Vancouver's folk wonder Dan Mangan talks about death, Céline Dion and brushing up on his French
Dan Mangan has a lot on his mind these days. “I’ve been thinking quite a bit about death and what dying means,” he ponders over the phone, right before explaining himself. “There’s times when I’m travelling, I’ll let my imagination go wild. If I’m on a train, or something like that, I’ll picture it going off the rails.” A figure of speech that, somehow, could also be applied to Mangan’s upcoming effort.
While his second CD, Nice, Nice, Very Nice, got him opportunities to tour Canada, the United States and Europe, in addition to numerous honours (three Western Canadian Music Awards, a Verge Music Award, a Polaris nomination, etc.), Mangan is throwing it all away on his next album, slated to be released in September on Arts & Crafts.
Recorded with his band between tours, the singer-songwriter’s next offering will be more collaborative and rely more on fiction than personal experiences. “For me, for my own mental health, when it comes to creating things, it’s really important to change, to evolve,” Mangan explains. “The perspective changed a little bit.” Inevitably, his music has too.
In a recent interview with the Vancouver Sun, he confided that he was looking forward to shedding his “solo dude with a guitar vibe.” In a video posted on his website, fans can catch a string trio recording a blooming melody that strays from the intimate folk genre Mangan is mostly known for. In another teaser, he is seen, along with his musicians, trying to hit “the Céline Dion note” (the band’s words, not mine!) while recording gang vocals for a song entitled Rows of Houses. Mangan lets fans, and journalists, speculate about the shape and sound of his forthcoming LP, but he still assured us that “it probably won’t sound like a Céline Dion record… But if we could have her record sales, we’d be happy!”
During their summer tour, Dan and his comrades will furrow Quebec’s highways and back roads. In addition to the mandatory Montreal and Quebec stops, they’ll also be seen in smaller cities like Sorel. “By the time I leave, I want my French to get better and to keep it,” wishes Mangan, referring to his past experience as a camp counsellor at Camp Trois-Saumons, which is located between Montmagny and Rimouski (where he will actually start his Quebec tour). “But it will be hard to keep it, and to practise it, when I get back to Vancouver!”
w/ Mark Berube and the Patriotic Few
At La Sala Rossa