Who is Dan Simpson?

I'm from Uxbridge, at the end of the Metropolitan line, but I've become a naturalised citizen of Bow in East London. I've been playing the piano since I was 7, then I started playing percussion in orchestras in my teens, followed quickly by gigging on strummy instruments.

If you had to describe your sound using just five words, what would they be?

Traditional folk with a beat.

Who are your biggest influences musically?

Jim Moray, Nick Mulvey, Laura Marling, Martin Simpson (no relation!), Chris Thile, Jackson Browne, Gotye

What’s your songwriting process?

When writing songs, I always start with a riff. Then, I start singing a first verse, the words usually come fairly easily. The tune then changes from whatever has come out. Once I'm happy with the tune, the words to the second verse are started, and it goes from there. A lot of my songs are rewritten versions of traditional folk songs, in which case the process is reversed: I have the tune, I find a riff which fits it, then I nerdily compare 5 different sets of words for the song, and pick and choose the most poetic bits from each.

When you were younger, what was the first album that blew you away and you remember putting on repeat non-stop?

Jim Moray's Sweet England. It just opened me up to the idea of taking an old song and giving it new life, while keeping a great story, melody and lots of emotion.

As a performer, what’s your biggest claim to fame so far?

I sideline as an orchestral percussionist occasionally, and through that I've played in the Albert Hall, which was a big bucket list tick.

If you could go on tour with any current band or artist, who would it be and why?

There's a great heavy folk-rock band called Blackbeard's Tea Party who are leading the way on exciting, dancing music with a traditional edge, and the vibe they create at their shows would be great to play to.

If you could put your dream team band together consisting of any musicians from the past or present who would the band members be?

Jaco Pastorius on bass, Portico Quartet's drummer Duncan Bellamy, Rick Wakeman on keys, Nick Cooke on Melodeon, James Delarre on fiddle, my mate Nick on guitar, a young Kate Rusby on vocals.

How would you describe your live show to someone who has never seen you perform before?

Mostly just me talking nonsense. Occasional songs in and among. We often improvise, we've got a great friend Zac, on soprano sax, who comes and adds some atmosphere. It's a bit of an odd mix, mandolin and saxophone.

What would your ultimate rider be if you could have anything without being accused of being a diva?

Lots and lots of cats.

If we were to browse your music library what is the most embarrassing song we might find? Or who is your guilty pleasure artist?

There's a great version of Nellie the Elephant by the Toy Dolls.

Tell us one thing your fans would be really shocked or surprised to hear or learn about you

I actually don't really like Mozzarella Dippers.

If people want to check you out online where is the best place to go?

I'm fancy, so I'm on Spotify. Check me out there! For news, try my Facebook. Just search for 'Dan Simpson' on either of those!

Finally, What does the future hold for you as an artist?

By the end of next year, I hope that the majority of my songs will include the melodica.



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