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Daniel Land and the Modern Painters - Interview

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 21 / 2 / 2011

Daniel Land and the Modern Painters - Interview


Anthony Strutt chats to shoegazing artist Daniel Land, who fronts the group the Modern Painters, about his band and their forthcoming second album

Daniel Land and the Modern Painters are a shoegazing band from Manchester. The group, which consists of Land (vocals, guitar), Graeme Meikle (guitar), Oisin Scarlett (guitar), Andrew Galpin (bass), Marcus Mayes (drums) and Jason Magee (percussion), have released to date a single, ‘Within the Boundaries/Benjamin’s Room’ (2008) and also two EPs’, ‘Voss’ and ‘Imagining October' and an album, ‘Love Songs for the Chemical Generation’ (2009). They have played support slots to both Neil Halstead (Slowdive/Mojave 3) and at the annual shoegazing festival Reverence former Cocteau Twins guitarist Robin Guthrie. Land also became the bassist last year in acclaimed shoegazing band, Engineers and appeared on tracks on their fourth album, ‘In Praise of More’. Pennyblackmusic spoke to Daniel Land at a Modern Painters gig in London. PB: Your band, the Modern Painters, is based in Manchester, but is it true that you are actually from Devon? DL: We are all from different parts of the country. We met at university in Manchester. I'm from Devon, and Graham comes from Scotland. PB: How old are you? I can't tell. DL: I'm nearly 30. PB: Is this your first band? DL: Before I got the Modern Painters together in 2007, I was mainly involved in ambient music, stuff that was influenced by Brian Eno. It was only when I went to Manchester University and met another guitarist and told him I wanted to sing, but that I didn't have much confidence that he pushed me into doing it. A lot of what I have done in the Painters has been my first band experience. When I was at school, I was keen on Latin music and I was in a band doing that stuff for a long time. PB: Why did you give the group the name of the Modern Painters? DL: I am not sure, but the name before that was so terrible that we wouldn't tell people what it was. I felt at the time that we chose the band name that there weren’t lot of people doing what we were doing. We wanted something that sounded arty but contemporary, I studied arts in Devon and it was a tribute to Jonathan Richman too. PB: The first time I saw you live you were supporting Neil Halstead of Slowdive. Your music is very like Slowdive’s. Were they a big influence? DL. Yes, they were. I'm not a person that listens to a lot of new shoegaze music to be honest. I only heard for the first time Slowdive and that sort of music in my first year at university, which was about 1999/2000. I had never heard of it before then. My big love was the Cocteau Twins. I played that stuff for about three years and nothing else. For me it was the Cocteau Twins and then Slowdive and a year later My Bloody Valentine and Ride, but really it was about those first two bands. What shoegaze enforces is a strong melody, and a lot of new shoegaze misses out on that. They have the guitars, but not the tunes. I want the shoegaze element, that guitar sound, but then a song underneath it which you can play on piano if you want too because there are melodies there too. I don't want to bitch about bands in the industry, but there are lot of bands that forget that. Out of the new shoegaze acts around, I really like Engineers and Ulrich Schnauss and I'm now playing with them. They are like kindred spirits. PB: You’re currently working on a second album with the Modern Painters. What kind of sound will that have? DL: Something that came out on the second half of the first album, ‘Love Songs for the Chemical Generation’, is an ambient country thing, which throws in a lot of pedal steel. Country music is a big love of mine. I think the second album will be more country based. We will be going into the studio soon. We have got twenty songs that we haven't put on record yet. PB: You tour a lot too. DL: Yeah, a lot of it is self-organised too. We normally organise a tour around a good tour support, like we did with Neil Halstead. PB: You did Reverence. That must have been a dream. DL: I don't tend towards fan behaviour, but, to be able to sit with my band with Robin Guthrie talking about guitar peddle, that was a special moment. As we like the Cocteau Twins we have met a lot of people around them. We sound a little like them and sold more CDs at that gig than at any other time. We totally love and respect them. PB: Did Robin give you any tips? DL. No tips. He watched a few songs before he had to get ready himself, but he said that liked it. PN: Your haircut is very Robert Smith/Guthrie like. DL: I have just come out of a relationship with a guy that liked me having long hair, so I'm now rebelling against it. I think it is a Shoreditch haircut. PB: Do you also have a day job? DL: Yeah, but with the Engineers tour coming up I might be able to go just part time. PB: Are you now a full time Engineer? DL: Oh, yes, I'm on 'In Praise of More', although not in a writing way. ‘In Praise of More’ was written by them alone. I sing on six of the tracks, PB: You are the bass player in Engineers, but you are a guitarist usually, aren't you? DL: Yeah, I’m okay with that, I do play bass on my records anyhow half the time. After the record is done, Engineers may hopefully get some festivals this year and we will write some stuff as a five piece. PB: Thank you.

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Daniel Land and the Modern Painters - Interview

Daniel Land and the Modern Painters - Interview

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