British singer-songwriter Dan Croll kept his word and rescheduled all of his previously postponed U.S. tour dates, including San Francisco, where he visits Rickshaw Stop for a special Tuesday edition of Popscene on October 8.
Croll has a distinct indie pop style with electronic influences, folk melodies and hints of afro drum beats. He has been hard at work this summer on his first full-length album and plans to support both Bastille and Imagine Dragons on their respective Fall European tours. We reached out to the Liverpool musician back in June before his change in tour plans to ask about his personal upbringing, meeting Paul McCartney and musical tastes.
What musicians have influenced you the most, both past and present?
Past for me, it’s kinda odd, but Burt Bacharach, Brian Wilson and Paul Simon. Present, I’ve been having phases of going though acts like Beirut, Dirty Projectors, Grizzly Bear, David Palmer, A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul—a lot of difference influences.
You are only 22 years old. What do you see yourself doing when you are 40 years old?
I hope I’m just…[long pause]…I don’t know. I quite a content guy where I am at the moment. I didn’t expect to be doing this well.
If you could collaborate with one musician, who would it be?
That’s pretty hard because I have a lot of influences and listen to a lot of different music. Well, my hero is like Paul Simon. That would be an obvious choice. I would quite like to do a collaboration with Deerhoof—something quite heavy—or with an R&B artist.
There are quite a few remixes of your songs available. Do you have any plans to record remixes?
It’s definitely crossed my mind. I’ve been asked to do a couple, but it’s been hard at the moment. I definitely want to make some time for it. It is something that really interests me and is important to me. All of the remixes of my songs are by very good friends. It’s nice to hear someone’s take on your songs.
How did you hear about Communion Records, an artist-led organization formed by Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons?
I was never signed, but I was on one of their compilation albums. I knew the guys before they turned it into a record label. They used to run certain gigs at night in England. They just approached me a long time ago to play some gigs in London. We struck up a really good friendship. They started turning into a record label, released that compilation that I was on. We have kinda been working together since and kept in good touch.
You currently perform with up to seven-piece multi-instrumental band. Is it tough to perform with a band that big?
The band used to be eight or nine people two years ago when I wasn’t doing that much touring. I was just around Liverpool, which was very easy to do because it didn’t take much money. As soon as I wanted to start touring and moving about the country, I had to reduce the band down to just five people. Financially, it’s incredibly hard to take eight or nine people on the road. It’s hard to take five on the road, but we make it happen.
The rest of my band I’ve known for five years. They’re really good guys, very talented musicians, all playing more than one instrument. They are also background singers as their harmonies are very much part of my music. They are all very respectful guys. They are very supportive of my music and pushing me. Some have their own solo music as well. We all very much understand and push each other forward.
How was your previous visit to San Francisco and your show at the Independent back in March?
Before the show, I definitely have memories of San Francisco. That was the place I always most looked forward to visiting. I’ve always been intrigued by San Francisco. It’s an amazing place. It was a really nice gig and the first show we did with Chvrches. It was really nice to meet them and it went really well.
What do you miss most from the UK when you are abroad?
Family, I suppose. Back in March was my first time in America and there was nothing that made me homesick. I was excited to go out on an adventure. Maybe once I do it a few times and I start to get bored of it I’ll get homesick. But I’m very much excited to go on the road.
You are currently working on your first full-length album for release later this year. Why did you record your album in an abandoned school gym in Liverpool equipped with an old badminton court and climbing ropes
It was a very last minute decision. We were going to do it in my home at first. We had a lot of government cuts that merged a lot of the schools together. So there was just an empty school; it had just been left. But the Church attached to it they wanted to maintain, so they gave the keys to pop in each day to make sure it’s OK. The guardian happened to be one of our good friends and allowed us into the gym to get setup there. It also had some cool, long corridors. When you get no one else in the building, it is just perfect. It just echoes. There are some cool rooms in that place.
Any hints or previews as to what we can expect in terms of sound and style?
It is very much like my music taste—quite jumpy. I’d say the album is maybe more of a mixtape in a way. It’s me taking on a lot of my influences and different genres, trying to capture all of those into different tracks. A lot of artists can make an album that can sound very linear, [where] every track sounds the same, [and] it’s recorded in same place with the same person. We moved around to a lot to different places, over a long period with different influences. I would say different is good.
Dan Croll performs October 8 at Rickshaw Stop. Tickets are $14 and the show starts at 9pm.