As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
On The Table Read Magazine, “the best entertainment magazine in the UK“, songwriter and climate change campaigner Dan Rose shares the inspiration behind his new single, Smell The Need For Change.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed Dan Rose about his life and career, the inspiration behind his new single, Smell The Need For Change, and his creative process.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
Well I’m a Danish solo artist, a guy with a guitar and some simple songs with some ideas and thoughts about our world, the climate and the possibility of a sustainable future. I like a minimalist lifestyle and that’s reflected in my lo-fi recordings of my alternative indie-folky tunes.
Less is more, you know?
When did you first WANT to write songs?
When I realized that writing songs could be about artistic expression and sharing beliefs and opinions, rather than something you do to get girls, know what I mean? As a kid I thought of those people with acoutic guitars around the campfires and someone just trying to impress everyone. Maybe they are, I don’t know. I just know that when I found bands singing about real issues, my world opened up.
When did you take a step to start writing songs?
Back in high school, before I even knew anything about guitar chords or song structures. I started writing song lyrics to get my ideas down on paper. And soon after I learned a few basic chords which got me started actually writing some kind of songs on my own.
What was your first song released, and what was it about?
Oh man, it was back in 2014 and it was called ‘Balloons Tied To A Chair’. It’s about being painfully close to your dreams, the love of your life but never quite making it. It’s still out there to be listened to, naive and sweet as it is.
What was your latest song released, and what was it about?
‘Smell The Need For Change’ came out in April for Earth Day. Last year I decided to write a song for Earth Day this year and release it of the world hadn’t gone under yet. We’re still here, barely, so my song version of a climate-demonstration is out there now. I hope the sentiment helps to keep the conversation going and inspire change.
Focusing on your latest song. What were your biggest challenges with Smell The Need For Change?
Trying to limit myself! Haha, I had too many verses written down so I had to really decide on what parts I wanted to keep and why.
How many songs are you working on right now?
Well, several. I’m always working on songs in a way. As long as I have something on my mind and in my heart to say, I will say it. I hope it connects with those who need to hear it.
Do you keep to a theme with your music, or just go where the mood strikes?
The themes of sustainability, the climate and a minimalist lifestyle is pretty dominant in all that I do.
Keeping things simple as well, in both life and in the sound of my music, means a lot to me. I’m a green dreamer with a minimalist heart, you might say.
What is your favourite song you’ve recorded, and what do you love about it?
I’m thinking of a few of the ones from my upcoming album. It was a really healthy and fun process, recording and doing everything on my own. It’s totally lo-fi and sounds like it’s almost falling apart, especially when listening to the cassette tape version. It’s awesome.
Do you find other people’s music inspires you? Who do you listen to most?
Fave band of all time is Manic Street Preachers and they will never not be inspiring to me. Their ideas, their insistence on always pushing themselves and having a sense of purpose and defiance. I also like a lot of other solo artists like myself with minor chords and oftentimes a simple sound, where it’s just all about the song, you know? I love Elliott Smith, Bob Dylan, Bright Eyes and Conor Oberst, The Mountain
Goats, Daniel Johnston and whatever Tom Delonge does. I can always listen to Nirvana demos and every album by The Raveonettes. Shall I go on?
Do you write your own music, or do you have musicians you work with?
I’ve done a few bits of collaboration and enjoy doing that, but my main output, the songs closest to my heart, are the ones I’m writing on my own. So far, at least! I would love to co-write more songs so if you’re reading this you’re welcome to get in touch!
Do you play any instruments?
Well yeah, I’m an old school singer/songwriter, I’m not really any good writing songs on a computer. I’m not a good musician by any stretch, but I do know at least 17 chords on the guitar and I can play a few single notes on the piano. I also have a single harmonica that I sometimes use in my songs, just blasting my breath through it uncontrollably.
Do you like performing live, or does it scare you? Where can people watch you?
I love to go on the road with my guitar on my bag and perform wherever I’m invited. Meeting people, sharing stories, performing my songs, I love it. Anyone out there is welcome to reach out.
Is your music available online, and where can people listen to it?
Oh yeah, I try to make sure that at least some of my music can be found on every platform or music-website. If you can’t find my music where you usually listen to music, please let me know so I can correct that. I usually point towards Spotify if you must know.
Are you able to make music full time, or do you have a day job?
I have a day job and I like to have that balance. If I were to put all my eggs in that one basket, I would feel pressure on myself to be a certain way in order to achieve and maintain some kind of financial success, and honestly I prefer freedom to pressure. I am free and independent to make the music and art that I want, rather than trying to satisfy some algorithm or editor. I do try to live as simply as possible and keep my living expenses low, so that I don’t have to work full-time and I have enough time for music.
Are your friends and family supportive of your music career?
Some of my friends and family are very very supportive. Others are not so much. I’m not for everyone, clearly.
What’s something you never expected about being a songwriter? What have you learned that surprised you?
Probably that I will always have a strong belief that my next song is going to be my greatest song, rather than the last one I wrote. There’s a discipline and a sense of craft and always wanting to explore and write something even more truthful and honest.
Have you had any experiences that really stand out because of your songs?
Getting to perform live with my acoustic guitar is always an experience. I’ve played my songs at a skate-punk bar in Moscow, a sports bar in Lithuania, a public school in Iceland, a Christian rock festival in Sweden, but also in peoples living rooms and back yards. It’s all good, I want to play everywhere I am welcome, so anyone can reach out to me and we’ll figure it out.
Do you have any important events coming up we should know about?
If you’re in Denmark you’ll get to see me playing shows at venues throughout the summer and the fall, but also participate in conventions and such about green values. I’m working on trying to establish getting back into internationally touring again, I haven’t done that since before the pandemic. So again, reach out to me if you have some cool ideas about where I should bring my acoustic guitar, songs and stories.
What is the first piece of advice you would give to anyone inspired to write songs?
Always be working on the next song in any way. You’ll write a lot of weird shit, but it really is about sticking with it and finding your style and voice. There’s no substitute for that.
And, finally, are you proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
I haven’t accomplished anything yet, but it’s already worth it, know what I mean? Wait and see.
Pop all your music, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:
We strive to keep The Table Read free for both our readers and our contributors. If you have enjoyed our work, please consider donating to help keep The Table Read going!
Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.