Interview: Dan Bettridge

We caught up with Dan Bettridge following his epic set at Swn festival to chat about his influences and what the future holds for this rising star.

What’s it like being championed by the BBC? You’ve been played by Jo Whiley and now Horizons are behind you.
I don’t really think about it to be honest, when it happens I’m seriously gobsmacked and so so thankful. It’s great to be played by these massive names.

There’s been a lot of progression from your first EP Hunters Heart, which was more acoustic based, to your two latest singles, which sound a lot more like Van Morrison. Is that the sort of music you’ve been listening to?
Yeah, definitely. I listen to a lot of Van Morrison. My Mum and I used to listen to a lot of Van Morrison – we used to sing a long in the car to ‘Real Real Gone’. I can’t find that song online, only on CD. When I wrote ‘Third Eye Blind’, which I guess is quite Van Morrison-y, I was listening to quite a lot of soul, and that kind of stuff – not just Van Morrison.

It’s quite different for a young guy like yourself to be into stuff from that period.
I think that’s when the best music was written. Artists like Van Morrison, they’re the most accessible for me. When I think of music, they’re the first thing that pops into my head, my first port of call.

What was it like working with Stephen Black, better known as Sweet Baboo, on Third Eye Blind?
I was really lucky because my producer and bass player Charlie Francis, knows a lot of people. Stephen was on tour at the time, and Charlie just gave him a call at the time and said ‘If you’re ever swinging through Cardiff, can you just come into the studio’. Stephen came in with like two or three saxophones, and just smashed out the part in one take.

You’ve never really used any brass in your music, so it must have been exciting to have Stephen put a different take on your music. Is that something you would want to go to again?
Oh yeah, I love what the brass section brings to the music. It just gives it a whole other dimension.

You were talking about Charlie Francis, what was it like working with a producer who’s done work with great artists like R.E.M and Karl Hyde?
I didn’t really think about it, I just thought that I’m working with one hell of a professional. Charlie’s never one to mention what he’s done in the past – he’s a really modest guy, lovely guy. We’ve become great friends since we’ve been working together. It’s just like working with an impeccable musician. Same with the rest of the band – they just make it so easy for me.