“I started out playing pubs around my hometown, Shrewsbury, when I was about 13”, begins Dan Owen. “I would play guitar and my sister would sing. Then she left for university and I had to start doing the singing too. When I was 17, I was doing 150 gigs in a year”. Now, with the release of the music video to ‘Moonlight’, his first single on Atlantic Records, Dan Owen has announced a major 14-date October headline tour across the UK and Europe.
A priority for Atlantic Records, Dan Owen ended 2016 as a prominent figure on the music radar. As 2017 slowly draws to a close, things don’t seem to be slowing down. Performing music wasn’t always the dream though; “I actually wanted to build guitars. I was training in carpentry but a broken machine shot a shard of wood into my eye, which now doesn’t work properly. This meant I wasn’t able to do the finer woodwork so I went back to playing”. The dream now is to focus on finishing his first album. Which, if you’re waiting patiently, is almost done. “I just want to be able to do this forever”, he adds. “I have no backup plan so I’m giving it everything I have”.
‘Moonlight’ sees Dan Owen perform his haunting love ballad in cavernous surroundings. Moonlight floods upon him. There’s a beautiful quality to the track and it’s meaning lies within unrequited love. “When I was writing it, I was thinking it to be creepy almost, but the meaning has changed for me now. It feels like more of an innocent love from afar. Director Harry Cauty, came up with a vision for the video, and I think he did a great job shooting it”. Darkness envelopes Dan Owen while the cold tones of the moonlight seep in.
The video has a stripped back appeal, flitting between Owen and a dark haired beauty. His voice is honest, raw and melodic. The process for ‘Moonlight’, from start to finish has been a long time in the making. “I wrote it with a friend about a year ago, so it has been a pretty long wait to get it out”, he admits, “I recorded it early this year with a duo called MyRiot. They are brilliant producers”.
Growing up in Shrewsbury, there’s an incredibly welcoming live music scene. “There are a lot of pubs that give young musicians an opportunity to perform”, Dan Owen said. “Sometimes I still go to the folk/blues jam nights and join in”. But there isn’t such a thing as a typical day; “If I’m on tour, then there definitely isn’t a typical day, but when I’m in London I start with an hour in the gym. Then I will either be writing or in the studio from about midday until the evening. If I’m lucky, we finish with a pint or two!”
When we spoke, Dan Owen was preparing to play Latitude, which he was unquestionably excited about; “but mostly I am excited to finish the album”, he said. “It really feels like my life’s work. Since I first picked up a guitar, this is what I have worked towards. It all started with the Blues, and I think it still has a heavy influence on me. Especially live. I love going to see live music. I find those massive stadium and festival crowds pretty exciting”.
Across Europe in October, you can see Dan Owen perform. “Travelling abroad with nothing but my guitar case does get tough”, he confesses, but when you’re doing what you want to do forever, it can’t be that bad…