Dan Webb

Dan Webb

Dan Webb

Dan Webb is a 20 year-old alternative rock force to be reckoned with. His style isn't dictated by the traditional six-string, instead he opts for the keys. Webb's deliverance in style is captured on his forthcoming sophomore EP titled 'Hyperspace Clearance' slated for a September 2010 release through MGM Distribution - featuring the new single 'Way Out', due out July 9.

Having started in music at the early age of five, Webb began behind the piano enduring endless hours of classical training which continued through his schooling years, but it wasn't until his involvement in the Kool Skools project - a recording and multimedia project designed for secondary level students to promote, develop and support a diverse range of contemporary music writing and performance - that Webb started to seriously think about a future in music and the possibility of recording an EP.

Webb's first Extended Play, ironically titled 'Capitulation', was born in 2009. "The title wasn't meant to suggest I'm giving up or giving in - rather, here I am, this is me," says Dan Webb. "I liked the idea of working backwards, 'cos I like being different. But at the same time, I recognised that the whole experience was really special and I may never have had the chance to do it again".

Armed with a handful of new songs, Dan returned to Melbourne's Sing Sing Recording Studios to self-produce the four-track 'Hyperspace Clearance' in April 2010. Matt Voigt (Powderfinger, The Living End, Cat Power) was enlisted to mix and engineer the tracks and Abbey Road Studios senior mastering engineer Steve Rooke (The Beatles, Animal Collective) was brought on board to master the tracks at the legendary London studios.

"'Hyperspace Clearance' is indicative of a young musician finding his feet. It's taking what I did on Capitulation and just taking it to a whole new level. On some tracks I recorded five or six layers of keys, so you end up with a very full sound even though there's no electric guitar," says Dan. "I guess you could say I've axed the axe".

The title of Webb's second EP is driven by one theme - travel - and not entirely in the literal sense. "A handful of my closest friends - including my band members - were overseas when I was writing the songs, says Dan. There was also a death in the family, so that really impacted on my song writing".

"What really cemented the name for me was when I was reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in the weeks leading up to recording, and I also rented the movie. There's a scene in the movie where bureaucrats are "requesting hyperspace clearance" and the line resonated with me. I don't like being tied down to any one style or genre and I think I'm developing as a songwriter, so I wanted a title which suggests I'm moving forward."

Webb's live presence is second to none, having already supported Davey Lane's (You Am I) The Pictures in December 2009 and more recently The Cuckoos (feat. Quang and Tom from Little Red). The live experience, Dan says, always contains a sense of spontaneity. "I've got a great band and I like to keep them on their toes so if I want to extend an instrumental jam or something... we'll just go for it. Each show's bursting with frenetic energy - it's no dismal affair".

Interview with Dan Webb

Questions: Can you please, describe the style and genre of your EP Hyperspace Clearance?

Dan Webb: It's an alternative rock release, using multiple layers of keyboards to build up the sound instead of using the traditional lead instrument of a guitar. I wanted to explore some new ideas on this EP and as a result you'll find elements of funk, blues and pop on this release.

Questions: How did it feel to hear your song played all over the airwaves?

Dan Webb: It's a great feeling hearing your song being played, you feel like you might be headed in the right direction. It can be really exciting.

Questions: Did you have any pre-conceived ideas about the music industry?

Dan Webb: Not really. I guess a common misconception is that life's pretty cruisy for a musician. Being an independent musician and trying to get your music heard by people can be a really tough task if you're not prepared to put in the time and effort required. You need to set yourself realistic goals, keep focused and just keep at it.

Questions: Do you write your own songs? What's your inspiration?

Dan Webb: Yeah, I write my own songs. Inspiration can come from anywhere and can strike when you least expect it! A lot of my close friends were overseas last year and that physical separation from them made me feel kinda lonely, so some of the songs on 'Hyperspace Clearance' were born out of that.

Questions: What music/artists do you listen to when you are not playing your own?

Dan Webb: I listen to all sorts of things really. There's rarely a time at home when I'm sitting in silence. I regularly listen to stuff by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, James Brown, Radiohead, Kings of Leon, Stevie Wonder and Vampire Weekend and lately I've been digging new releases from local bands like Cabins and The Cat Empire.

Questions: What's next? Tour/Album/Single?

Dan Webb: I've got a single coming out on July 9 called 'Way Out' and I'll be giving it away for free from my website. The new EP 'Hyperspace Clearance' will be out in September and we're currently sorting out the artwork for it - I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished product! I'm taking a break from gigs at the moment but I'll be back in action in a big way later in the year. Stay tuned.

Questions: Was there a moment you contemplated throwing in the towel?

Dan Webb: Definitely! A few times, actually. Sometimes it can be really hard not to doubt yourself and where you're headed. but at the end of the day, I know I'm doing what I love and that motivates me to keep going.

Questions: Do you prefer performing live or recording?

Dan Webb: I really enjoy both! I love developing my ideas and playing vintage keyboards in the studio, it can be a lot of fun. It can also become frustrating pretty quickly if things aren't going as planned. I like to embrace whatever gets thrown at us along the way and it's really rewarding to hear the tracks coming alive in the mix. I'm always looking forward to playing my songs to a crowd. There's nothing like seeing a crowd dance to your music.

Questions: What/who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?

Dan Webb: The Beatles have always inspired me to write and play music. They were a groundbreaking band in many regards and their music will live on forever because of that. I think you'd be hard-pressed to find an artist these days who isn't inspired or influenced by them.

Questions: What is the biggest challenge you have faced along the way to your musical success?

Dan Webb: It's been hard to get people to listen to my music. There are millions of bands out there and they're all using the same resources that you are, so it can be really difficult to stand out from the crowd. I often view challenges like this as a motivation.

Questions: What's a typical day like?

Dan Webb: Not as exciting or as interesting as you may think! I've spent a total of ten days in the studio over the past 16 months. Right now I'm writing some new songs which I'm hoping to be able to perform live later in the year.

Questions: What has been your favorite part of becoming a music artist?

Dan Webb: Everything about it! I can't single out one thing.

Questions: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?

Dan Webb: I'd love to collaborate with one of my idols - who wouldn't, right? But I think there's some great undiscovered local talent out there and I'd really like to collaborate with someone with fresh ideas.

Questions: Are you single? What do you look for in a partner?

Dan Webb: A good first kiss and to be able to trust them is a must. I am in a relationship.

Questions: Do you have a website fans can visit?

Dan Webb: Yeah, you can hit upwww.dannwebbmusic.com to check out my music, blogs, and photos and show details. It also has links to my Facebook, Twitter and MySpace pages.

Questions: Can you tell us 5 things required for a happy healthy & enjoyable life?

Dan Webb: I believe that a vegetarian lifestyle is an easy way to stay healthy and help out the environment. Accept and embrace who you are, love your friends, set yourself goals and stay active.

Questions: What message would you like to say to your fans?

Dan Webb: Don't forget that my single's out on July 9 - head over to my website and score yourself a free MP3!

60 Second Quiz

Full Name: Daniel Henry James McGuinness Webb
Nickname(s): Webby
Star Sign: Leo
Music Talent: Playing cross-handed
Favorite Food: Indian
Favorite Film: There Will Be Blood
Favorite Actor: Robert Downey, Jr.
Pet: Two dogs, a cat and a rabbit
Best Feature: My left eye
Worst Feature: My hair
Person You Would Most Like to Meet: Ricky Gervais
Hobbies/Interests: Watching footy, cooking
First Job: At a cinema
Are you a Pub, Bar or Club kind: Pub
What Can You Never Leave Home Without: Pants
What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning: Coffee!