2 time Juno Award Winning Canadian Singer/Songwriter Dan Mangan joins me to talk about the roles of vulnerability, honesty, determination and grit in bringing our art into the world.
We talk about how he ‘made it’ as a musician in a landscape that is oversaturated with incredible talent no matter which way you look, how he deliberately created a vehicle to carry his work and reach as many people as he could, and he reflects on the approach he took to building his career (not waiting around to get discovered) all of which ultimately allowed him to to work with the record label of his dreams (Arts & Crafts Feist, Broken Social Scene) and build a deeply connected relationship with his ever growing fanbase.
2 time Juno Award Winning Canadian Singer/Songwriter Dan Mangan joins me to talk about the roles of vulnerability, honesty, determination and grit in bringing our art into the world.
We talk about how he ‘made it’ as a musician in a landscape that is oversaturated with incredible talent no matter which way you look, the importance of creating a vehicle to carry your work into the world and he reflects on the approach he took to building his career - which ultimately allowed him to to work with the record label of his dreams (Arts & Crafts Feist, Broken Social Scene) and build a deeply connected relationship with his ever growing fanbase.
Dan is a deeply grounded and all-round garden variety good dude. He has some incredible insights about what it takes to bravely express our art as it comes through us without all the pretense. He muses about how he feels that as artists it is our responsibility to put our armour down first, to inspire and free each other in the process.
Dan’s music comes from that deep, soulful grounded place of magic - where all truly great music and art comes from. In it we find painfully, gorgeously said truths about the hopeful joys, the earnest, longing, reaching of youth and the impossible agonies, and incredulous bittersweet defeat of a life fully lived. Lyrics that will make you close your eyes to savour the delicious weight of their truth, all sung to you by his commanding yet gentle voice that is all at once approachable, gritty, knowing, uncertain, soothing, yearning & familiar.
He's able to access this kind of magic for making his songs for a lot of reasons which will become obvious to you as you hear him talk. But I will say this; I feel like we can all learn a lot from Dan. He has figured out how to, as he puts it, ‘put his armour down first’ he fully shares his gifts without pretense, which has the beautiful side effect of inviting listeners and fans even closer to their own hearts.
Dan realized the importance of being himself on stage early on in his career. Reflecting on what kind of person he wanted to be he realized he didn't want to be a ‘rockstar’ on stage he wanted to be an approachable dude - he wanted to be himself and present to the magic he created with the audience. That decision to remain the truest version of himself may have ironically set him on a path of actually becoming the rockstar that he is today.
Dan Mangan is the most humble non rock-star rock-star you may ever meet and I think you are going to get a lot out of this interview.
SOME THINGS DAN AND I TALK ABOUT
-How when he was first starting out he didn't think he was ‘very good’ (that was crazy for me to hear, especially because i was there… and he was great)
-Imposter Syndrome being at the root of humanity glitching
-What is behind the magic of stage performances? He explains what is happening with soundwaves in a concert and why it has the power to unite us in such profound ways.
-The magical thing he intentionally brings to his live shows.
-How it is the artist's job to put down their armour and go first. And how that can inspire all kinds of magic in people's lives
-How (and why) great music or art can make you laugh and cry in the same minute and leave you feeling as light as air which reminds you that the pros of existence do outweigh the cons
-How truly feeling the lows not just the highs in life helps him stay in gratitude mode not to take anything for granted
-The very important thing he realized early on in his career that helped him orient himself to choices and actions that would help him to build a sustainable career with lasting success
-Not waiting for his big moment or to be discovered, and what to do instead
-How it can be easy to fall into the trap of ‘waiting until you make’ it to share your best work with the world and how that is the very thing that can prevent ‘making it’
-The importance of discovering your gifts and really building on them. How he felt he had shortcomings as a musician and perhaps because of those was able to realize what he was extremely good at - connecting with large groups of people and lean into that.
-What it feels like to start to get famous/have your dreams come true (It’s not what you might think)
-The importance of internally clocking our self worth rather than seeking external validation.
Special thanks to Arts & Crafts Dan's record label for letting us share some of his beautiful music with you here today.
Please share the show with a friend and if you are moved to make a financial contribution to the production of this podcast, THANK YOU here is the link for our Patreon
Dan Mangan is a two-time JUNO award winning & two-time Polaris Music Prize listed musician and songwriter. He has toured extensively in North America, Europe & Australia. He has played Glastonbury & Jimmy Kimmel Live, sold out Massey Hall and scored acclaimed soundtracks for television (Netflix, AMC) and feature film. Dan is a co-founder of Side Door. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with his wife and two sons. His 6th LP "Being Somewhere" is out Oct 28th.
Resources discussed in this episode:
- Dan’s new album
- Mother Mother
- Mark Berube
- Columbia House cd orders! Remember those?
- Sarah Mclachlan
- Tragically Hip
- Aerosmith Get A Grip - how cool would it be for Stephen Tyler to know know that this was Dan Mangan's first album?
- The Beatles
- Malcolm Gladwell
- -Cafe deux soleils
- -Thom Yorke
- Arts & Crafts record label
- The Orpheum
- The Junos
- The Polaris Music Prize
- Broken Social Scene
- Select All Delete John K Samson
- The Tourist Radiohead
- Leonard Cohen ‘Ring the bells that still can ring there's cracks in everything, that’s how the light gets in’
Dan Mangan 0:03
I believe that it is the artists job to put their armour down first. And then in doing so in demonstrating that doing it publicly, you put your armour away and you show your vulnerable self. And everyone in the room goes, Ah, man, I don't want to do that, you know, and it's so it's it gives permission to everyone in the room to also be vulnerable to let go of their inhibitions to be that present, to maybe whatever, like plant a garden or quit their job or climb a mountain, you know, whatever it is, you know, like the the fear is when you put your armour down is that you're gonna get pierced by arrows and swords. And when you don't, it's really emboldening, it makes you feel invincible. You're like, Oh, my God, like that was like a drug. And the more that, you know, the more you're surrounded by art, the more you're surrounded by people who were willing to go and be vulnerable first. And it it makes you feel like you can do it too.
Kate Shepherd 0:57
Hello, there, we're back and off to a great start with Season Two. Este McLeod kicked us off with a terrific season opener a couple of weeks ago, if you haven't listened to that episode, go back and do that she has given us all access to one of her art classes. And that expires at the end of December. So don't miss it and find out everything you need about how to access that class just by listening to that episode. And I don't know, can you hear to my voice? I am bursting with excitement about today's episode. You know, when I first realized that I was being called to do this show, I had no idea what I was doing, I still don't really know what I'm doing. I just keep coming back. But one of the things I did to help myself navigate, you know, learning how to create and host a show was to buy a big, gorgeous hardcover notebook with lined paper in it. And I wrote all my visions and ideas for what this show could be. And one of those things was a list of dream guests. And if you want to see a picture of that page in my notebook, and find out who some of my other dream guests are, head over to Kate Shepherdcreative.com and search dream guests. And you'll see my post there and you'll see the picture of my sketchbook and you can see a list of a bunch of my other guests who I know will one day come on the show. And I'd love it if you'd love to comment on that post telling me who you think would make a great guest on this show. And our guest today, Dan Mangan is at the top of that list back in those early days. He's a Canadian musician, and somebody who I've been a fan of for nearly two decades. I knew that I wanted to bring him here and talk to him about his gorgeous music and creative process. And how did he get to be such a humble grounded rock star. And I'm so happy that over the summer, I was able to catch him before he heads off on tour in Europe. Before we get into the interview, there are a few other things I want to let you know, you might have heard last season, a couple of episodes I did that I was calling genius moments. They were extra little sort of mini episodes that happened in between my interview episodes, I often felt like I just had things to offer you myself that didn't really have a place within the context of one hour interviews. And they're not something I'm going to guarantee that I'm going to offer with any kind of scheduled regularity. But I will promise you that whenever I'm inspired, or whenever I have something come up for me, as I do my own work with you know, uncovering my creative intelligence. whenever something comes up for me that I feel would be useful to share with you, or helpful for you in your process of uncovering your own creative genius that I will sit down and record one of these genius moments episodes for you. I did one the other day because I had some stuff come up for me that felt too good and to helpful and to useful not to share. And so I created a little 30 minute episode. And it's genius Moments Number seven. And the feedback I got from it was so moving, honest to goodness, it brings me to tears because that's all I've ever really wanted to do with this work is to serve you and your creativity and all of every beautiful thing that's inside of you that wants to come up and out and into the world. That's all I've ever really wanted to do with this work. And so I want to share this message with you because it was particularly poignant for me. It comes from Jeanne and it says, oh, Kate Shepherd, you have no idea what your podcasts mean to me. I'm chronologically 70. But creatively between four and eight. I have loved playing creatively all my life. As a professor. I was always in trouble with the administration, because I taught creatively loving my students and calling more about them into the institution. I have now listened to all of your podcasts. I'm a creative quilter but I've also painted and suddenly you have me buying art supplies to pay Ain't on fabric. Where am I going? I don't know. But my energy is on fire. Thank you for all you do. Jeannie, thank you for taking the time to send me that message. And for becoming a Patreon, that message actually came through my Patreon account, which is something you can do to support the show, you know if you've been listening, and this show is reaching into your heart and moving you in the way that it's moving people like Jamie, and you're inspired and in a position to offer little support. To help me keep the lights on over here at creative genius, please head over to patreon.com/creative Genius podcast and sign up to support this work, it really, really makes a big difference. And I want to make sure that you know about the creative genius family, which is our private Facebook group. It's a place for us to share and explore and celebrate all of the ups and downs of our creative journeys. And we'd love to have you there and you can find out how to sign up over on Kate Shepherd creative.com. And don't forget it's S H E P H, E R D. And again, I have to tell you, leaving a review for the show and taking a moment to send a text or an email to a friend or a loved one with a link to the show. powerful ways you can help me to reach even more people with this show and change even more lives. So back to Dan. Dan's music comes from that deep, soulful, grounded place of magic where all truly great music and art comes from. In it we find painfully gorgeously said truths about the hopeful joys, that earnest longing reaching of youth and the impossible agonies and the incredulous bittersweet defeat of a Life Fully lift. lyrics that will make you close your eyes to savor the delicious weight of their truth. All sung to you by His commanding yet gentle voice that is all at once approachable, gritty, knowing, uncertain, soothing, yearning, and familiar, you'll get to hear clips of one of my favorite songs of his the one that makes me cry every single time I listen to it. And he tells a little story about how he wrote that song and what that song means to him. Dan's able to access this kind of magic for making his songs for a lot of reasons, which will become obvious to you as you hear him talk. But I will say this, I feel like we can all learn a lot from Dan. He's figured out how to, as he puts it, put his armor down first, which he feels is the responsibility of all artists. And that's something that allows him to share his gifts without pretense. And that has the beautiful side effect of inviting listeners and fans, even closer to their own hearts. Dan Mangan is the most humble, non rock star rock star you may ever meet. And I'm thrilled to introduce you to him here today. Here's our conversation.
Kate Shepherd 7:55
I want to give you some context for the show. It's called the show's called creative genius. And I started it because I'm an I'm an artist, myself, I'm a painter, and I'm a jeweler. And I've sold my work for a lifetime at Granville Island to the public market. In my time there, what I saw was that so many people have disconnected themselves from creativity. But I feel like you know, people would walk up to my table and be like, Oh, art, that's so amazing. And you're this magical being because you do this thing that nobody knows how to do. And I'm not that. I wish I could be that. And it made me it took me a while to make me to chill. I realize that actually made me really sad. Because like to write like, we're so disconnected from this thing that actually isn't all of us. But then I then I realized that that is that disconnect that's actually causing humanity to glitch like, I really feel like we're glitching. And, and it's that that's I think it can all be traced back to that. Yeah, that's interesting of ourselves. That's like, because because what is creativity? It's, it's got instinct. It's intuition. It's inspiration. It's where your ideas come from. It's that thing that whispers lyrics to you and paintings to me. And it's like this. It's like, it's the thing that tells a tomato sandwich open. And let's see how it's going to be like it's running the universe. And we've just said, No, only some of us have it. And then but the rest of us don't. So as soon as I saw that, I was like, Oh, God, I have to now dedicate a good chunk of my life. So I've inadvertently be sort of have this like life mission now to help as many people as I can remember what is true about me, right? So, yeah, I'm really, you know, when I get to talk to people like you, who, you know, from where I stand, you're stewarding that energy that intelligence in such a mindful and clear and beautiful way. I feel like when we have these conversations with people like you, we can inspire people to see that.
Dan Mangan 9:51
Yeah, I mean, there's there's a lot to unpack there. A lot of things come to mind. I don't know if you want to If, you know, I'm tempted to immediately the things I want to say, but I'm tempted to sort of encase them in the conversation rather than in. Now, if that makes sense. If you're if you're, if you're worried about like, sort of, sometimes you get on the phone with a journalist or something. You have five minutes of amazing conversation to say, and then they're like, Okay, let's get started. You're like you weren't recording that.
Kate Shepherd 10:27
We're rolling. Yeah, I just wanted to give you some context of the show, because this isn't just like, I want to talk to Dan Mangan about music, like I want to talk to you about, about that thing that's in you that, you know, actually is for a lot of people where the channel of it is quite big. It can be kind of a hard thing to to, to wrangle. Right. And I mean, I, I've been looking forward to having a chance to tie this because I've been a big fan of your music for a long, long time. Yeah. Like, do you remember those? Like, I think the first time I saw you was in one of those, like someone's living room, somewhere in East van and one of those like salons.
Dan Mangan 11:05
Oh, wow. Yeah, maybe that's like Michael Berube or something like that? Yeah. Oh, man. Yeah. Like 20 years ago...
Kate Shepherd 11:13
yeah when I did the math, and I realized, like, that's, yeah, I felt old. We weren't shocked by that. But I remember when I first saw you knowing this guy's got something big and really special. And I was so excited to see where it would take you and to see where you are. And so on the other side of it now, it's so cool to see all the things that you've done.
Dan Mangan 11:36
Yeah. That's so cool. I mean, it's anytime I hear something like that. I think about how I felt about my own art in those days, and those early days, and I was full of piss and vinegar and gumption and audacious and you know, but I didn't think I was very good at what I was doing. You know, I felt like I had a long way to go. And I recently ran into a friend from the band Mother mother in the airport. And they were talking about back in those days, they saw me play somewhere in and around that era. And they had the same feeling of like, Oh, this guy's gonna be big or something like that. And it's such an interesting cognitive disconnect between at the time I probably put my guitar down and went, like, I've got that sucked, you know. And, and I think that that's kind of what you're alluding to, with this whole podcast in general is like that that imposter syndrome, that feeling of like, it's nowhere. I'm not succeeding at communicating my, what I'm trying to is kind of at the heart of the glitch of society in general. And that feeling of like, it's not for me, or I'm not doing this right. Or, you know, it's not for me to do right.
Kate Shepherd 12:49
Yeah, or how me why would it have picked me like I just me, like, do you remember the first time when you were you were maybe a small kid? When music kind of grabbed you?
Dan Mangan 13:03
Oh, yeah. My so we lived like a deep in the country for I was, I kind of lived all over as a kid. But there was a period of time that we lived in, in like deep rural Ontario. And I had two older siblings and then I had three older step siblings, I was the youngest of six for a while total Brady Bunch situation. And and so everybody was full of music and culture and opinions and thoughts and records. And remember, like Columbia House orders would arrive, you know, and it would just be like somebody ordered 10 CDs like let's go and and so I got really deep into can con my sister was like a huge Sarah McLaughlin fan and Tragically Hip and 5440 and all those bands back in the 80s. But then, like the first CD I bought with my own money was like Aerosmith Get a grip. And at the same time that we were getting into all that popular music, my step brother was teaching us how to play piano and guitar. And so I got really into the Beatles. And I remember sitting at the piano, and playing side b of Abbey Road from beginning to end and and that's not enough, you know, Abbey Road well, but that's like a 22 minute journey of music that just Wonder song a song never stops. And I learned it all how to play it all on the piano. And I was maybe like nine or 10 years old. And just like feeling like I had a complicated I had a goal and I can accomplish it and just knowing like, Oh, like this is how everyone makes music, they just press the things and it makes the sound and you know anyone can do this because I just learned how to do it like in a few months or whatever, you know, and and then I also have memories of as a kid, you know, I'm not I'm not a churchgoer now but my mom was a minister when I was a kid and I remember singing with like candles like Christmas Eve all the lights saw everyone holding a candle, singing silent night or something like that. And though I haven't taken with me any of the dogma or negative stuff about my, what I perceive as negative stuff about Christianity, I have taken with me, that sense of collectivism and sort of like whole greater than the sum of the parts and that feeling of connectedness. And I think that probably I've kind of imbued that same intention into concerts for sure is to try and how can we break down all the walls in between us and make us just all feel like we're here together as a bunch of humans. And something you said earlier alert, you know, reminded me of something that I've come up with in recent years, which is, I believe that it is the artists job to put their armor down first. And then in doing so, and demonstrating that and sort of like, doing it publicly, you put your armor away, and you show your vulnerable self. And everyone in the room goes, Ah, man, I want to do that, you know, and it's, it's, it gives permission to everyone in the room to also be vulnerable to let go of their inhibitions to be that present, to maybe whatever, like, plant a garden or quit their job or climb a mountain, you know, whatever it is, yeah. And, you know, like, the fear is when you put your armor down, is that you're gonna get pierced by arrows and swords. And when you don't, it's really emboldening, it makes you feel invincible. You're like, Oh, my God, like that was like a drug. And the more that, you know, the more you're surrounded by art, the more you're surrounded by people who were willing to go and be vulnerable first. And it makes you feel like you can do it, too. And so I think that that's the artists job. And the truth is that they're not the only people who can do it. They're just the people who have the muscle memory and the training. And the you know, as Malcolm Gladwell put it, 10,000 hours of trying something and failing and getting better. So they're just more used to it in a way, you know, it's less foreign.
Kate Shepherd 17:07
Well, and we're also creating something that is kind of tangible in a way, whether it is music or a piece of art, or like it is something that that people can look at and point to and say, Oh, look, there's, there's a product of that vulnerability that's really pleasing. And that actually serves my heart. So what do I have in me that I can give and serve and totally want to ask you about that about live performances? And what what is going I'm a total introvert, like I, if I have an option to go to a concert, or listen at home, mostly, I'm going to choose to listen at home because I just like I like to be at home
Dan Mangan 17:39
oh wow the pandemic was great for you.
Kate Shepherd 17:41
Oh, I'm coming to terms with coming out of it. That's the trauma for me. But I wanted to ask you what is happening to people like physiologically, in those in a big room like that, like I've heard artists talk about, you go into this place with your audience, you go into this, it's almost like this collective experience. And it's different every time and you can feel when it's coming. And what what do you think is happening?
Dan Mangan 18:11
Yeah, well, I mean, I think like, literally what is happening in terms of like, energy waves is that sound is like traveling through your body, and then it's reverberating in your organs. And then it's continuing to move through you and to other people, and it's doing the same thing to them. So there is this sort of like United experience, just in like energy form. And that like the same sound waves that are moving through me or moving through you. And so there's that if you add another layer, like toward the end of my shows, I like to get people to sing along, not just like sing along to the song, but like, sometimes I will, I will make the crowd become a choir and actually become the foundation of the song. And then I'll sing something like, like counterpoint to what they're doing. In that case, what you have are people largely who are like, Oh, I can't sing or I'm not a singer or something like that. But as we all sing, or as more and more of us sing outwardly, what happens is that there's sort of like this group meld, and we start to tune to each other. So magically, people who if left to their own devices might sing out of tune, all the sudden find themselves singing perfectly in tune because they're surrounded by those vibrations. So you know, all you have to do is just get on board. You don't you don't have to start the train. You could just like write it because other people are doing it for you. And that causes this positive feedback loop where, oh, I'm not I don't really think of myself as a singer, but boy, that it felt good to sing a little bit. And I think I'm singing really well. I think I'm singing in tune. I'm going to sing louder. And so everyone starts doing it and everyone starts doing it louder and more beautifully and more in tune. And then you Get that whole, greater than the sum of the parts. He reached that sort of like spiritual level where, you know, if nothing else, is when the song is over, you're like, oh my god, like, I was out of my body and not thinking about bullshit in my life for like 25 seconds, you know, I was unconscious. And as you think about consciousness and unconsciousness, it's not. It's not like, like a ruler, there's no end and start, it's a circle. So like pure consciousness is the same thing as pure unconsciousness, if that makes sense, right? Like, like, you get so in the moment. So last, so, you know, aside from your ego, and aside from your internal thought processes, that even though you're awake, you know, you are unconscious. It's like when you're a kid, and you go to some barbecue, and it's all of a sudden, it's 10pm. And you're like, oh, man, what happened to the last five hours? They're just running around in the yard? You know? It's a beautiful thing where time passes, and you don't know.
Kate Shepherd 21:04
Well, you were there. But you weren't really there. I've had that moment. You know, we've all had that moment in a million different ways. You know, you get to your destination, you're like, we just drove here. Yes, totally lost in a trance of, you know, thinking about my next painting or writing a song or doing whatever was in your head. You're like, Oh, my God, but I didn't crash the car. Yeah, but you're, you're there, but you're not. You're not really there.
Dan Mangan 21:25
Well, and afterwards, you feel great. It's like, it's the same reason why if someone if you watch a performance, and it makes you cry, you it elicits like, a physical experience. And then let's say, after the song, where you were crying, the performer cuts a really funny joke, to to ease the tension, and then you laugh. And now you've laughed and cried, within the experience of a couple of minutes. And both laughing and crying are like physical embodiments of slight unconsciousness, you know, it's like, you're just so in it that your body is like, going like, This is so crazy that I have to make tears. Now, you know, or, This is so crazy that I need to convulse in laughter. And that's why many great films or great performances will have that sort of like, up and down. In a way as an audience, you can kind of feel ragdoll by it, you're sort of like, Whoa, I was, I was so heavy, and I was kind of crying, and it was big and intense. And then five minutes later, you had me busting a gut. And when you leave the theater, you're like, lighter than air, you're like, ah, like, God, I just want to, you know, bake a cake and call my mom and you know, make out with that person over there or whatever. Like, you're just like, you just feel like, despite all of the other evidence, otherwise, that, you know, the pros of existence do outweigh the cons. And you needed that levity, that moment of unconsciousness to sort of remind you of how powerful it can feel to be alive. And then you can go back to unloading the dishwasher, and going into the bank and worrying about money and worrying about your kids safety, or whatever it is. But without that, sort of like stop at the gas station, to fill up your tank, it's, you know, it's really easy to start running on empty,
Kate Shepherd 23:13
it's a big thing to have the power to take people on that kind of journey. Like that's a that's a, I was listening to Jerry Seinfeld and David Letterman talking the other day about talent and, you know, managing your gift. And Jerry Seinfeld was saying, it's like having, it's like having a wild stallion. And if you don't know how to work with it, or master it really sort of direct it. It's it can just, you know, walk all over you. And so I mean, you have this thing, and you when did you realize you had it? And how did you like the first time you were at a show and people started singing your songs back to you? Do you remember the first time that happened? Like what was going through your mind when and how you?
Dan Mangan 23:53
Well, I think I think that realizing that I was able to sort of conduct a crowd. Part. I mean, in order to do that, you have to have some audacity, like you, you have to have a large enough ego to believe that you deserve their attention, you know, in the first place. So it's not an egoless practice. But I'll say this, I've never been or felt like much of a musician, or like a talented musician. I think that I've been surrounded by so many people with just otherworldly talent that I have realized that you know, me like the musical talent and I when I say that, I mean, like the ability to, like, shred on a fretboard or you know, like, play an instrument really incredibly well. I'm nobody should hire me to play an instrument like guitar or piano on their album, right? Like it's, that's not my gift. And I realized fairly early on that that wasn't my gift that like I just wasn't one of those people who was like a natural musician. I had to work really hard. To get there and get competent, and same with my voice, like, if you heard me in those early days, like, I was like Tom Waits, like I was just yelling, and it was really scratchy and like gravelly. And over time, I've sort of learned to use my voice in a way that I think is honed and getting better. But, but I did realize early on, that I was good at connecting with groups of people, you know, despite the shortcomings that I had. And maybe because of them, maybe if I was a better musician, or a better singer, I would have leaned more heavily into that talent, and tried to get my chops going, and started to lean on that in order to carry the show. And because I couldn't lean on talent to carry the show, I had to lean on a different gift, which was, I had an easy time being vulnerable, I had an easy time getting onstage and sort of giving everything I had. And there were there were Hillman, like there were follies along the way, right? Like there were there were shows in those early days where I would literally go to get on stage thinking, like, I'm going to be kind of like this tonight. And like I you know, I would try and mirror or emulate my heroes or people that I thought were cool. Or, you know, you see someone perform like the week before Cafe distillate and you're like, oh, that person was so cool, I'm gonna be like them. And then you kind of act and then you get offstage. And you're like, Oh, it was bullshit, like, God that sucked and didn't feel connected to anyone. Because the whole time I was like hiding behind this veil. And the truth is that anytime you do that, like, anytime you you are disingenuous or dishonest in your performance, it's a lose, lose, because either it doesn't work, and nobody likes you. Or almost worse, it does like, and people think you're great, but because you knew that it wasn't real, you think those people are idiots, you know, and you're and you. So it's like you, You've fooled them, and you know that you are that they're fools. And you also know that you weren't being authentic. And that's what fooled them. And it's like this terrible cesspool of like in your now it's just you have to deal with that in your mind. And so what I found was that, the more I got on stage, and like, was literally just the same person on stage as I was, before I got on the stage, like, the more I could just be a regular dude on stage, with a minimal amount of smoke and mirrors, minimal amounts of presumption, or pedestal and then I could relax, then I could be myself, then it can be spontaneous, then it can be funny, then I could, you know, relax my shoulders and sink into a note better. And I wasn't spending the whole time going to they think I'm cool, too. They think this is good. I was spending the whole time going. This is hilarious. What a crazy absurd thing I'm doing this is amazing. And like that person over there, there's singing along and cool haircut, wow, you know, like, it's just you can kind of, rather than being this like loudspeaker that is just broadcasting, you can be like a reflexive, like you basically, instead of being a loudspeaker, you become like a massive ear. And all you are doing is listening, and watching and observing, and letting that play through every little note. And so I started to look for ways that I could break the ice as early as possible, and just like shed the presumption of of what a show was, I remember getting on stage in Paris years ago, in Paris is so cool, you know, it's such a cool town and people who live there cool and kind of stand with their arms crossed and the venue and like observing you and wondering if you're cool or not. And, and so I get really sort of subconscious in those cities, or in those situations. And as I've just never been very cool. And as I was getting on stage, I kind of tripped over this guitar stand that was on the stage. And there was this sort of like, audible sort of, like, you know, sounds like a crate. And then I lifted my foot and the guitar same was stuck to my foot and it was like now, like it was like moving. And then there was like an a much more audible sort of like roar of laughter and I remember looking my foot and just laughing and then I realized this cakes can be amazing. Like, it was it was it was like the first thing that happened as I got on stage was nuked any sense of like, you know, I don't know what the word is but like the I like spectacle or, and, and the truth is that that's what works for me. That's not what works for Thom Yorke. Thom Yorke thrives behind the veil. He is a smoke and mirrors kind of guy. You kind of No one, but you don't really know him. But he's so unbelievably good that you forgive him for that. And you just want to be taken away on a dream, you know. And so very, very, very different kind of artist. And I just realized that my strength was like, to be an anti star, like I like, like to be on stage as non Rockstar as possible, was how I could give the best performance and how I could feel the best afterwards, and feel connected and feel raw and feel spontaneous and honest about the whole thing. And I've, I've always railed against that word Rockstar, like, I feel like it sort of describes everything about the lifestyle, or the perceived lifestyle and nothing about the work. It's like Rockstar says nothing about how hard it was to write that song. Or how many 1000s of shows you played ticket good. It says only about the like, you know, being in a VIP room or something like that, you know, or be being treated special because you're, you're famous. And that's bullshit. Like, that stuff sucks. Anyone who likes that? And like really lives in like, those people are not the people I really want to be around, you know?
Kate Shepherd 31:18
Yeah, so it makes perfect sense that you would just be you when you're in that space.
Dan Mangan 31:23
Yeah. And it's like a cliche, right? Like, I'll just be yourself. But you know, truly, cliches are built on some modicum of truth, you know, and, and so like, it's hard, it's hard to, quote unquote, be yourself all the time. Because we're, we're humans, we're fallible, and we're anxious. And we're in our heads and we're worrying about things. And so, learning how to do that on stage is the same learning process is like learning how to play piano like it's it's a muscle that you have to strengthen intentionally and put a lot of philosophical energy into.
Kate Shepherd 32:02
And realizing that part of that process is going to be failure, or embarrassment, or bombing or like, yeah, it's all part of the way to get there.
Dan Mangan 32:13
Big time. Yeah.
Kate Shepherd 32:16
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Dan Mangan 32:41
You know, I think there's so many like motivational speakers who would talk about how failure is so such a key part of success. But it is absolutely true. Like, I've made so many mistakes, I've done so many dumb things. And in hindsight, you're always like, what the fuck was I thinking, you know, but you, you really do have to go there to come back. And if I think about my lowest points as a human, or artists, the times when I questioned my career the most and really questioned if I had anything left or anything worthy to give to the world. Those moments sucked. And, like, there was no fast forward through them, there was no shortcut. It's like grieving. Every time someone close to you ties, you have to go through it again. And even if you can cerebral eyes it and you're smart enough to know, okay, well, this is what it's gonna feel like and then this is what's gonna you can, you can, like no amount of knowledge makes it less hard. And you have to go through that whole process each and every time someone close to you passes. And it's the same thing with the hardest lessons in life. And, you know, the darker, the darker the sort of like low moments are, in a way, the more you appreciate any of the up moments, and it helps you stay in gratitude mode, really, like I've had times in my career where I felt like I was kind of on top of the world and start to take things for granted. Start to take people showing up for granted start to take people offering you gigs for granted. And I've also had times in my career where the phone was not ringing. And you're like, guys, hey, we're still here, you know? And, and on the other side of it now like, you know, luckily, I was sort of able to write to ship and I feel like there's like a good mojo in my career, but I appreciate it now more than ever, like, you know, when you when you get into the green room and there's like a tray full of food there. Somebody had to put that together, somebody had to go and pick this up, somebody had them, you know, trim the edges off the broccoli or something like that, you know, and, and to really truly appreciate that and acknowledge it and not take it for granted. You can They have to kind of have to have experience being like a dick. And then going, Wait a minute, that wasn't right. I don't want to be like that and have that feeling.
Kate Shepherd 35:08
Yeah. Because that feeling does burn.
Dan Mangan 35:12
Especially if you realize I remember, has like a teenager, being in some scenario where like, I was kind of feeling cocky. And, like, you know, it was a cool dude. And some can you remember exactly what it was, but like, some social situation where I thought I was just sort of like, hanging with a bunch of people. And it was, they kind of just like, walked away. And I remember being like, oh, wait a minute. Like how Wait, okay, hold on. Let me assess the situation. And then thinking, yeah, and then thinking, oh, wait a minute. And I was like, thinking about all the things I just been saying. And then I was like, Wait, if I heard someone else say that, I would think that they were a total douchebag. But I was the one saying, Okay, well, that's a learning moment.
Kate Shepherd 35:55
So I'm trying to imagine so you've you've grown up in this really musical family, you feel supported, like pretty supported by your family to pursue this life, because no one's saying to you, hey, go be an accountant, that's going to be a safe projection on my part.
Dan Mangan 36:13
But my mom was on board from from the get go, she was like, do what you up you, you do whatever you want to do. My dad took some more time my dad is at this point in my life, you know, huge supporter and fan and like, sends me things that he finds on googling me and stuff like that. But no, there was there was about five years of hustle in there, where he'd be like, well, you know, my dentist, son is a drummer. And I just was at the dentist, and he was saying that he's still broken. It's he's like, 35. And I was like, Dad, I might be broke my whole life. But that's, that's gonna, I'm just gonna have to be okay with that. That's like, part of part of the deal here, you know? Well, I know, he saw that I was working hard. And that's, that was the difference like, and even in those early days, I, you have to kind of choose it's a bit church and state, the art and the business, you have to kind of try and work them as different beasts, but there's a lot of overlap. And I figured, okay, well, I'm going to work as hard as I can. I'm writing the best songs possible. And when it comes to the other side of things, I'm going to pretend that I opened a coffee shop. If I opened a coffee shop, I would think about the awning. I think about the sandwich board. What kind of seats are in there? Where the baked goods come from? Where does the coffee come from? Who am I hiring? What's the font on the menu? What are the prices, you know, and I would probably spend, like 16 hours a day in that coffee shop for at least the first couple of years, until it was off the ground. And so I applied that same mentality to music. And I figured, okay, well, I'm working nights, I was working at the cake on Granville Island. And, you know, maybe we cross paths back there when you're selling I guess it probably probably did. And that's where I met my wife who were serving tables together. But I remember thinking, Okay, well, so my nights are working. But then I have like, between, you know, lets me be honest, like 10 or 11am, when I woke up to, you know, four o'clock when I had to go to work every day to work on other things. So, you know, I didn't know how to make a website. So I, I couldn't afford to pay anyone else to do it. So I learned how to make a website. And I needed like a bio when she and I didn't know how to use Photoshop. So Tasha taught myself how to use Photoshop. And I just like I figured that all of these skills that I couldn't afford to hire anyone else to do. I could do like a crummy job of it until the point that I could hire someone else to do it. And it was really great because like, I booked tours for myself in Europe, using MySpace, like, I did all of these things off of just sheer, like ambition and hunger and excitement and naivety and optimism that later on when I started working with agents and working with managers and publicists, like I'd been my own publicist, so I knew if they were doing a good job, you know, and I could hold their feet to the fire. And it's been interesting in that, like, I, I've spoken to a lot of panels at music conferences and stuff like that. And young bands, they will ask things like, how do I get a manager? Or how do I get an agent? And that's sort of like saying, How do I get a white, you know, like, you know, like, you wouldn't walk down the street and go like, anybody want to marry me? No, like you would go and be in the world and do everything you could to attract that kind of attention or that kind of, you know, attraction and and then you some hope that at one point, somebody thinks you're great and you think they're great, and that's awesome. And it's the same thing you have to do I remember those early days thinking like, it's like I'm on a train. And I got the train is stopped at the platform. And I'm just waiting for everyone to get on the train. Because once they're on the train, oh man, like, I'm gonna play the best song ever, and they're gonna love me and it's all gonna happen, I'm gonna get discovered. And so there's this sense of like waiting or something like that, like, I just wrote my best song ever. But like, I don't want to put it out yet, because I don't have a big enough audience for something, you know. And, and it's garbage. Like, he's just, you just got to do it, and then write something better, you know. And that sense of like waiting is just, it's like, atrophy. And the truth is that what you need to do, like, let's say, there's only two people on your train, get that train moving, like you want the train moving, and the faster it goes, and the more exciting it gets.
Dan Mangan 40:53
Eventually, there will be people at the next station waiting to jump on as it flies by, and you need that kind of momentum and that kind of excitement around what you're doing. In order to attract any attention. It's like incredibly oversaturated world of art. It's so hard to get anyone's attention and it's so hard to keep their attention. And so what you have to do is not worry about specifically holding anyone's attention. But just being this like ongoing vessel of excitement, so that they come to you. And it's the same you know, that was how I found my manager and ended up working with arts and crafts, who was my favorite label in Canada, and they were Broken Social Scene and face and all these people, Jason Collette that I looked up to and idolized. And I, you know, I didn't go to them. They came to me because I had been just like, hustling my ass off trying to build something in my little corner of the world.
Kate Shepherd 41:49
So what was that like when you see you're working really hard you're you're booking your all your own tours, you're doing all this stuff yourself. And then then the like that stuff starts showing up and the awards start showing up. You know, you want a couple Junos on the Polaris music prizes, you've bigger and bigger opportunities started happening. You were you scored feature film, you've worked with Netflix, I mean, these are not things that you're now you're not, this is not DIY stuff. What's, what's going what's it like to be in your shoes when that stuff starts to happen?
Dan Mangan 42:20
Well, I remember we had sold out the Orpheum here in town, which is like, I mean, come on. It's like a dream come true. Right. You know, it's like incredible Opera House. And before the show, we were at the sushi restaurant across the street. And I had that checkbook out and I'd hired like a 10 piece band of like our strings and horns and everything. And, um, they're in their sushi restaurant, I can't enjoy my dinner, because I'm sitting there trying to write checks for everybody. And then afterwards, like people like, Oh, what was it like, you know, and I was like, you know, it felt like another show. And because at that point, we've done 1000s of them. And that is at the moment that you achieve something that your whole life seemed fantastical or mythical or surreal. Like imagine selling out the Orpheum. By the time that type of thing happens. In actuality, in the imperfect world that we live in. It doesn't feel like a dream, it doesn't feel like a fantasy. It feels very real. And it feels like it's laden with all of the hiccups and warts that real life is full of. And in a way, that's beautiful, too, you know, like, you have moments may hopefully on stage where you kind of transcend your physical form and get into that sort of spiritual place of you know, that we were talking about earlier for getting yourself that's that's the goal. But in and around at all, you know, it's very human. And it's funny, like, winning Juno's was was an interesting one because the genos is a huge any awards show, even Polaris which claims to be only about artistic merit, but let's be honest, claiming to be about artistic merit is like its own fashion show. It's its own pop culture thing. It's its own, you know, sort of like a cool party or something like that. And so I've been listed for Polaris, and I have won Juno Awards. And the funny thing is that when you're in the room, and they're announcing awards, I mean, tons of people are winning, that you and your subjective mind don't think that they were better than the other nominee allow so and so should have won or whatever. And the way that I can rationalize it all because when you're when you're entering that arena, where it's like, they're gonna call someone's name, I hope it's mine. It's like, it's the ultimate test of like, can you existentially clock your self worth from an internal compass or are you seeking that external affirmation and The way that I've been able to sort of compartmentalize that experience in my brain and still sleep at night, is that these award shows are not about the art whatsoever. They're not about the songs you wrote, they're not about the how they are connected to, but that's not what it's about. They're about you, as a person. And your peers and colleagues and people that admire you are patting you on the back, saying, Good job, we support you. We're excited about what you're doing. And you have the momentum right now, to achieve this award. And so it's like, you put your heart and soul into the art into the work, the work is not what's being judged, what's being judged, is the projection of your career, basically. And so in doing so, if you win or don't win, you know, sure, maybe that other person had more momentum coming into the chinos and got more votes or whatever. But then it but then you're not going oh, it's not because the album wasn't as good as XYZ or whatever. And so, if you have, the thing I'll say about to your notes and awards is that it's complete and utter bullshit. But when they call your name, it feels incredible. And the whole rest of the weekend, everyone's patting you on the back, like, oh, good for you, you really deserved it, we're rooting for you. Congratulations. And that's sort of like cloud nine, like, Oh, my God, I'm the anointed one. For this moment in time, you would have to be a psychopath to not indulge that and enjoy that a little bit. Or you'd have to be like the Dalai Lama. And like, you'd have to just be so on another level, and I would never claim to be that way. So it's, it's hard because it is you can't judge yourself based on it. And you can't, like evaluate yourself based on the outcome of it. And you pat yourself to appreciate it in the same way that you appreciate, you know, those broccoli and that watermelon being cut for you in the greenroom. Because if you snub it, and say this is utter bullshit. And I don't want anything to do with this. That's not really good, either. That's still an ego play. You know, it's like, it's still I'm too good for this.
Kate Shepherd 47:18
You're up here on the pedestal, or you're down here in the pit. And meanwhile, neither one of those things is ever really completely true.
Dan Mangan 47:27
Exactly. And just taking the victories, even the little victories that come along, and being excited about that, well, it's better for your mind, like, selfishly, it's better for you and your ability to sleep at night.
Kate Shepherd 47:37
Yeah. But there must be something about when you get to work with and meet new people who you've admired for such a long time, who maybe did feel like they were in this other I know, we all do that. Like we're always putting people on a pedestal right. But here you are, now you're working with them. And you're like, having these opportunities. That's different than winning awards. That's like, now you're, you're in that kind of part of the where creativity is flowing really fast. And
Dan Mangan 48:03
well, yeah. And the other it's like, in that way, like, you know, seeing a Broken Social Scene are faced explode, and they were tied to the arts and crafts. And then you start like, in your mind, you're like, oh, it's because of arts and crafts. That's why addicts know they exploded because both of those bands were complete rocket ships of talent and drive and Zeitgeist luck, and just right place, right time, perfect storm explosion. And there's no silver bullet. And as soon as you start working with your dream company, like if you're a publisher, and you start working with like, HarperCollins, or something like that, you're gonna see very, very quickly, that like, there are imperfections in every institution, and every organization has, you know, will fall short in certain ways. And it's because they're run by humans and humans are completely rife with, you know, faults. But I have had, like, I just posted a story on Tik Tok the other day about meeting pop up, Paul McCartney
Kate Shepherd 48:58
i am so glad you said that - I was gonna ask you to tell that story. Well tell us the story.
Dan Mangan 49:02
Yeah. So I'll try and tell the short version but weirdly, after being broken into like being robbed in Los Angeles and having this crazy experience, and then going to the studio the next morning after spending the whole morning with like the LAPD and wandering the streets, looking for my bags, and my passport in it and all this stuff and going to the Canadian consulate, so that I could get a passport in time for my flight home and all that. And so I get to the studio and we're there we take one take of one, the first song that we're doing, we're listening back and then Paul McCartney kind of pops his head in the darkness. I'm sorry. And and, you know, somebody I was with kind of knew him a little bit and they chased him down. I mean, he hang up for like 20 minutes and then went out to get a coffee an hour later, and then I ran into him at the doorway of the studio. And he was like, oh, it's us thinking about your song. And, and so and he's had like these thoughts about the song that we played for him. I'm like, this is just like insane. because, like he was Paul McCartney giving me his two cents on the song like, it's funny, like I can I know 100 of your songs word for word, you know, like, and now he's heard one of mine. And I'm sure he forgot it shortly thereafter and forgot my name and everything. But it was this moment where you're like, I treat those moments like an omen. You're like, I'm doing what I was supposed to be doing. Like, if I am. If I am in the same studio, where that kind of happenstance could occur, that's positively reinforcing for me that like, I am fulfilling my mission. You know, I'm out there in the world, doing the thing that I love and placing myself in the crosshairs of opportunity. And, and that's really exciting. And you know, meeting him is like, one of the coolest things that's ever happened to me. And I've got other stories, like, I've got Snoop Dogg stories, and Willie Nelson stories and all kinds of stuff.
Kate Shepherd 51:00
And favorite one?
Dan Mangan 51:04
Well, it's probably probably I mean, although like, you know, watching Snoop Dogg and Willie Nelson share a vaporizer on Willie's tour bus at Glastonbury is that, you know, like, that was, that was pretty special. But again, you know, like, I don't like the idea that this is all in the past tense, like, I don't want my best work to be behind me. I want I always want to be better. I always want to be a better songwriter, and a better musician and a better singer and a better performer. And I can say with like, complete, you know, biased certainty that this new record, which, you know, over unrolling this year, is the best, I think it's the best writing the best songs, the best thing I've ever done. And I feel like, despite the fact that I'm 39 year old, you know, cisgendered hetero white, dude, boring as can be with two kids. You know, in today's ik, so I'm the last person anybody wants to hear from, but I think I got some things to say. And I think they're
Kate Shepherd 52:06
You're, so hard on yourself, I think about I was reading an article the other day about people have tattooed your lyrics on their body. People more than want to hear what you have to say you're reaching them, I have to tell you, I was listening to his basket the other day, I had to pull over. I've heard that song 1000 times. I don't know why. But I, I literally was sobbing. Like, I was just, like, anybody listened to that song with, like, it was it got deep into my heart. And I, of course, people want to hear what you have to say. And I feel like I just want to reflect this back to you. You're so present, like, I think you're so willing to you're willing to fail you're willing to really be yourself you've kind of worked through I think a lot of the bullshit around like pretense and trying to be something that you're not and how could you not have the best work come through you now you've refined your channel so much.
Dan Mangan 53:02
So, so cool of you to say, thank you. That's really really really sweet. And I do feel that way. Like I'm in the best physical health of my life. I feel like mentally like I you know, when I was young, I never like meditated or did anything to sort of feed my mind. I'm reading good books. I didn't just like I'm in a good place with my kids and my family and and with music and songs and I feel like I'm maybe better suited now to deliver whatever my message is than I ever was when I was young and standing on bars hops and screaming my head off and you know, I was I was a good ringleader but I think I'm more sound as any kind of artist now than I than I was then. It's it the other important thing to remember is it's I'm very thankful for basket
Dan Mangan 53:56
so I'll brace myself against the wall and hope to God that I don't fall My bones are worn my hair blow hold I used to be so young How did I get so old? Won't you take my cane and all my hand you're holding on to all I have just a basket full of man lorries and I'm losing more each day seems I can make it to the street, I'll steal a car or a bike, whatever there is to steal. I wrote that song in like an hour bus ride out to UBC on the 99. back whenI was going to classes there. My grandfather just passed away and I'm And I, to me that song is like this gift that just keeps giving like, you know, it gets requested every show I play at every show. I enjoy playing it every night. It hasn't gotten old to me. But there is still an element of it that's like, it doesn't feel otherworldly. It feels like very, oh, this version of it This night is different than this version of that night or, and when I hear stories, because and particularly with that song people, but I can't listen to that song without crying. But it's important is for me to step out of myself, and step out of my perspective. And think about okay, well hold on. What songs of other people's make me cry? And what does that feel like? Oh, man that feels heavy, and dark and beautiful and light and all of the things. And when I remember like one time listening to the song, select all delete by John K. Sampson. Do you know that song? I was on a ferry as really anxious and really having a hard time. And I just listened to that song and I didn't bawl my eyes. I just had like a little weepy moment. And I was thinking, like, I'm so grateful for the song right now, because it really saved me. It was like a life raft, you know? And so if I can picture what that means for me, other people's work, and then flip that around and think that maybe some of my songs do that for other people. There's no better fruition that is it like that is that is like put that on my tombstone. Like, it's the best thing I could have ever hoped for. Because he, you have this, you send off your smoke signal, right? And you say, I don't know if you guys feel but this is how I feel. And you send that out up into the air. And then like 10,000 miles away, somebody sees that smoke signal. And they go, Oh, my God, that's exactly how I feel. I've never heard it articulated just like you did. But God, I feel the same way. I'm with you, man. And even if you never meet, like cosmically, you are both less alone, for having had that experience together. You know,
Kate Shepherd 57:00
I absolutely know. And I wish I could, I wish I could just transmit to you how I know that if your music has affected me this way. And I mean, I've been under a rock for the last 10 years and raising my kids and I haven't even tried turned on so much for everyone the other day. Again, I was on the highway, I shouldn't listen to you when I'm driving. Dangerous, I was transported back. I used to live in this old house it made in 16 with my dog Lucy and, you know, had lots of free time and I listened to music which shows and that brought me back to those moments with that.
Dan Mangan 57:33
It's like, it's like, like, they there's a certain smell that takes me back to my like, my throat, the hallway and my grandmother's apartment. You know, in that old apartment building I like oh can 13th or whatever. And it music is kind of like that. It's like an odor. It's like something that can like transport you. When I hear the tongue, the tourist by Radiohead. I'm immediately like, 16, big headphones on CD player in my hand, like holding, it's just flat, so it doesn't skip, like head against the window, pain of the transit bus. rain coming down. It's nighttime, like those experiences where the music and you are fused. And you are one, just like we were talking about at a concert, you're unconscious, you know, you get to that ethereal plays. And it is like the most beautiful irony that when it when existing, almost the most exciting thing you can do is be unconscious, like, like, be like being like, on a massage table or something just getting like the best massage or, you know, at a concert getting like nailed and dancing. Like whatever it is. It's It's hilarious that the best thing about being alive is being halfway to not existing, you know? Well, I
Kate Shepherd 58:54
think that's what the great sages have been trying to point us to, since the beginning of time is that that that's just presence. Just you're just fully in the moment you're not in your mind and not in the next moment. You're not in the last moment you're in.
Dan Mangan 59:07
And it's important to note that like, when I'm when I'm on stage, and I've had people say to me, Oh, you're such a you're very present performer. And I just wouldn't want anyone to think disingenuously that I operate moment to moment through my life with that level of like, you know, like, it's just not nobody can and I. And the thing that made me capable of going to that place was feeling really normal and feeling really like on pedestals. And, and I guess that's like, the beautiful thing about consciousness, right is that it's a never ending ladder, like, there's no top to it. And no matter where you are on the what, whether you're on rung seven or rung 700 of the consciousness, when you look up, it just keeps going. You know, there's more, and there's always someone ahead of you and someone beneath you and all you can do is focus on yourself and, you know, go take a cold plunge and, you know, get in the zone.
Kate Shepherd 1:00:05
I have to ask you, my 10 year old I have a son named Cosmo who's 10. And both of my children have obviously memorized the words robots. But they, the and I thought they were going to ask me about the singers stupid head off because they get to say the word stupid. But no, they wanted me to ask you because I said, I'm gonna talk to Dan today. What do you what are your I always ask them they're really interested in the podcast. And I said, What? What do you want me to ask him and Cosmo said, What is ring the bells that still can ring mean
Dan Mangan 1:00:38
Dan Mangan 1:00:47
for the bells that still can ring us. Your stupid had to.
Dan Mangan 1:01:07
Don't I mean, I don't know if you're privy. But that is a direct quote from Leonard Cohen. So his song it says ring the bells that still can ring. There's cracks in everything. That's how the light gets in. Beautiful, beautiful song I can't think of the title right now. But in referencing him, and I do this in some of my songs. It's like, it's like a nod to him. But it's also sort of like, in referencing something that is commonplace. It doesn't have to be like a lyric of a song. It can be just like, I don't know what you've been told, right? That's the opening line of robots. And that's like a saying, like, I don't know what you've been told, kiddo. But and so when you infuse a song with something that's already part of like the colloquial like Commons of speech, like, like a Leonard Cohen, lyric is you're sort of you're creating a sense of familiarity, in and around what's going on already, subconsciously. And so I do that a lot with my songs. But that line in particular, meaning maybe this is just for my like, app, Woody and dystopian mind ghosts, but it means despite whatever hardships or lack of opportunity, or lack of resources or whatever, you can still ring the bells that still can ring, no matter how many bells have been silenced by people who want to restrict, let's say, reproductive health, and you're in the States or whatever, no matter what silencing is going on, you can still find the bells that will still ring and you can ring them. And it's like a call to arms. It's like, you know, and the next line is singer stupid head off to the ones who are not listening, which is in its in a way saying the same thing. Right? It's saying, you know, you're still you, you can still be you and you can say your message and say it clearly. And, and whatever, in whatever way is possible for you. Use what you got, when you got it. To convey your message, basically, think that's a very long story way of describing,
Kate Shepherd 1:03:39
I'm just looking at the time here I'm reluctant to bring this conversation to a close because it's been so wonderful to talk to you.
Dan Mangan 1:03:45
I see a text from my wife saying she needs me to go get a watermelon for her audition that she's self taping. So
Kate Shepherd 1:03:52
yeah, perfect, perfect timing. thing else that you want to say here before we go.
Dan Mangan 1:03:59
Only that everybody should check out side door access.com Which is, you know, my sort of non musical but still musical project. It's like Airbnb for shows where any spaces or venues so you can create a profile for your living room or your backyard or your bookstore, whatever. connect directly with artists and put on shows, curate for your community. Right where you are. It doesn't have to be right in the middle of the city, it can be anywhere and host shows and help artists make a living and sort of contribute to the great process of empathy mining through art.
Kate Shepherd 1:04:36
Thank you for coming today.
Dan Mangan 1:04:38
My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Dan Mangan 1:04:40
And thank you again for your music your I really feel like you're a little bit too hard on yourself. What you're doing is really important, so thank you.
Dan Mangan 1:04:48
very kind. Okay, appreciate that. Well, thank you so much Lovely to meet and reconnect as the case may be and much love. Have a great day. Have a great weekend.
Kate Shepherd 1:05:02
If you're listening, Dan, thank you for making the time and for such a truly terrific conversation. I really enjoyed talking to you. And I had so many aha moments, both in real time talking to you, and then also later in editing. So thank you for everything you shared and for being so vulnerable and open and kind and all those wonderful things. And for everyone else, Dan has a brand new album coming out on October 28. It's called being somewhere. And you can find out everything about it, including where to go see him live. And if he's playing in a city near you, you really got to go see him live. And you can do all that on Dan Mangan music.com. So da N ma NGAN music.com. Dan's ability to recognize his ego and figure out a way to use it in a way that serves his art and his audience and his capacity for genuinely being present in the moment. both onstage and offstage are what makes Dan so likable. He's an incredible songwriter, and has a rare and beautiful ability to just be himself, be vulnerable, and free, both onstage and off. You know, when you're listening to him singing It's his soul, you're hearing that opens a door in your own heart. And that's why his fans around the world tattoo his lyrics on her bodies and faithfully come to his shows wherever he goes on tour, his music makes us cry and laugh and feel the wonder of being alive. You know, I I want to point out something to anybody who's listening to this, who knows that they have a gift inside and wants to give it to the world. Dan didn't just sit around and wait to be discovered. He said about methodically building his career and building a vehicle for his music. He didn't wait for some magical moment that was out of his control. But he made it happen with resourcefulness and passion and grit and drive. He never gave up. I mean, he was he built his own website and was his own agent when he didn't have somebody around to do those things for him until he did. Another really important lesson I think we can take from Dan is around learning to be ourselves. You know, he learned really early on that he needed to be himself on stage, that maybe smoke and mirrors would work for other performers. But for him, he always just felt really crappy anytime he deviated from being down. And it's this willingness to be himself to be vulnerable. That has allowed him to connect so deeply with crowds all over the world and explains why his fans are so dedicated to him. Truly, to be a Dan Mangan fan feels like he is already your friend, someone who feels the grit and grace of life and articulates in a way that something deep inside of you understands. And you can't get that by trying to be somebody that you're not, you know, his his compulsion to fully step into himself in his gift and to tirelessly build this vehicle that would allow him to have the most reach for his gift, ultimately, is an act of service. You know, let him share his gifts which inspires us. And it gives everybody listening permission to free themselves, and to be reminded that the pros of existence really do outweigh the cons. I want to say a special thank you to Chloe and bled over at arts and crafts, who helped make this episode happen, and to arts and crafts for allowing us to share some of Dan's music here with you today. Make sure you're signed up for my newsletter. I pick a random person from my email list once every month and send them an original piece of my artwork. It's one of my favorite things to do. It takes a lot to put together the show. Please consider supporting me to do it. You can visit patreon.com/creative Genius podcast to find out more. And please keep my jewelry or paintings and especially gratitude birds, which keeps selling out in mind. Next time you're looking for a treat for yourself or for a loved one. You can find everything I've mentioned on Kate Shepherd creative.com Thank you for being here, for opening your heart and for listening. My wish and intention for the show is that it reach into your heart and stir the beautiful thing that lives in there. May you find and unleash your creative genius