In the fading twilight of a mid-October evening, I made my way through the graffitied side streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn to Glasslands where I met up with musician Dan Croll. Before the sound check for his CMJ performance, we settled into the little leather couch on the tree house-like balcony of Glasslands, facing the obligatory disco ball to have a chat about his music project/”baby” – Dire Wolfe, marriage proposals, Nan (his grandma), the U.S. release of In / Out, THE glasses, and his spirit animal.
LISTEN HERE (starts at about 10:00)
Do you think you’ll ever revisit Dire Wolfe?
Dan: Dire Wolfe, man, I love that music. That was mostly me who wrote all of that. It was like my baby really, it really was…I wish I could play those tunes. Especially the first one we released – oh we didn’t even release anything really – the first song I wrote for Dire Wolfe was Come Home…I’ve thought about it actually…but I don’t know if it feels right doing that. I think I should leave what happened happen. You know, the past is the past.
How often do you get proposals?
Dan: Quite a few times now. We haven’t gotten the knee thing yet…stuff like that happens. I kinda invite that stuff to happen. Not proposals, but I love to – like these kind of shows are like my favorite shows – I love chattin’ to an audience whilst on stage. I almost like to take it a little bit awkward just to get people involved. You know I don’t want it to be a barrier between watching and listening so that when you finish a song it’s just like [awkward silence]. You wanna just have fun. I always ask people how their days have been. Try to get just people chattin’. There’s been a few gigs where like me and one person in the back of the audience has just had a conversation and everyone has felt rather involved in a way. You know, I love that. And I get good feedback for that.
His Grandma, Nan, in the Video for “Home”
Dan: She’s amazing. She is like my biggest inspiration. She’s inspired songs, may not directly be about her, but she’s always driven me to write songs and always driven me to keep at it even when I’ve not been doing too well. You know before I was signed there was a lot of ups and downs and whether to carry on and do a lot of stuff. She was the one who kinda focused me. I see her like nearly every weekend ‘cuz we both live in Liverpool. Apart from when I’m touring. I really do miss her a bit. So I see her so often that she’s quite a big part of my life in Liverpool. Yeah, she’s great. It was so great getting her to be part of the video.
What’s up with your glasses?
Dan: There’s a few people that are a bit like, “Oh…he only wears those glasses because he wants to be the hipster” and all of this crap. I’ve had these glasses longer than my career has been going…I’ve had to change the lenses three times, but I refuse to give up the frames ‘cuz I still enjoy them…These are lucky ones… They’ve kind of become my identity to my music.
Is “Wanna Know” supposed to be ironic?
Dan: It’s just about…I kinda wanted to take the idea of protective boyfriend going a bit too far in a way…It’s just about that really. It’s about that kind of stalkerish side of someone, very over-protective boyfriend who wanted to know where they always are, what they’re doing, texts them a million times a day and stuff…Nah it’s not me but it is a bit of a true story of mine – a few friends of mine. They who shall not be named.
What would you say is a general theme in your music?
Dan: I think if you go a bit deeper into it, there’s quite a mixture of relationships. You kind of got the stalker side of it, just a general kind of like, poppier, lovey dovey side to it. There’ s a new one that’s going to be on the album called “Sweet Disarray” which is about my relationship with my grandma. [Not his Nan. The other grandma.]
What is your Spirit Animal?
Dan: [After much debate.] One of my favorite animals is a narwhal. I’d love to be a narwhal.
Narwhal it is. Thanks Dan for spending some time before your show to sit down and talk to us here at The Giggs!