Interview: Dan Whitehouse
Almost a veteran on the Sheffield live circuit these days, Dan Whitehouse has played the scene under various guises – from Fights and Mabel Love to solo acoustic stylings and now, once more with a full band. We catch up with the singer-songwriter to find out about his band, their new material, and plans for the Tramlines weekend.
The last time we met you had just formed a band, moving on from taking to the stage with just you and your guitar. How has that developed since?
Since then we’ve written loads of material which we will be recording after Tramlines. We’ve just been rehearsing like mad to get things really tight for our show at The Cathedral.
You played there last year as well…
Yeah when they offered it up I couldn’t say no – it’s an amazing venue. I couldn’t not be a part of it.
What’s the new material like?
Our stuff has really been notched up – we all play a bit harder. I write songs to suit the sound of a band now. It’s an electric guitar-based sound which I kind of brought through from Mabel Love and developed. And it’s very different from the first album and my solo stuff, that’s why it’s taken a lot more time to develop.
Are you still recording and producing the music yourself?
Yes, although I can’t really do it in my bedroom any more though because of the drums! We’re just trying to find a space to record. We rehearse at Yellow Arch, which is a good environment, it’s always packed. And it has a bar, which is a bonus. We’ve been walking out at like 11 o’clock and there’s some kind of reggae night or something on which is a bit mad, walking past someone mashed up on a Tuesday night. Fair play to ‘em though! But it is a nice place to go down, and a nice environment to rehearse in.
Do you feel like you’re in a band even as the music is release under your own name?
Yeah absolutely. They’re local lads, and we’re quite unique I think – the bass player’s not a bass player but he’s playing bass, and the drummer’s a guitarist playing the drums. For me it’s given a new lease of life to some of the older songs.
How often do you get together?
Twice a week at least. It’s been intense. We’re only a three piece so we need to get tight to be at the level we want to be at, which is gonna take time. We’re booked in months in advance. We just want it to be good, especially for Tramlines.
What can we expect from your set then?
It is more raucous, and there’s more energy on stage now. I don’t want to be in a band that’s got no energy. I’, excited for it. It’s gonna be fun.
Have you got any more gigs lined up after Tramlines?
Yes, this is the marker. Once we’ve recorded the album, we want everyone to hear the new stuff. We’ve been thinking about doing gigs in unusual places. I’ve been in a few bands in Sheffield and I’ve gigged nearly everywhere that you can now! Sheffield is a gigging scene, and I do think that it’s moved out of the city centre now, places like Kelham Island, The Riverside and The Picture House are getting some good stuff. Gigs are happening, but a little bit off the radar.
Will you see anyone else over the Tramlines weekend?
I wouldn’t mind seeing Slaves. Lyrically-wise they’re great and their stage show as a two piece is brilliant. They’re creating something. It’s a bit of a monster.
I think I’ll also stick about for Half Earth and Hey Sholay, and on Sunday at the Folk Forest Eastern Seaboard Radio Station are on – I actually played with them at their first gig at The Heeley Institute.
So what’s next for you?
I just want to get out and play gigs and meet people. That’s the fun side, but I want a good set of songs to be able to do it. Now I’ve brought Luke and Will in, we’re bit more live and there’s more energy. I can’t wait
Catch Dan Whitehouse at The Cathedral at Tramlines at 5.30pm on Saturday.