I went into hibernation. At least to the extent that I find myself capable of hibernating. The more still my body, the more frantic my mind. I wrote a lot of songs. I tried some different kinds of musical wanderings that beat the shit out of me (in a good way).
I went for many walks with a small human who just became a year old and is likely the coolest person I know. He is incapable of veiling his emotions or falsely acting in any manner that doesn’t come by him naturally. He has no projected self-image. It is noble to watch.
I worked very hard with my pal Jesse Zubot on the score for a film called Hector And The Search For Happiness. It will see its wide cinematic debut on October 3rd, 2014. The process was difficult for me. Largely because I’m a giant baby and I like things to be exactly as I want them. I learned a lot about collaboration. And about listening.
I’m very happy with the music in the film. Jesse was imperative to the process. I think it really is a film worth seeing. I think it could resonate with a lot of people. It reminds me of the 1980’s films of Rob Reiner or John Hughes. The films I grew up on. The Princess Bride, Stand By Me, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Like these films, Hector is a touching and accessible narrative, but any time it gets too sentimental, you forgive it because it’s deftly crafted with wit and sincerity. The director, Peter Chelsom, is a wonderful man. He’s very funny. He works very hard. The cast is stellar: Simon Pegg, Toni Collette, Rosamund Pike, Christopher Plummer, Jean Reno, Stellan Skarsgård.
I made an album. I made the best album I’ve ever made.
We made the best album we’ve ever made. I can’t even tell you what it’s called or when it will be released. What a jerkface, I am. But I can tell you that from now on the band previously known as Dan Mangan will be called Dan Mangan + Blacksmith. It was about time the guys got their own moniker. We worked with Colin Stewart again. He is just the best. He knows what I’m saying before I think it, usually.
All will be laid on the table soon enough. For now, I just want you to know that I feel creatively satisfied. Even if nobody out there in the world likes this album, I’ll sleep well for a good while. I got a lot of words off my chest. A lot of sounds off my shoulders. It feels like a new chapter. One I’d been waiting a while to read.
I started a record label called Madic Records. It’s a label imprint of Arts & Crafts, the folks who put out our music. I started this venture because of my pal Matthew Swann. After his old band Hot Little Rocket disbanded, he’d put out some music under the name Extra Happy Ghost !!!, and recorded with one of my favourite creative minds, Chad Vangaalen. He changed gears again and more recently recorded 12 thoughtful, honest and slightly demented songs under the name Astral Swans.
I wanted to help the world hear these songs because they are too good to go unheard. We put out a 7″ in February called You Carry A Sickness / Park Street. There are ten more songs on the way. We’ll put out an LP in the fall. I listen to these songs all the time at home. They keep getting better and working their way deeper into my mind. He has a way of singing about nothing and everything at the same time. Of personal narrative and societal mishap simultaneously.
We’re not doing any proper touring, but we ARE playing a handful of festivals coming up. Some shows haven’t been announced yet, but are forthcoming.
Jun 14 // Burnaby, BC // TIX
CBC Music Festival @ Deer Lake Park w/ Tegan & Sara, Spoon, Arkells, Hannah Georgas, Chad Vangaalen & more
Jun 27-29 // Port Renfrew, BC // TIX
Tall Trees Festival w/ The Dudes, Bear Mountain & more
Jul 4 // Sun Peaks, BC // FREE
Sun Peaks Resort
Aug 22-23 // Elora, ON // TIX
Riverfest w/ Blue Rodeo, Serena Ryder, Arkells, Charles Bradley, Elliott Brood & more
You’re the bestest pal a guy could have. I miss you.