By Sebastian Buzzalino
Bend Sinister’s frontman, Dan Moxon, is trading in his booze-soaked rock and roll scarves and jackets for a wide-brimmed homburg hat and dapper sweaters. After 15 years and 9 albums with the electric and volatile Vancouver outfit, Moxon is ready for his debut solo album to hit the streets, showing off a more nuanced and introspective approach to songwriting. Elements of Motown, classic rock and ‘60s soul pop swirl around Moxon’s keys and honeyed voice as he digs deep into themes of alienation, mental health and isolation.
The album, titled Lounge Singer, is out today and BeatRoute has a video premiere for “The Blue” in order to celebrate. The song, which was written on a BC Ferry, features Moxon wandering and playing in coves and crannies of a (presumably) Gulf Island, surrounded by nostalgia-tinged emptiness and the pressing solitude of his beautiful natural environment.
When did the idea of writing and recording a solo album first surface?
Honestly, it just sort of happened organically. We were on a Bend Sinister tour and JP Maurice suggested I book some time with him at Blue Light Studios to record some solo material. We pencilled in a week the following spring, and, five months out, I began writing a bunch of new material. What began as a casual “see what happens” week in the studio, turned into a full summer of studio days working on the album and bringing in lots of local musicians/friends to play on it.
How do you approach songwriting as a solo artist vs being in a long-running band?
I guess in a band scenario we really try to workshop songs when were all in the room and jam out parts/ideas — things progress over jamming once or twice a week. I usually have lots of ideas to bring to the table in that scenario, but with finishing songs solo you have to push yourself to find the time to focus on creativity instead of life.
What are you most proud of, looking back on the whole process of releasing a solo album?
I think that by picking the right instrumentation and focusing on a more simple ‘60s style soul backup vocal style, JP Maurice and I were able to really set a tone/vibe to the album that I couldn’t have achieved if I just played and sang everything myself. I’m also quite happy that we didn’t use one guitar (other then bass) on the whole album: I think it’s rather refreshing to let the other instruments speak for themselves without layering too much just because you can.
I just hope people will take a moment to check out the album as a whole, because I still like to produce albums in that format: not just focusing on singles, but having the album flow with songs that connect themes and tie everything together.
Lounge Singer is out today.Bend Sinister, dan moxon, Vancouver