INTERVIEW: Daniel Wakeford talks music, touring and his new album
Posted on 14.07.2016
Daniel Wakeford is a pop star in the making. We met up with him and tour collaborators Richard Phoenix from Constant Flux and Gareth Evans from Carousel in the leafy courtyard of a private members club in London’s Soho, and found an ambitious artist at ease in his own skin as a writer and performer, at the beginning of his first UK tour…
How long have you been making music?
DW: I’ve been writing songs since 2009, when I first went to Tom Cook’s house for singing lessons. He said “Hello I’m Tom Cook, I’m your singing teacher.” And I said “Hello, my name’s Daniel Wakeford. I am a pop star!” We are the song-writing team, just like Benny and Bjorn from Abba.
How do you write songs together?
DW: I write the words first, and then Tom plays his guitar and I sing it.
Onto your new album, is this your first record?
DW: No. Five years ago I released by first album ‘Daniel Wakeford’. This year my new remixed album is ‘Songs of Gigs’.
Where did you record it?
RP: Daniel re-recorded a lot of songs for the new ‘Songs of Gigs’ album at the Meadway studio in Brighton – a studio owned by the Levellers.
So The Black of Lonely is your big song on the album - is it a big moment when you sing it on stage?
DW: Yeah. Everybody loves The Black of Lonely.
What’s The Black of Lonely About?
DW: It’s about how it is so dark when I get really lonely.
I guess lots of people recognise what you are singing about, because everyone can feel like that some times.
DW: Oh yes.
How did you come to write the song?
DW: Seven years ago I wrote The Black of Lonely. My carer Gareth showed me videos on YouTube about learning songwriting. Then I was thinking for my brains, has to do “The black of lonely, I must be grateful. The black of lonely, I’m still loving you. The black of lonely, I’m still my heart, and I still always love you”. That’s what my dreams were about - the chorus of ‘The Black of Lonely’.
Do you prefer playing live to recording?
DW: Yes, totally.
How did you plan the current tour?
RP: We are using the Arts Council England Grants for the Arts funding we’ve got for Daniel to go on tour to help support other artists. At the same time we are working with promoters and venues to make sure every date is accessible. Dan also has a following in the DIY scene, so we are making connections that way to add to the line-ups. We are also working with venues and promoters to make things accessible.
How did the Todmorden gig go?
GE: The show in Todmorden was really well attended, with a mixed crowd. For venues to see that shows like this can attract large audiences is really important – it comes down to promoting shows in the right way. So promoters are seeing the benefit, venues are seeing the benefit, and ultimately performers can see the benefit.
When you were picking your venues, was access an issue?
RP: This is the third tour Constant Flux has booked with artists with access requirements. We are booking bands for every date that have members who have learning disabilities. At the very beginning we spoke to Attitude is Everything to get advice. All of the gigs are accessible. With the funding we have, we can assist promoters and venues to make small tweaks and ensure this this is the case if needs be. In the case of DIY Space for London, we are assisting the venue to sign up to Attitude is Everything’s Charter of Best Practice.
Are there any venues on the tour that you have had to support to be accessible?
RP: There is one venue that is upstairs usually. The promoter wanted to host an accessible gig there, so moved the performance space downstairs. But then there was the issue that they couldn’t charge for tickets, so the income stream was cut off. The promoter was able to work with the venue and the bar to secure a bar deal to make the gig viable. There have been lots of examples like that.
So what are you looking forward to most about the rest of your tour?
DW: Meeting people. The fans do recognise me. I was on the Undateables on TV for two years. The Undateables crew recorded my gig the other day at the Golden Lion in Todmorden when I performed.
Are you visiting some new places?
DW: Well I have never been to Glasgow before, into Scotland. I thought we are going on an airplane to Scotland… He [Gareth] thinks we are getting the train [laughs].
From L-R: Richard Phoenix (Constant Flux), Daniel Wakeford, Gareth Evans (Carousel)
So what do you do to get ready to perform?
DW: I wear pop fashion to look like a rock star.
So it’s important to dress for the stage?
DW: [Laughs] Yes it is!
Do you get nervous?
DW: Probably I never have been nervous, as I’m so happy to see my fans!
Are you nervous about maybe playing in front of lots of people at Together The People?
DW: Hmm, maybe a little bit! [Laughs]
Do you like to talk to the crowd on stage?
DW: Yeah I always like to.
GE: Daniel is really great at interacting with the crowd, introducing each song. That really helps me when I’m lining up his backing tracks! Although there was one time when I was a bit late and you said ‘Come on!’
DW: And everyone shouted ‘Daniel! Daniel! Daniel!’ [Laughs]
So people should expect a good time if they come to one of your gigs?
DW: Yes. I always can’t wait to play!
Is there a show you are most looking forward to?
DW: Yes, on the 19th July there is a Daniel Wakeford special at the Green Door Store in Brighton. I always love playing there. I always love playing the Rockhouse night at the Green Door Store.