While travelling you meet all sorts of wonderful and talented people. One of these is the lovely Dan Vickers. We met while living in a hostel in Australia, i was privileged to hear him play many times in a few different places. He agreed to share a little of his story with me….
So tell us a little about how you started playing music.
I started playing guitar when I was 15. I listened to a lot of rock and metal, and wanted to be a rockstar. I loved playing all the rock riffs on a £20 guitar from a charity shop… And just sort of stuck at it over the years. Its just been fun!
Which famous musicians do you admire and why?
There are so many famous musicians I admire. When I was first starting to play, I use to watch so many videos of Tom Morello from Rage against the machine. His stage presence, and the way he would play his guitar riffs would amaze me, and it still does when I watch old live concerts if him. He was the guitarist I admires the most when I was growing up, and I based a lot of my guitar work on his style. Just simple riffs, but with so much energy and power in them! More recently, I’ve very much admired a young artist called Benjamin Francis Leftwich. His voice is very smooth and nothing technically special. I read an interview with him where he said he got to a point where he just accepted his own voice for what it was… Because its him. I always try to remember that when I doubt myself and my own abilities… Just accept everything for what it is. I’ve also been blown away by Ben Howard. His songwriting is some of the best I have ever heard. He has been a major influence on how I try to write some of my songs.
What would you say you have learnt from them?
Haha I think I rambled on too much and answered this one also. I’ve learnt so much from those 3 artists I wrote about… Each of them differently!
We meet while travelling in Australia, had any country you’ve visited had an influence on your music?
Just travelling in general inspired me so much! I’ve never had so much creativity come to me whilst I was travelling. Just the people you meet, the experiences you have, the sights you see… Its just amazing! I can remember travelling around India, and writing on deserted beaches, mountain tops… Just everywhere. It was one of the most amazing experiences ever, just to be able to write so much in so many amazing places… It makes me want to go travelling again right now when i think about it!!!
So, what music are you currently listening to?
I’m currently listening to the new ‘of monsters and men’ album. I heard one of their older songs in costa while I was having a coffee, and I wondered if they had a new album… Well, I’m pretty sure its a new album, I haven’t heard the songs before anyway haha. I like it! Id love to be in a band like that! I listen to a lot of trance and electronic music also. I just put random playlists on my Spotify and just listen to different artists. I also have a playlist called bedtime music which is just real soothing piano and strings music! That sends me into a peaceful sleep… And its a sign in getting old…
i know you have performed in many different spaces but where would you love to perform?
I would honestly love to perform everywhere… No matter how big or small. Just to keep performing in different places is what I want to do… All over the world preferably! I’m honestly just happy to play wherever and whenever. I’ve spent so many years being so unconfident and doubting myself, that now I have reached a stage where I can accept my own music and abilities, and just being able to perform is one of the best feelings ever. So yes, absolutely everywhere 😊.
What advice would would you give to some who is just starting to play an instrument?
The best advice I can give is from my own experiences. Just play. Play as much as you can. Practice, and have fun. That’s the most important thing. If you want to start performing, find a nice, supportive open MIC and just do it. Don’t care about what anyone thinks about you. Its your music. Its something you have created and its yours. I think its really liberating to play for yourself. To make music for yourself, and to keep learning, keep improving. That is an amazing feeling. And if you have a bad gig, or someone says something that knocks you, remember there is always an opportunity to perform again. There always will be. If you do doubt yourself and feel anxious, finding a supportive musical environment is a really good thing to do. That will help nourish your talents, and get the best out of you.
One last thing since getting back from travelling what are you doing with yourself other than play music?
Since I got back, I’ve got a job as a support worker, and working with mental health and learning disabilities. I really enjoy it and it is very fulfilling!
Thanks Dan, I have loved hearing about what Inspires, drives and influences your music and look forward to many more songs in the future. If you live around the Bristol area keep an eye out on the local music nights as you never know when you might be treated to a live session from Dan Vickers.