Hailing from the outskirts of Manchester, England, Dan is a popular producer whose music is some of the best selling stock music here in our royalty-free music library. His no-nonsense approach to composition seems to produce music that is rich on melody and emotion, rather than a million clever production tricks. His music goes straight to the heart and works extremely well as background music, or theme music, for film, video and other visual presentation.
This month we have added another 12 brand new tracks by Dan Phillipson to our catalogue, so we thought it would be a good time to conduct an interview with Dan for our website, so you can get to know this young, talented musician a little better.
What is your musical background? Did you just grow up playing in bands like the rest of us, or do you have a musical education?
A bit of both really. I went through a quite conventional musical education through school, college and university but also learnt an awful lot from playing in bands and with other good musicians. I find it useful having the balance of both backgrounds really - I think it gives me a bit more to ammunition and variety when writing music.
Is writing and producing Stock Music your only source of income from your music right now, or are you also doing other things like bespoke music composition “to order”, writing pop songs for mainstream release, or anything else?
Yeah the majority of stuff that I do at the moment is for music libraries/stock music but I do occasionally do custom projects when they come along. Lately I have been working with a singer on some pop songs which has been fun. I am concentrating on writing stock music at the moment, I suppose with the aim of maximising what I can do in this part of the industry and then hopefully moving on to new things in the future.
It seems to me that your music has a quintessentially British sound. Is this something you’re aiming for, on purpose, or is it something that just turned out that way?
I definitely haven’t consciously tried to create a British sound, maybe it’s just because I’m British! I think it’s fair to say that I have definitely been influenced by British bands which does have some effect on what my music sounds like.
Dan, with Shockwave-Sound.com founder/CEO, Bjorn Lynne
Who would you say are your major influences, now and in the past?
I definitely can’t mention them all, but some of the most prominent influences are bands like Coldplay, U2, Radiohead, Sigur Ros, Mogwai just to name a small handful.
Listening to your music, it’s obvious that you are a competent guitarist as well as keyboard player and programmer/producer. Which instrument would you say that you master the best, and do you have a favourite instrument in your arsenal?
I would definitely say that I am a pianist/keyboard player and not really a guitarist, however in the last 18 months or so I have come to use the guitar a lot more in my music, which naturally helps in become a more proficient player.
On what hardware/software do you record, and do you have any particular, or peculiar, methods or processes that you do when you record, mix and produce your music?
I use a Mac/Logic Pro setup with various other software instruments and effects. I’m not sure if I do anything peculiar other than tapping my fingers on my desk an awful lot! I would say I’m definitely not ‘Old School’ when it comes to production in general – I do everything ‘In the box’ so no big analog mixers or racks and racks of outboard stuff for me – although it would be cool to have a play with that kind of gear!
Do you always work entirely by yourself, or do you sometimes bring in other musicians to participate or to co-write with you?
I’m a bit of a loner when it comes to my work and tend to do everything myself really, but sometimes it would be great to use other musicians to get a sound that software doesn’t always emulate that well. I definitely hope to use more musicians and hopefully even co-write some music in the future.
Of course, the music you produce for Shockwave-Sound.com is all instrumental, but did you ever work with vocalists, singers? If so, how did that go?
As I mentioned previously, I have been doing some work with a singer lately, which has been good fun and a nice change. I think it’s gone pretty well so I may be doing more of that in the future.
Is there another style or type of music that you’d like the chance to work with, in the future?
I hope that I always try new things throughout my career but one thing that does excite me is the thought of working with a full orchestra. Composing music for film is something that I would like and aim to get into more in the future .
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I like to walk with my wife, usually to take our 10 month old son to the park but it’s nice to get out as a family and just wander around. Eating out is another pastime that I enjoy and enjoying a nice bottle of red wine with a meal. I play football occasionally (that's soccer to the rest of you) – in an attempt to keep fit and I’m also a bit of a Formula 1 fanatic!
And that's where we left it off for now. We hope you'll take the time to check out some of Dan's music. Here are direct links to his 12 latest tracks, just added this week: