Dan Mangan Sheds More Light on New Studio Album with Blacksmith

Dan Mangan Sheds More Light on New Studio Album with Blacksmith
Photo: Sarah Murphy
Dan Mangan will apparently split the credit on his upcoming follow-up to 2011's Oh Fortune, reporting that his next album will be billed under Dan Mangan + Blacksmith.

Mangan revealed the news in a recent blog post detailing a 10-day stint at Vancouver's Warehouse studio in December. Regarding the as-yet-untitled LP, Mangan noted, "The whole collection feels like the work of a band, rather than a singer," leading to the co-billing.

"I'm fairly content to shed the "singer/songwriter" label," he wrote. "It's weird, because those are words that literally describe what it is that I'm doing, but the established social understanding of that term feels very limiting, and not indicative of how I feel about this music... Some time ago, I'd figured that the band had been such a crucial part of how this music has developed, they ought to have a name, but that it couldn't come from me."

Longtime drummer Kenton Loewen is credited with coming up with the band name, and Mangan quickly gave it a thumbs-up. "Modern life seems to have less and less craftsmanship that involves the kind of patience and focus I imagine a blacksmith to have," Mangan wrote.

Song details have not yet been delivered, but Mangan explained that the collaborative experience had him adding melodies and lyrics to material brought to the table by guitarist Gord Grdina and bassist John Walsh ("That was new for me," Mangan said).

An arrival time for the album has yet to be determined, with Mangan taking some time off from the songs before getting back together with producer Colin Stewart (Black Mountain).

"I like a slow process," Mangan added. "I've learned through making the other three albums that I enjoy having the time to both premeditate ideas and then also analyze them once they've been executed."

Meanwhile, Mangan is also scoring the upcoming Simon Pegg movie Hector and the Search for Happiness.

In an Exclaim! interview last fall, Mangan said of the projects, "I'm working on a new record and I'm demoing all of these new songs that are very much different from anything I've ever done before. At the very same time, I'm being asked to write all these songs that are slightly more in more old wheelhouse. It's like this push and pull. The music for the film is getting more and more sentimental, and the music for my record is getting less and less sentimental, so it's an interesting dichotomy."

Mangan also added that the tracks he was working on for his studio album had a "Radiohead-y Peter Gabriel vibe," saying, "There's not much about what I'm doing that's cute anymore. I'm kind of over cute. There was a time that I was really into cute, and I did cute pretty well. That's not really who I am now."