Dan Patlansky has opened for Bruce Springsteen, toured with the likes of Joe Satriani and King King, and had his last two albums, Dear Silence Thieves and Introvertigo, voted the #1 Blues Rock Album of the year by the Blues Rock Review. There are other award nominations, along with an escalating fan base that can’t get enough of this South African guitarist, singer and songwriter. Currently on tour in Europe before returning to play more UK gigs, during a brief break Paul H Birch caught up with him for Ramzine.
Ramzine: The success of your recent albums means you’ve spending quite a bit of time touring the UK in recent years.
Dan Patlansky: ‘Absolute pleasure playing to be UK Audiences… They are very discerning and we look forward to get back to the UK in May 2017.
Ramzine: I gather you’ve family in South Africa where you’re still based and where both Introvertigo and Dear Silence Thieves were produced by Theo Crous.
Dan Patlansky: Yes, working with Theo did add a different sound and perspective to my music. I’m planning to do the next album with Theo, in a similar vein, as we have a great working relationship and creative process.
Ramzine: You’ve won and been nominated for several blues and blues rock awards, and while there’s also rock, funk and acoustic work in your playing it appears you’re approaching the overall writing of songs in a more troubadour sense now. How much of this is this an organic development in comparison to avoid being labelled specifically to one genre of music?
Dan Patlansky: I see music differently and I don’t like to look at it in terms of genre. Over the last couple of years, songwriting has become king, but all the music I do comes from a blues foundation.
Ramzine: Live, there’s a noticeable difference compared to your studio work: You let rip on your guitar a lot more freely and prolonged, adding some showmanship into proceedings.
Dan Patlansky: On the recordings guitar solos are more of a gift to the listener, it’s about getting the song out there… ’Live, solos naturally get extended & live performances have become about audio/visual experiences to the audiences.
Ramzine: Who are your own guitar influences?
Dan Patlansky: Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmy Hendrix, David Gilmore, Beck.
Ramzine: How does your overall set differ when headlining gigs?
Dan Patlansky: Our support set list will be more to the point, due to the limited time on stage… Where they are headline shows, we can breathe and do a little more.
Ramzine: Ash Wilson is supporting you on your current UK tour.
Dan Patlansky: Ash is a perfect support/guest artist for the tour and I’m a big fan!
Ramzine: Tell me about your band.
Dan Patlansky: The current band is from Hamburg in Germany: Tom Gatza – Keyboards, Jonathan Murphy – Bass, Felix Dehmel – Drums. I have a South African band back home and we toured together in August/September 2016 and it’s a great experience having them back on stage with me.
Ramzine: The African continent may well the birthplace of the blues, but South Africa itself isn’t where one expects a white guy to choose a career playing them. In fact, there’s probably only Trevor Rabin who’s made an international career playing guitar prior to your good self. How did you get into the blues or music in general, and how did this develop on a local level?
Dan Patlansky: I grew up listening to blues, through my parents that’s where I developed my love for it. Trevor Rabin’s success internationally was great motivation for me as a youngster. I tried to develop my skills, by touring constantly in South Africa for the past 15 Years.
Ramzine: I gather you were subsequently taken under the wing of Selwyn Miller who helped showcase your talents over in the USA. How did that come about and how did things evolve from there?
Dan Patlansky: Selwyn Miller is an ex-South African and wanted to showcase me in New Orleans. It worked and we had great success… Until Hurricane Katrina put an end to all touring at that time!
Ramzine: Would you consider music capable of achieving creative goals that other art forms cannot?
Dan Patlansky: Yes, I do… Music speaks to all languages and breaks all boundaries, more so than any other art form; it speaks directly to the soul!
Ramzine: When writing what comes first, the riff or the word?
Dan Patlansky: The riff always comes first. I draw inspiration for my lyric, from my personal experiences in life and social commentary. An example being ‘Sonnova Faith’.
Ramzine: Ah, yes, ‘Sonnova Faith’, a broader mainstream rock number with voiceovers and some slamming guitar that politicises by questioning blind belief on others. Good stuff. After you complete this UK tour what next for Dan Patlansky?
Dan Patlansky: We’re in the process of working on a new album for 2018 release and will be back in Europe, September and November 2017…Watch this space!
Ramzine: Dan, Many thanks for taking time out to reply to these questions.
Dan Patlansky: Absolute pleasure!!!
For more details on Dan Patlansky’s UK tour dates at Ramzine click here.