AngelDevil: Hi Dan, how are you? I'm very pleased to talk with you. Thank you so much for doing this interview.
Dan: You are most welcome. I am currently rehearsing and getting ready to travel to DC to play a few events during President Elect Obama's Inauguration. I worked hard on spreading the word about his message of change and hope and this is a very exciting time in the US.
AngelDevil: What is that push an artist like you to go in India and Israel?
Dan: India has always held a special place in my heart knowing that a man like Gandhi came from this land, a man who freed an entire nation from an occupying nation with nothing more than his intention, strong will, his mind, and compassionate action. The Tibetan government and His Holiness the Dalai Lama call Northern India home now, and being that the Dalai Lama is our generations Gandhi in many respects, it was a natural draw for me to want to immerse myself in and around this culture as I was trying to calm my life and find inspiration for new music and for life. As for Israel... for many years I have thought that if Israel and the Arab nations, including the occupied territories of the Palestinians, could find a sustainable peace, it would resonate throughout the world. I decided I would live there for a few years and learn more about the very complicated situation there, instead of being a critic or supporter of either side from the other side of the world.
AngelDevil: Could you comment a little bit your interview with the Dalai Lama?
Dan:Meeting and interviewing the Dalai Lama is a very interesting experience in that when you shake his hand and then sit down and begin to converse it is as if you have been friends your entire life. Also you get a deep sense of humility knowing that someone so educated and wise is indeed embracing the concepts of using compassion as a tool to reason with and negotiate with those who would be called an 'enemy'. The Dalai Lama explained that there are many other beings out there in our galaxy, many universes, many realities, and this gives me much hope for some days I look at humanity and how we treat each other, how we treat animals and the environment, and its clear to see we have much work to do as a species if we wish to survive. Knowing that there are people like the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan people... and any soul that is a good mother or father... a wise teacher or humble worker, brings hope we have a chance to make it through the fire.
AngelDevil: Speaking about your upcoming release of the "Coming up for Air". How long did it take you to arrange that composition? Can you tell me more about the songs?
Dan: Some of the songs began to formulate in India, such as 'On Your Side', which I actually wrote living in a Monastery guest house, but most of the songs were written in Jerusalem and the basic production was recorded there as well. With the help of a good friend named Max Wasa, we then brought the tracks to the US and added live drums, pianos, extra guitars with other producer's in Florida and in Oregon, my home state. Because I worked with Palestinian, Israeli, Swedish, and US musicians, and with the nature of the material and the expansive production, it took about 2 years to finish the recording. The songs all deal with a sense of 'coming home'... to a place of balance, but also a place of asking myself the question 'Am I saying anything in the music and the lyrics that has hope... or inspiration to myself?'... and this was the challenge. Not to preach... but also not to say something mundane, ordinary, or hollow.
AngelDevil: Which song would you consider your favourite and which is the one that gave you much inspiration from the new CD and why?
Dan: I don't have a favorite song, as I tend to lean toward one or the other at different times, but there is a song called 'Promised Land' that is about the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israeli's. If you look back through history you see at the root of things, the Arabic people and the Jewish people are blood descendants of each other, both sons of Abraham, as we call him in the West. There is a spot in Old Jerusalem where these two people are divided by an huge stone wall that is a remnant of an old Jewish Temple. It is called the 'Wailing Wall' or the 'Western Wall'. It's about 2 meter's thick and it is all that physically divides these two people and is the fulcrum of the conflict. Of course what divides people in their soul is another thing all together... and the song 'Promised Land' asks the question "Is it too late to become brother's again?".
AngelDevil: If your music was an emotion, what would it be?
Dan:I will have to let you answer that upon hearing the new record... my hope would be that the music brings a calm sense of embracing the future.
AngelDevil: In your musical quest, what came the most naturally for you and what was the most challenging?
Dan: Playing live and writing music and lyrics always feels like I am doing what my soul wishes of me... comfortable and inspiring. The actual traveling, doing interviews, photoshoots, ect... is the challenging part, for as a musician you wish the music and the live shows could say it all. I do however understand that getting the music out to people and touring requires a large amount of 'spreading the world' and for this I am grateful and can only hope that my answer's and thoughts are remotely interesting for your reader's.
AngelDevil: What are you hoping will happen with this new album? What are your expectations?
Dan: I have only one hope and expectation... that I can continue to play, write and record. If I am fortunate enough to be able to create music and speak and write from my concerns for the future, the frustrations, the insights... and the mistakes I make, then maybe it will resonate with other people. This would be the best life an artist can lead.
AngelDevil: Which is the song that comes close to your personality
Dan: All the songs are a part of how I feel throughout the day... from "I don't mind", a song about staying in a relationship that brings you heartache but you stay in it with the hopes there is some light at the end of the tunnel, to "Brave New World", which speaks about the lack of wisdom using violence to bring peace. Every day I read CNN.com headlines I am rudely awakened to how far we have to go before we can actually achieve balance.
AngelDevil: Let's go way back for just a moment to the years of your band, called Dan Reed Network. Which memories about the eighties do you like best to remember?
Dan: The 80's was a whirlwind of energy... constantly touring, different hotel rooms, lots of talk about how the Dan Reed Network was influencing certain bands, and how 'big' we were going to be. It was too much to live up to, but it was a fun ride while it lasted. The band members and myself got to see the world through playing music and this is only a beautiful thing. It was a time period where I was able to realize that all citizens of the earth have the same fears, desires, and hopes... and seeing the world as one without border's, was the beginning of many things and shaped my thinking even to this day.
AngelDevil: Who is Dan Reed in his daily life?
Dan: I pick up the guitar or play piano some part of each day, cook most of my own meals which is a lot like writing music... creative, but challenging, at least if you want the food to be inspiring. I spend a few hours or so in front of the computer each day, writing down journal notes, emailing people who reach out on Facebook, Myspace, and www.danreed.com. And another passion I have is riding bicycle. It's a bit more difficult in the NY winter coming on, but riding bike is my therapy. Whether it's dodging traffic in Manhattan, or dodging large rocks in the Negev Desert... it keeps the soul awake... and the body alive.
AngelDevil: Ok Dan, the end is yours; would you do special greetings to our readers?
Dan: I would just like to thank any of you who enjoyed the music of Dan Reed Network. thank you for remembering me and the music through the years I have been absent. I hope that the new music touches you in some small way and hope to meet you all out there on tour in 2009. There are many challenges facing us in the years ahead... but collectively we can solve them. It is a matter of bringing together the 'collective soul' instead of dividing it over petty differences and religious paths. We are all heading to the same destination... what does it matter which road we take? Wishing you all peace of mind and much creativity on your own journey.