A little bit electro-pop and a little bit folk, singer-songwriter Dan Croll is showing up on lists like iTunes New Artists 2014 and VEVO’s Ones to Watch 2014. While studying at the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts, Croll was one of a handful of students granted a one-on-one session with the school’s founder, Sir Paul McCartney. His debut LP, Sweet Disarray, is set to release April 1.
What was it like jamming with Sir Paul? Were you a vegetarian then?
I was! But with having only 45 minutes with him, I was eager to get started in with the music. It was incredible jamming with him. I was amazed at his skill to pick up the guitar and start learning and singing a song whilst I was playing it; he has definitely “still got it.” I was also delighted that he enjoyed the songs and couldn't really find anything to improve them, which I took as a huge compliment. I'd love to cross paths again with him in the future.
Do you know your way around a kitchen as well as around a recording studio? Or is dinner mostly takeout?
Recently due to traveling and a busy schedule it has mostly been takeout—healthy takeout, fortunately. However, when I am back at home I do love to cook!
I've discovered a huge love for Thai and Vietnamese food, so I'm going to start cooking that more. I caught the winter flu recently so there have been plenty of spicy Thai curries to burn it away. Apart from that, I'm a sucker for a homemade pizza, especially if it has artichoke hearts on it.
You've credited your iPhone as a songwriting tool. How does that work?
It's a fantastic tool to have, and I use it most days. Before I had my iPhone I was always trying to remember song ideas I had whilst I was on the move, humming them here, there, and everywhere. But as soon as I got my iPhone, I found that at any moment I could just use its voice recorder, sing into it, and then save, ready for when I'm back in my studio. There’s quite the library of ideas on there now, but I'd be embarrassed for someone to hear it. It’s mostly me just beatboxing into it.
Your song "Sweet Disarray" is about your grandmother experiencing the onset of Alzheimer's. How did your family react to your touching on something so personal?
We haven't really spoken about covering it in the song. But generally it is something my dad and I have talked about, and he speaks very passionately on the subject and doesn't feel the illness is talked about enough. It’s an awful illness for both the person it’s directly affecting and also the family who have to deal with the financial and emotional aspects of it. I imagine he'd be very pleased and proud to hear me trying to raise awareness of it.