Monday, 16 February 2009

Hype: A Trinity Of Ghosts Destined To Meet

Things have been pretty hectic since the new year, but things are slowly getting back on track. I caught up with ex-Bolt Action Five member Dan Murtha on new projects, Eno and sandwiches...

So it's almost a year since BAF called it a day, what have you been doing?
I did the Kissy Sell Out album which is coming out in April, went to Australia for two weeks, grew facial hair and started Danimal Kingdom. It took ages to settle on the name Danimal Kingdom - that actually paralysed my music for a couple of months- I had to have a name before I could write any more music. Actually, I should go on record and say BAF actually split on NYE 2007. Not a pretty scene, I can tell you.

Are you still in touch with the others?

I actually met up with them last week. they were playing a show as their new band. but that was pretty much the first time we'd spoken more than a sentence to each other since BAF.

It was Tobias and I who wrote all of the BAF music, and I think we'll get together later in 2009 and hopefully get all the tracks down to a decent quality - just so we have closure - and finish off a few incomplete songs and give it away as a retrospective.

So Kissy Sell Out is a big fan, I presume that's carried on from when he remixed Tree Friend Tree Foe?

Yes I think that's where it really kicked off between us. In fact my desire to leave was partly galvanised by Kissy Sell Out asking if I wanted to co-write his album with him- it meant I had some goals to attain while I was prepping Danimal. As you say, he'd done a remix for BAF, which him and I recorded extra stuff for, so we'd worked a bit together and I think he liked my work.

What's the plan for SXSW?

Buy a big ten gallon hat and talk all 'furny-like' all weekend, of course. That and hang out with exactly the same people who I hang out with over here because the whole thing is SO INBRED! in a grand way. And party party party.

But you know what? I don't even know which venues we're playing! I'm six months into this Danimal thing and I already have no idea. Kissy and I are playing some places and parties, and anything Danimal does will be totally unofficial so it's a matter of wheedling in on party line ups. I'm on it but if anyone's doing a party out there and likes me they should let me know!

What are the three things that influence your music most?
It sounds a bit "u-huh, yeah right" but it's actually a bunch of things I didn't expect. I went into Danimal with about 20 songs I'd written that were 'too pop' for BAF, but as I was learning how to produce I was developing my sound, as I still am.

I think Brian Eno is a big one. I don't even own any Eno records, but I realised that a couple of my favourite albums were produced by him, and then I remembered he'd worked with Toto on the Dune soundtrack. The Dune soundtrack is definitely a big influence. I love the novel, I love the film's art direction and I love that album.

I have to say Devo are important too, not necessarily musically but having them on my iTunes reminds me that they did some amazing pop records, but they also did really stupid, irreverent songs. It's knowing you don't have to take everything very seriously that helps me finish songs. Plus their time signatures are good.

Thirdly, anything that puts my head into a different place is great. So for me that's bath time and 90s computer games. Not necessarily playing them, but thinking about how they were constructed. Most of the game genres that make all the money these days were developed in the early 90s, the 'golden age', so when you see a game like Another World or Doom and you think about what these guys were thinking when they were making them, coding this new technology, working with their limitations and at the same time pushing boundaries.

It makes me go back to the drawing board and think about what I really want from my music. It's in the spirit of pioneers in any field of endeavour, and it really is inspiring. I'm always taking things away from my music, stripping stuff back, chipping away at the EQ if needs be.

Are there any collaborations with artists/producers or remixes that we should look out for?
There's certainly a wish list, and people seem to be happy to make them come true at the moment which is very nice and very welcome. I shouldn't speak too soon but I may be working with a couple of my heroes quite soon, which is probably the best thing about doing music. I did a track with The Aston Shuffle recently who are thoroughly pleasant young men, and there's a couple of other artist collabs in the works, but keep your eyes peeled.

What does the future hold for Danimal Kingdom?
Hopefully a record deal that doesn't totally dice my bum into meaty chunks, publishing with a good publisher, a tour of Europe and the US, and a debut album. But for the time being, I've just made a sandwich and that's fucking awesome.


Check out Dan's fantastic new project Danimal Kingdom and feast your ears on the wonderful Through The Ice and Good As Gold demos as well as an amazing cover of DFA 1979's modern thrash-classic Too Much Love.

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