This November, two time Juno winner and Vancouver-based troubadour Dan Mangan will be releasing his fifth album via Arts & Crafts titled More or Less.
The album, consisting of ten tracks has already spawned three singles, ‘Troubled Mind’, ‘Fool for Waiting’ and recently released ‘Just Fear.’ Mangan explained that More or Less is much warmer than his previous record Club Meds (2015) which was more “academic and politically instigatory.”
“Each album has felt different than the last one. Club Meds was colder and this one is warmer. It’s tender and earnest. I think you flex your muscles in one direction and you want to flex it the other way,” Mangan explained.
“It’s where my heart is at right now. I feel like there’s enough coldness in he world and I guess I was writing about what I wanted to see in the world – which was more warmth.”
When Mangan was younger and releasing records — like Postcards & Daydreaming, (2005) “which [he] can’t listen to anymore, [he] doesn’t connect with those songs anymore” and Nice, Nice, Very Nice (2009) “which changed my life in many different ways” — he was writing music all the time because “it was the funnest thing to do.”
Nowadays, Mangan, a husband and a father of two, explained that he has to be a little bit more calculated in scheduling when an appropriate time is to write and work on his music.
“There’s an element that I have to justify my time more. I used to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted to. Now, I have to put in the calendar that on Thursday I’m going to try and write songs from 1-4pm,” said Mangan.
“I don’t want to waste my time anymore, so, my writing has gotten more direct because I feel like I need to make the most out of every moment I have to be creative. In that respect, I ‘ve become less metaphorical and vague and a little bit more specific about what each song is about.”
With More or Less, Mangan, 35, focused on two streams of thought. One comes from being part of the new generation of music and retreating from that world and focusing on his own “little domestic bubble.” The other is a reaction to the zeitgeist and wondering what kind of world his kids are going to grow up in.
“I think reconciling those two worlds of who I am and what I am going to do is very key on this album. I think that with every song on the album you can find an in point to those philosophical questions,” Mangan said.
The latest single, ‘Just Fear’ showcases the idea of “what are we going to do with this world?” He explained that the song was written in the haze of having a new born. He claims it is the most tender song he has ever written, and the song focuses about the current political landscape and how it relates to his own life and family.
More or Less was written over the past three years. Some songs were written right after Club Meds came out, and other came closer to the completion of the record. The time spent in between records allowed him to make an album that speaks to a particular time/place in his life. “I can think about each song and how it pertains to how it was written and maybe why it was rewritten.”
With a new album in tow, Mangan plans to tour Canada this February in support of More of Less with his new band backing him up, but has a few dates still in his calendar this year, Cicada being the first.
“Cicada will be the first time that some of these song will be played as a band,” he said. “That’s kind of fun to be introducing things live – but it can all go sideways and that’s kind of exciting too. It’s riding the line between awesome and this is all going to fall apart – and sometimes that’s when the best shit happens.”
Dan Mangan performs Cicada Arts and Music Festival on October 13