RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW LONDON ARTIST DAN HATTON
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
Music’s been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. I grew up listening to my parents’ CDs and records, all sorts of stuff from 70s Rock to Brit Pop, and some of my earliest memories are of my Mum singing to me, or of dancing around with my sister. I took piano, singing and dance lessons when I was younger, and taught myself guitar in my teenage years.
Interestingly though, past playing in a couple of bands or doing some open mics, for a long time creating music was mainly an outlet or a passion project for me. It’s only been more recently that I’ve actually wanted to release anything into the world! Which is why I’m super stoked to be sharing this new song with you all.
We set up RGM USA and many other countries in the world to share music with america and the UK, good idea?
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
I don’t buy into many, but I do think lots probably have a “grain” of truth in them which is why they spin out of control. That being said, one of the wilder theories I’ve heard is the “Avril Lavigne replacement theory”. Have a read…
Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?
I’ve got a lot of grief for buying it, but absolutely something I thought I needed (and still do) was the “motion-sensor bin” in my kitchen. Hover your hand over it, it opens, trash goes in, it closes. A contact-free, germ-less experience. Perfect.
What party trick do you have?
I don’t even know if I can still do this but as a kid I used to love doing headstands. Like, turn around, and oh there’s Dan doing a headstand again. And also I could turn my eyelids inside out. Which on reflection sounds pretty gruesome, but I loved the reaction it got from people. Oh, and I can also move my eyes in separate directions. Wow, that’s a lot of party tricks. Maybe I’ll try them all at once sometime… (my next gig)
What was the worst experience on stage?
It wasn’t terrible but it was definitely surreal… When I was 17 I was in a band with a few friends, and we played a gig in someone’s garden. Our drummer was on a ton of painkillers after surgery and wandered off the stage midway through the set because he thought it had ended. I remember using the mic like a tannoy system at the supermarket: “could the drummer please return to the stage”. That was an interesting one.
Tell us something about you / each member that you think people would be surprised about?
I’m a qualified accountant. No joke. I qualified as one before realising maybe that wasn’t the direction I wanted my life to go in, but no hate on accountancy! I learned a lot of amazing things that I still use today.
If you had to describe your band/music to an alien how would you describe it?
Romantic boi makes music about love
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
Always a tough one without sounding like some sort of egomaniac, but I’d say either the themes of my music or my voice. I love writing songs that can be seen on different levels.
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?
Climate change. I know that personally there are things that I can change and improve in my day to day in terms of food wastage etc, and I am continuing to learn, but the sheer number of people that don’t seem to give a f*** is staggering to me. Unfortunately, some of those people also seem to be politicians…
But I think the thing that is also important to recognise is that climate change is just a symptom of a much deeper problem, and that is that we live in a world full of people who are disconnected from themselves and are disconnected from the world around them.
When people are in that state, I think it’s probably easier for them to pollute the planet and be horrible to each other. That’s what I’m really sad about, and we as societies haven’t really cracked – on a wide-scale – what it means to support people to actually connect. If we had, I don’t think any of this would be happening.
Whats your favourite song to play live and why?
Honestly, I haven’t played a full-on gig for years. But when I’m playing to a small group of people or just on my own, there are a few favourites I’ll always come back to: “Dammit” by Blink 182, “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure, and a song that I’ll be releasing soon, called “Fragments”. Watch this space…
I hear you have a new song, what can you tell us about it?
Absolutely. This song is called “Curled Up” and it’s the first single from a body of work that I’ve been working on for the past couple of years. That body of work examines the different seasons of a relationship, and “Curled Up” falls right in that Winter/Spring stage, where you’re feeling like maybe it’s time to move on but also not really wanting to. I wanted to encapsulate that mood in the song, because it’s exactly how I was feeling at the time I wrote it!
Talk me through the thought process of the single?
I often find with writing there isn’t much of a thought process, at least not initially. Those initial seeds of a song seem to just come spontaneously. I remember writing this one, I was in this sort of period of mourning for an ex, and I was on my sofa with my guitar, and suddenly I was playing these chords and singing and it all started to come together. The refining process took a while longer; I wrote it back in 2020 and it’s taken a couple of years for it to be fully birthed into the world. For example, the song was initially a bit longer than it is now, and didn’t have the high note I hit in the second chorus. If you’d like to listen to an earlier version of the song, check out my instagram (@dhatton1)! It’s probably the fourth or fifth post back.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single/album/ep?
Having not worked with a producer before, and having only recorded demos at home, I didn’t realise quite how much goes into the recording/production process. I think people often see a piece of art and they have no idea about what’s actually gone into it: who’s to say if an album has taken two years or two weeks to make? I think I had that impression myself, like “oh now I’ve written this song it’ll take a few hours to record and then we can go live with it”. And I think that process does work for some people, but for “Curled Up” we went back and forth crafting a sound for quite a while. So I’d say that the biggest learning for me was in that refining and production process.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
Absolutely not. I think there are always little things that you could tweak, but it’s important to be able to say, “this is good enough” and let go. As an artist I think it can be quite easy to see things that you think are “faults” in your work, whereas another person probably wouldn’t even notice them, and if they did, they’d probably think they were an intentional part of the song. There’s a phrase that tech developers often use which is: “it’s not a bug, it’s a feature”. I think that can be applied to art as well.
What are your plans for the year ahead? Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
On the music front: keep writing, keep playing, keep learning. On a broader front, spend quality time with my friends and family. Oh, and I’d also like to learn how to tidy up as I go along. I think that’d be a pretty cool thing to learn.
What I’d like to say to people out there is: life is short. Tell someone you love them. Tell yourself you love yourself. You’re amazing.