Dan Whitehouse releases a new double album Dreamland Tomorrow produced by Tom Rose and Boo Hewerdine. Released by Reveal Records on May 1st 2020.
Monthly video singles from the album and live sessions are to be released in collaboration with award winning artist Martin D. Hyde (who painted the striking artwork for the album) via Dan Whitehouse YouTube channel.
Dreamland (disc one) is a darker, brooding, more intense Dan Whitehouse record created with an experimental approach and wider sound palette than anything he has recorded to this point. Inviting label MD Tom Rose to produce, the first twelve songs were recorded and mixed by John Elliott (The Little Unsaid) and features Eric Lane (Joan As Police Woman) minimalist composer Richard J. Birkin and BBC Jazz Award winning Saxophonist Xhosa Cole. Alongside the new songs, Rose suggested Dan record versions of lost classics by Sunhouse and The Trashcan Sinatras. In contrast, the ten songs that make up the second disc (Tomorrow) capture Dan’s live essence, raw and in the moment, mostly voice and guitar, recorded with Jon Kelly (Kate Bush, Prefab Sprout) in London and Produced by Boo Hewerdine.
In October 2017 Tom Rose took me to the Basquiet Exhibition at Barbican London, whilst there we talked about how to approach recording the new album. Tom had made me a couple of playlists to soundtrack my trip home and this trip and those playlists really marked the start of my writing ‘Dreamland Tomorrow’. Basquiet’s work was so raw and vivid, striking and combined with the soundtrack of playlists, the trip had a reset effect, I was left with a blank canvas, and was keen to take a different approach to my songwriting. The two playlists, highlighted interesting production and sounds (with music by the likes of Oval, Holy Fuck, D’Angelo, Low and Ian Chang) the other had a collection of lost classic songs from writers such as Gene Clark, Lucinda Williams, Cat Power, Mark Eitzel, & John Martyn.
Once back at in Dudley at the Birdcage Studio, I began to digest the suggestion I try an entirely new way of working, writing instrumental music only. I remember thinking “I can’t do this” – my lyrics had always come first and the music followed to serve the words.
After a frustrating few days (months?) I eventually discovered some field recordings of bird song. I borrowed phrases from the birds, learning them on guitar and this set me free from the clutches of scales and well-worn shapes on the fret board and I ended up exploring harmony in a deeper way. These riffs became the starting point for experimental sessions with my band (John Large drums, Simon Smith bass, Xhosa Cole sax). From these early sessions came two of the album tracks ‘I Became The City’ and ‘What I Didn’t See’.
After I had spent almost two years writing and experimenting, I had recorded around 70 demos, some distinctly different (for me) music was emerging so I followed what felt good and began to collaborate more with other artists and producers. There was a lot of creative cross-pollination with the collaborations; I co-wrote lyrics with Boo Hewerdine, Ben Matthew, Jason Tarver & John Elliott – once I had a lyric I was happy with I’d try it out with different musical arrangements, different bands of musicians and at different studios. Eventually it was time to make the album and I asked Tom and Boo to produce one disc each.
I was excited to find a thread through these 22 songs, two clear pathways had emerged, the imagined journey of Dreamland that ends in the stark realization of the lyric for closing track of the first disc “What I Didn’t See”(‘everything is perfect all the time’). To live in the present moment, and not worry about Tomorrow.
Artist’s website: www.dan-whitehouse.com
‘Dreamland’ – official video: