Music discovery has been a vital part of my life for as long as I can remember and the reason that I’ve always prioritised it in my life, isn’t entirely selfless. Sure I love helping artists reach an audience, sure I love helping whip up a vibe around the musicians that I believe in and of course, it’s wonderful to play a part in the journey and progression of such talented people...but I also love it because of the genuinely magical feeling I get when I discover something truly remarkable. An electricity passes through me when I just know that I’ve come across pure brilliance...I know it sounds weird, but it shines out of the music at me, it has a shimmer to it somehow, it carries this stamp of something special. I heard it in Bastille, I heard it in Bring Me The Horizon and the same is true with Action Bronson, Don Broco, Architects, Lower Than Atlantis, Enter Shikari, PVRIS and so, so, so many others over the years, long before any hype existed around them.
Almost a decade ago, I first heard Proceed, and they were just DRENCHED in that shimmer. Proceed weren’t just a great band, they were special, and it hit me, right between the ears. The subtle intricacies of the music, the clean vocal lines, the musicianship...I was in awe. I had them in for a session, and engineered it myself in Kerrang! Radio’s studios in Birmingham - which is utterly MORTIFYING when I think about it, because one of the guys in the band (who politely watched me engineer and produce this session), went on to produce the likes of Blink 182, 5 Seconds Of Summer, Bring Me The Horizon and many more. I’ve never asked him about it, because I’m too mortified, but he must have been thinking “what the fuck is this guy doing!?” (as I spent 20 minutes trying to mic up a guitar using a mic that was attached to a radio studio arm). Hahaha! Fuckssake. Look, I never claimed to be a pro session-producer!! Though it did actually end up sounding pretty sick (and featured as a B-side on one of their records #justsaying).
Have a listen! Old-skool!
After some breathtakingly good EPs, Proceed ended up going their separate ways. The supremely talented bassist, Tom Doyle joined Don Broco and the bands vocalist and songwriter, Dan Lancaster started down a different path...and honestly, as excited as I genuinely was for the guys - my heart did break a little bit (a feeling that ALL Proceed fans can relate to, I am sure).
You see, the thing you need to understand about Dan Lancaster, is that he’s an artist. That’s the only word that can describe him. He’s an incredible producer, his ear hears things that others don’t, his mind makes up melodies that other would not explore, he creates genres and styles that bands want to embrace - he’s not just tastemaking with audiences, he’s tastemaking within bands!! He is having and will continue to have a glistening career working with the biggest names in music, of that there is no doubt, and that’s exciting! BUT, Dan Lancaster is an artist. And an artist needs a canvas of their own.
Over the last decade, I have had my eye on Dan, like a super-fan guardian angel, a couple of choice emails here, a few words in some ears there...just whatever I could do to let people know that this guy is a motherfucking genius. He’s worked on some amazing projects, has built a great team around him and his songwriting and production career is flying...and after some dalliances with some solo tunes a few years prior, last year, finally he told me that the time was coming where he was going to release his own material, under his own name. On the way to Ben Samson’s (of Lower Than Atlantis fame) wedding reception (what a lovely day, bravo B&M!), he played me 2 or 3 tracks of the solo material he’d been working on, in his car...and my mind just fell to pieces. One of the songs he played me, was an early version of this:
Now this is what I’m talking about. This is artistry. In this one song alone, Dan somehow manages to take the soul and vibe of old-skool RNB and give it a contemporary pop-edge, while simultaneously managing to retain and build all his credibility in the alternative scene. Think about it...how many (or better, how few) people have done this over the years? It’s names like Prince and Michael Jackson that spring to mind as points of comparison. Artistry. Listen to that voice! Effortlessly powerful, authentically unique, with slightly off-kilter phrasing that challenges you, while still drawing you in. Oh, did I mention that he’s a multi-instrumentalist? Well obviously he is and every part on this was written by him...obviously. Dan’s creating contemporary, technical pop, the likes of which Drake's and Post Malone's, producers will get psyched on, as well as people from the alternative community, and like I say - WHO ELSE is doing that? Who else even can?
The point is this...and believe me, I don’t say this lightly - genuine artists do not come around that often and whether you’re a music fan or musician yourself, GET INVOLVED with this one. Everyone that knows him, knows - Dan Lancaster is the real deal. He will improve your musical life, he will push your boundaries, he will sprinkle his genius and ultimately he will leave a legacy.
Be a part of this journey.
Dan releases his breath-taking, debut EP later this year, and Move A Mountain is available to buy and stream now.