Dan Patlansky has been in the blues rock game for a while, but it was the launch of Dear Silence Thieves in 2014 that helped launch his career on the international level. The album was voted the top album of 2014 by Blues Rock Review and since then, Patlansky has toured with Joe Satriani and will soon hit the road with King King. On May 6, Patlansky will release Introvertigo in Europe. Blues Rock Review Editor-in-Chief Pete Francis caught up with Patlansky to discuss the album, the success of Dear Silence Thieves, and more.
Dear Silence Thieves was a huge success. How has your career changed since the release of that album?
I think it was a massive success. We released the album and obviously getting that number 1 spot from you guys really changed everything. It opened so many doors in the UK for us in particular. Peter Noble (publicist) got in touch with us I think two days after that Top 20 for 2014 came out and we kind of instantly started working with Peter from then. And Peter put a whole team in the UK together for us, an agent and a promoter, and really got the ball rolling for us in the UK. It really was that nomination that really sparked that initial flame in the UK and really got the balling rolling. Obviously that led to us going on tour with Joe Satriani and really kind of expanding across the rest of Europe. So, I think it all began with that number 1 spot. That’s where the success of the album began was from that number 1 spot.
With the success of Dear Silence Thieves did you feel any pressure writing this new album?
Yeah, man. Obviously I try to kind of not think too much about it because if I was always thinking I have to write an album as good as Dear Silence Thieves I think I would have kind of ended up in a bit of trouble at the end of the day. So I just kind of shut that out and just tried to write the album completely independent of that thought. And it wasn’t too bad because I had two years to write the album because we obviously released the album in South Africa, Dear Silence Theives, in 2014 and it was only released in the UK the following year, so we kind of had this two year period of touring the album, the first year in South Africa, the second year in Europe and the UK, so there was a quite a bit of time to write the tunes for the album and get everything in place for that. But I must say there was a little bit of pressure and I think there is a little bit of pressure because the album is not really released besides in South Africa and you never know what anyone’s gonna think of the album and if people are going to take kindly to the album or they’re gonna think it’s a heap of shit, right (laughs). You never know, man. I’ve always kind of got that weird feeling in my stomach that there’s a strong possibility people might not like it, so it is a weird thing.
What was the most difficult song to write on Introvertigo?
For me, it’s the same on every album. It’s the kind of slow blues on the album. On Introvertigo the slow blues is “Still Wanna Be Your Man.” It’s not necessarily a traditional slow blues, there’s quite a lot of stuff going on there that isn’t traditional, but I kind of consider that the slow blues on the album. And for me, that’s always my favorite part of any blues or blues rock album I ever hear is kind of the slow blues moments of the album. And for me, that’s always the pressure moment of the album is to write something I can kind of dig and anyone else is gonna dig, so that’s always the toughest one for me to write and that was no different on the new album.
What’s your favorite song on the album?
“Still Wanna Be Your Man” (laughs). It’s between that or “Heartbeat,” but I’m always a sucker for a slow minor blues and I’m pretty happy about how “Still Wanna Be Your Man” came out.
“Heartbeat” is a cool track that’s pretty raw before exploding in the chorus.
Yeah, that’s kind of what I was going for on the whole album was that light and shade type of thing, so when there’s quieter moments and when there’s big moments they’re really big. And there’s that contrast between calm and chaos or light and dark kind of thing and that was a big thing for me on this album trying to get that across.
And the album mixes blues with a modern sound, too.
That’s kind of the idea. Obivously working with the same producer as Dear Silence Thieves, Theo Crous, obviously we went back to him because of the success of Dear Silence Thieves, but I think the beauty of working with him is he’s not a blues producer at all, so you don’t end up ever having an album that sounds like a classic blues rock album or a classic blues album because he doesn’t really understand that side of things. But because I’m bringing that side of things and he’s bringing in more of a rock side of things because that’s what he produces down here you kind of get this marriage of the two. And obviously we fight quite a bit in the studio because sometimes he wants to take it in a completely type of pop direction and I’m not game for that and I want to take it in the other direction and we kind of always meet on this middle ground. We’re both really happy with how it’s come out, so I think it’s a great partnership.
You’re going to be touring with King King, which is neat since it’s the last two artists to get the top spot on Blues Rock Review’s yearly Top 20 albums list. How did that come about?
Peter Noble has really been kind of our champion if you will in the UK. He obviously got us onto the Satriani tour and I had the pleasure of meeting Alan from King King last year. I went to the Classic Rock Music Awards in London and King King were up for an award. And I actually shared a cab to the venue with him and he’s a great guy and we got chatting. Obviously we’re doing a similar type of thing, but obviously different at the same time, so I think it’s just a great kind of matchup really because we come from the same place, but our music is so different at the same time. The music styles won’t clash at all and I’m really excited because I’m really a big King King fan. I actually discovered King King through Blues Rock Review. Obviously down here in South Africa stuff like that isn’t really publicized and new blues rock bands or a new blues rock album on the scene, so I kind of rely on Blues Rock Review and I discovered them a little while ago through Blues Rock Review, bought all the albums and became a fan. I had the pleasure of meeting them and was really happy to find out that Peter (Noble) pitched us for the tour and they heard our stuff and were really happy to have us. And Alan thought it would be a great matchup and marriage if you will of the two sounds and it was all through Peter Noble really.
What was it like touring with Joe Satriani?
It was crazy, man! It was quite an intimating thing to start with. He’s this legendary kind of rock-instrumental guitarist. I think anyone who’s ever touched a guitar if you like him or not has heard of Joe Satriani. He’s that much of a legend. I think I played 26 gigs with him from eastern Europe all the way to the UK. He was incredible. He really made us feel at home and he was probably one of the nicest human beings I’ve ever met. He was really accommodating and he kind of watched our show a few times, which was a scary thing. The pressure was just intense, man (laugh). We actually ended up having quite a crappy show because I felt the pressure was too much, right (laughs). But it kind of came off after that night when we got back into the swing of things. I think the main pressure was you have this kind of guitar geek audience watching you every night because that was the reality of it. Like, every guitar geek in Europe was at the Joe Satriani show, right? And obviously they’re all players and you kind of get that feel as you get on stage and play the first couple minutes the first tune you kind of get the feeling that everyone’s saying what you got kind of thing and who the hell is this? And so it was that kind of thing that you have to win the audience over, which is a challenge and fortunately we did. We got fantastic response from the audience at all the shows. Dear Silence Thieves really sold brilliantly at the shows and the merch sales were crazy, so for me that meant it was a successful tour. And we’ve obviously built quite a big following in Europe just from the Satriani thing and obviously the longer we did it the easier it got. We got to know the crew and all that type of thing, so it was absolutely just a life changing type of experience. And thanks to Joe Satriani just being such a gentleman and such an incredible human being. He really made us feel at home.
What are your goals for Introvertigo?
The goal would be to just kind of pick of where we left off with Dear Silence Thieves, kind of grow the fan base and hope that the current fan base all dig the album; hopefully get to the U.S. at some point. I haven’t been to the U.S. in 12 years or something like that it. It’s been a long time, so just start touring the U.S. out of the strength of the album and previous albums and keep growing, and that’s really what I want. I think the ultimate goal at least in the UK or the dream really is to sell out a Royal Albert Hall type of show. Eventually, that’s obviously, like, maybe a ten year plan if we’re realistic about it (laughs).
Interview by Pete Francis