Perfection Kills as We Talk to Dan Patlansky: 2018 already looks massive with exciting new albums, tours and more. Music rules 2018 that is a certainty. Kickstarting 2018 with his new album Perfection Kills, Dan Patlansky is smoking hot as he follows up his critically acclaimed 2016 album Introvertigo.
BD: Thank you once again for taking time out to chat to Bluesdoodles from South Africa. I was so disappointed not to have been able to catch up with you in Bristol when the Joanne Shaw Taylor show you were the special guest of was re-scheduled as she was not well. That said New Year, New Album and back touring England in March.
BD: When we last chatted we talked about the rebuilding of Old Red. How did the face-lift go and does the guitar feature on Perfection Kills?
DP: It does appear on Perfection Kills and the facelift went really well. I found a vintage neck to use so that was a great start. For the first few shows, it felt different but now feels and sounds right, and is on the whole of Perfection Kills and feels like home now. Old Red has been played for the last twenty years and time was having its effect. When over in the UK last April, Ash Wilson was opening the shows. He loved the sound of the guitar and at the soundcheck at The Globe in Cardiff, he asked if he could have a play. So I said yes, he picked it up and said wow how do you play, this guitar is impossible to play. I have got used to the imperfections and adapted either way I play. Ash said, take my guitar with a straight neck. I then realised how hard it was to play, at that point it was a no-brainer to have Old Red refurbished BD: So you adjusted like we all do when something is worn like the temperature guide on your cooker, it is not until someone else points it out you realise there is a problem DP: Yes, just like that the changes happen gradually and you adapt to the little flaws and I have adapted over time as the neck twisted. The new neck is easier to play, easier on my hands now I do not have to work quite so hard.
BD: Ten new tracks, before we talk about the inspiration behind them what is behind the Title Perfection Kills and the artwork of the Album cover with its dark, retro feel?
DP: Well I do like the thing of the dark laughing. The album cover is a representation of the title, Perfection Kills. There is no such thing as perfection in art. There is no yardstick to measure any art form against. By trying to obtain perfection the music is over polished. Polishing out the imperfections, rawness of sound the live organic feel. That is why I decided to produce this album myself. The producer of Introvertigo and other albums, Theo Crous will always be my mentor. The concept of Perfection Kills called for this new approach.
The cover reflects that I have always been a massive Pink Floyd fan, their album covers are my favourites. This album cover is supposed to be intriguing going outside of music and arts with a family and the vibe being killed. The mum is turning into a plastic mannequin, the girl cannot breathe in the atmosphere being created and Dad may look complacent in fact he has given up living every hour as it comes.
BD: You have recorded the album in Scherzo Production, what prompted this choice other than it being based in your hometown?
DP: Having recorded both Dear Silence Thieves & Introvertigo at Theo’s studio, I had a clear picture of the sound I wanted. It wasn’t going to be achieved in a traditional, very clinical studio with a sound deadened room. The studio that would work for me happened to be close to where I lived. The recording space sounded like a living room with a natural sound the wooden walls made the sound like playing live especially the drum and guitar sound not just close to the mic in a sterile space. Also, it was fantastic coming home at the end of the day rather than in another hotel room. I could come home and sleep on it, still many sleepless nights, over what is working, why other parts are not working what needs to be changed to make it good. Sleepless nights at home are definitely better than in a sterile hotel room.
BD: The first single from the album Dog Day has been receiving airplay ramping up attention for the album and getting the fans excited. How and why did you choose the number that closes the album to be the first out of the traps in the public sphere?
DP: I didn’t choose Dog Day, I initially thought Johnny would be a better single. I am happy with the choice made by my team here in South Africa and U.K that this was the first single. In fact, I just popped Dog Day on last without any thought. It was not my decision, not unhappy as that is why I pay people to make these decisions. In fact, it is perfect that Dog Day is the last track on the album – people will listen to the whole album before hearing what has become familiar the first single Dog Day.
BD: The songs are impactive with many tones and textures and wide-ranging topics covered reflecting the modern world bringing a darker side to the lyrics on tracks such as Too Far Gone, Mayday and even iEyes. Many of your songs are about stepping out of our and your comfort zone does the guitar playing help you reach those tricky places.
DP: Playing guitar is comfortable, it is my security blanket. I am more confident playing the guitar. My approach to creating the album is about embracing change and taking risks with change speaks to the picture-taking and embracing change. It was a high risk, high reward strategy, I closed my eyes and just hoped that it would turn out successful and as I had imagined it.
BD: iEyes subject makes it a crossover number with many younger people who are getting disillusioned with Social Media?
DP: Yes, we are all entranced with our phones and pads. The inspiration goes back to when I looked up while I was playing to a sold-out gig in London a couple of years ago I saw that 90% were watching the live music they had paid to see and hear was being viewed through the back of a phone as they were filming it. I fail at times, as I am just as guilty spending too much time on the phone. We need quality interaction with people and music not just through our phones.
BD: On Introvertigo, you had a song dedicated to your daughter, Queen Purree now we have My Dear Boy for your son Jack.
DP: I felt it was a little bit unfair just for my girl to have a song. My wife was pregnant with him while recording the album so felt very relevant topic to write about for the album absolutely had to be on the album. It is gentle and bit more melodic as if speaking to him. Now I have got to know him it suits his personality.
BD: What tracks will you be taking on the road with you when touring England in March. I know many of your fans will be disappointed that you haven’t fitted in Scotland and Wales. Touring is addressed in Junket Man, how do you plan where to visit when you visit the U.K?
DP: I don’t plan, I get given the tour by my booking agent/promoter. I was disappointed no Cardiff or Glasgow dates, I know fans will be disappointed. Will only decide the tracks to be played live after rehearsing them with the band along with a couple of shows in South Africa will have a better indication of which tracks. All of the tracks on Perfection Kills should work live so hopefully all of them will appear on the set list. For the UK tour I will have the German band I toured with it works better logistically they drive the van across and pick me up at Heathrow and the tour begins. This time we start in Bahrain & Dubai so while in the Middle East will have couple days to rehearse the new material and the shows to warm us up before UK tour starting in Manchester.
BD: Thank you, Dan, for once again taking time to talk to me and sharing your thoughts on the new album, touring and more. Be fantastic to hear the new music played live and loud in 2018.