and kind words)
Dan Reed Network’s new studio album ‘Fight Another Day’ is out now on Frontiers Music SRL.
For more information visit the band’s official website here: http://bit.ly/2iq9aWQ
Read our review of Dan Reed Network’s June 2016 show at 100 Club, London United Kingdom: http://bit.ly/1Yx22GR
Feature Image Credit: Laurence Harvey at Harv’s Photography
Additional Photography Credit: Amanda Rose
Dan Reed Network will be embarking on an 11-date UK Tour in March 2017 at the following venues:
Wednesday 1st March 2017 – Level 3 Club, Swindon, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2hVTSsP
Friday 3rd March 2017 – Warehouse 23, Wakefield, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2iT55ZO
Saturday 4th March 2017 – Live Rooms, Chester, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2hUffHG
Sunday 5th March 2017 – The Globe, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2hVPnP7
Tuesday 7th March 2017 – The Cluny, Newcastle, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2j7Kdx3
Wednesday 8th March 2017 – Oran Mor, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2iThQ6C
Friday 10th March 2017 – 100 Club, London, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2iEFUw2
Saturday 11th March 2017 – Local Authority, Sheffield, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2iEARvV
Sunday 12th March 2017 – The Robin 2, Bilston, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2hHu98R
Tuesday 14th March 2017 – The Ruby Lounge, Manchester, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2blnShv
Wednesday 15th March 2017 – Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2iepQy1