If you were ever struggling to find a cowboy costume for your next cowboy dress up party, I would point you in the direction of Dan Hannaford. Not only does he have the coolest cowboy clothes ever, but he also has the music to go with them. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Mr Hannaford to ask him all about his brand new album, playing for the President of Vanuatu and why his album cover is just too cool for school.
When did you start making music and why?
I started full time music about 6 years ago. I had a window cleaning business and I was gigging at the same time and there just came a day where I decided I couldn’t do it anymore. That was around the time I became a full time musician.
What is your favourite thing about performing?
There is so much to it! For me I think its the release, both emotionally, spiritually and physically. It’s also a chance for people to enter your world and for them to enter their world and share a moment. It doesn’t happen all the time but when it does, it’s pure magic.
What has been the biggest highlight in your career to date?
Man that’s a hard one! It depends what you’d call a highlight, but for me a highlight is when an audience is listening and receiving my music. To me that’s success and that’s where the magic is. I’ve done some really good gigs and festivals as well like the Byron Bay Bluesfest and Gympie Music Muster. I think another highlight would be that I’ve played for the President of Vanuatu which was pretty awesome.
What is the best album you have ever purchased?
The Battle of Los Angeles by Rage Against the Machine.
I understand you recorded at the ‘Honkey Abbey Studios’ in Los Angeles. Why did you decide to record there instead of in Australia?
It was just something I wanted to do. My music genre is very West Country/Americana and that’s where those sorts of songwriters such as Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash created their music. I guess it just felt right to record where those guys created the music that influences me and my music so much.
What’s your favourite song on your newly released album I Cried Bullets?
I can’t chose just one but if I had to narrow it down I’d say “Pay Day” which I really enjoy playing live and the second one would be “Shine your light”. “Shine your Light” is more about doing what you do, sharing your gift and connecting to people through that gift.
Is there a certain concept behind I Cried Bullets?
Yeah I guess the juxtapositioning of crying and bullets and how different they are. I found that the ‘bullets’ sort of represented the target of the songs while the ‘crying’ represented the expression and message that the song was trying to convey. Plus it has that cowboy and Americana feel to it which was what I was going for.
Yeah I really loved the Album Cover!
That was done by a guy called Jules Goodwin in Byron Bay. It’s actually me on the front cover when I was five years old. My mum or my Aunty took the photo and Jules took the photo and created the album cover with it. He’s really brilliant.
What would be your advice to an up and coming artist who wants to become a performer?
I can only speak from experience and I think the thing that really helped me was learning other people’s songs. When I was younger, I set myself a goal to learn 52 songs in a year. By the end of year I had 4 hours of content that I could go and gig with. I discovered while learning other people’s material you start to pick and choose your favourite parts to put into your own songs. I think that’s the best advice I can give is to keep it real and be influenced by other people but at the same time find who you are and present that. Also work really hard because you won’t get anywhere without hard work.
– EMMA WHINES
Check out Dan’s album at his Bandcamp site: https://danhannaford.bandcamp.com/releases