Dan from Downingtown is a brand new artist hailing from Pennsylvania. He uses his influences from hip-hop, rap, trap, metal and more to form his own brand entirely. He's just released his debut single 'Without You' that showcases his explorative and wide ranging style. A trap beat ensues with Dan singing and rapping over the top with the metal-esque guitars in the background, making for an almost sad pop vibe. We sat down with Dan to learn more about him and what's in store for him next, exclusively for FLEX!
Hey Dan, tell us how it feels to have your first single out in the world!
Nerve-wracking. It's nice to get the thing that's been spinning around your head out into the world. But it's a long process. I wrote and recorded "Without You" very differently from the other musical projects that I have done in the past. In the end, I'm happy with what came of it, but I had no idea what kind of reception it would get. However, I've gotten some good feedback. And I now have a good idea of what my sound is turning into for future releases.
What is 'Without You' about?
I wrote the song as part of a concept EP that's coming out in April, along with 2 other singles. Normally I don't like to outright say what a song is about, because I believe that's up to the listener. If someone here's a song they like and it means something to them, why would I tell them that it means something else? But for anyone wondering, I wrote this song about me and my former band. Before the pandemic we were doing well, but my role in the group was "being the drummer," and having a funny stage presence and outgoing personality. When COVID-19 killed the project, I knew that I still wanted to create music, but I wasn't sure if I could do it myself. "Without You" is about me losing my band. Including the good parts, the bad parts, the fun parts, and the frustrating parts. Losing that chemistry that made everything so great, and being forced to put yourself out into the world alone. Actually, the whole EP sort of has an element of loneliness to it.
Who are your biggest influences?
They're a little out there. My favorite band is The Beatles, my favorite songwriter is David Bowie, and I think that Slipknot has the coolest sound. I actually grew up listening to a lot of metal, punk, rock, progressive rock, and basically anything that was in the underground. Back in school I was that one weird kid with crazy hair, a hoodie, and cargo pants. I would say the artists that left the biggest impact on me, would be: The Beatles, Slipknot, Gorillaz, David Bowie, System Of A Down, Ween, Between The Buried And Me, Deftones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Rage Against The Machine.
Stream 'Without You' in full here:
Your music blends pop with an almost trap beat which is really individual, does this stem from your favourite music genres?
Kind of... When I wrote this song, the three albums that I listened to the most were N/O/I/S/E/ by Ghostemane, White Pony by Deftones, and The Mollusk by Ween. I'm actually not a big trap fan. I just think the percussion parts sound cool. Especially the fast Hi-Hats, and distorted 808 bass. As far as the umbrella of rap goes, I actually prefer a lot of the older artists like A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang Clan, NWA, and 666 Mafia. I do like some of the newer folks like Tyler, the Creator, Playboi Carti, Kendrick Lamar, Cardi B, and Lizzo. And I really like the "Trap Metal" scene, with artists like Scarlxord, City Morgue, and $uicideboy$. But as far as my sound goes, I just experimented with whatever I thought sounded good at the time. If I had to point to 4 artists that may have helped influence this single/EP the most, I would choose Gorillaz, Ween, Ghostemane, and Deftones.
What's next for you after this release?
More releases! I plan on having a new single out towards the end of February, and another at the end of March. In April, I put out the EP. In between the releases I'm absolutely going to be active and screwing around on TikTok and Instagram. And I do have some ideas for after April, but that's a story for another time...
Are you planning to perform material live?
Absolutely! But right now, I'm in the early stages. I don't see myself going on tour or anything just yet. But I would like to put on a show/ live stream towards the end of the year. I've already got a pretty good idea for a band lineup and instrumentation. But for now, I just want to focus on making the music the best it can be, and continuing to improve on it.
And lastly, what's your aims for 2023 Dan from Downingtown?
My aim is to be the best that I can be, and go as far with this as possible. That means more music, more engagement, and more collaboration. The last couple years of the pandemic were miserable, and I don't want to find myself and the people around me in that situation again. The whole experience taught me to never take anything for granted, especially art and music. I'm going to push this as far as I can go, and just see what happens.