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We chat to local act Thomas Krane about their new album

2015-09-09 06:00

Cape Town – Thomas Krane, the band, started out in a bedroom in the small coastal town of Amanzimtoti, near Durban, KZN in 2008.

Thomas Krane, the man, is a figment of the imagination of the band’s only permanent member – Dan Hampton, a character that he has developed and written for over the last seven years.

Thomas Krane recently released their sophomore album, Bone Tower, and we got to ask the frontman, Dan, a few questions.

Channel24: Can you describe your music in one sentence?

Dan: It features guitars of both the loud and the soft variety, there are drums all over the place, and there is a voice that sings stories in a frequency range that is hard to ignore.

C24: You have released your second album, Bone Tower, on 1 September, will it differ a lot from your first album and how?

Dan: It will indeed. The first was a typical bedroom recording – lo-fi in the extreme - and to be honest I was really just figuring out how to do this music thing then. Bone Tower was recorded with a producer who really knows what he's doing using some great equipment. It’s also been recorded with a group of really fantastic guest musicians - comparatively very slick.

C24: What do you write about and what inspired the songs for Bone Tower?

Dan: I write to a character. Thomas Krane, the man, being a figment of my imagination opens up a lot of emotional subject matter that would be unavailable if I was writing autobiographically. He's developed pretty deeply over the last 5 years. Much of the album is about his obsession with an unnamed love interest.

C24: What is your musical process – how do you go about writing a song?

Dan: It's an emergent songwriting strategy - I start with a single chord progression/bass line I like and record it on my tablet. Then I muck about with vocal melodies recording over that - singing gibberish, until something sticks. It often takes coming back the next day and listening to the vocal options to recognise what really stands out.  I've found the line that sticks often does so because of the syllables that get stuck in the corners - so the first step is to pick out a couple of key syllables from the gibberish and build a coherent sentence around those. That line forms the theme and the anchor of the song, and then the rest gets built around that.

C24: You call yourself a character musician as you are musically untrained – but you had to have had some sort of musical influence in your life to have such a good ear for it; did you grow up in a musical family at all? Where does your love for music come from?

Dan: My family isn't particularly musical, no. I roped my sister into playing drums for the band for several years early on, but she did it begrudgingly for the most part. And refused to practice. I originally got into music the way almost every musician from Durban I know did - playing in an evangelical church's youth group band.

C24: Who are your biggest inspirations musically?

Dan: The LPs my folks had at home have always been a major influence - I still listen to Leonard Cohen, Jim Croce, Paul Simon all the time. Discovering the Pixies blew my little mind when I was in high school, them along with the White Stripes. Modest Mouse have been a big influence. I enjoy songwriting that doesn't follow the rules but manages to keep a pop sensibility. And I enjoy interesting voices.

(Photo: Allister Christie)

C24: If you could collaborate with anyone in the world who would it be and why?

Dan: I do a cover of Dolly Parton's Jolene on the album - It's gotta be one of the greatest songs ever written. I'd love to do a version with her.

Quick questions:

What’s your favourite song right now?
 I've had Florence and the Machine's new stuff on repeat for a while now.

Best winter warmer drink?
Red wine of course.

Best band you’ve ever seen live?
I watched Paul Simon play in England once. Sang along for two hours straight. That was very nice.

Best advice someone has given you?
Don't sweat the small people.

Click here to buy Thomas Krane’s album on iTunes.

Album launch details:

Date: 18 September 2015
Venue: New Space Theatre, 22Seven Headquarters, 60 Hout Street, Cape Town
Pledge / Purchase Tickets here.
Time: 21:00
For more info on the event click here.

For more on Thomas Krane visit their website or like them on Facebook.

Read more on:    local music  |  music
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