Where are you at the moment?
I’m actually sitting in an Auckland radio station at the moment and I was just doing a couple of interviews and I was like um… can I just stand in the corner and do another couple more on the phone.
Oh well I better not keep you away too long then… So first question, where abouts are you based in NZ?
I live in Auckland. I actually grew up in Tokoroa on the North Island and moved to Auckland for my primary school years and have spent the best part of my life here.
You’re here in Australia this week but it’s not your first visit is it, you’ve been a few times with your former band Fast Crew?
Yeah we did quite a bit of touring back in the day so I had the opportunity to get around to most of Australia but other than a few showcase gigs and a few one-off shows, this is kinda like the first time I’m doing my own shows which is going to be quite interesting!
How does it compare going solo as opposed to in a group?
It’s definitely more daunting but I think I really enjoy it because I don’t have to compromisewith anybody. I’m the boss. However it goes down is the way I want it and I put together a band who are basically my best friends. We have such a blast, we just cruise around and enjoy touring and playing shows together.
Was going solo always an aspiration of yours?
It was always something that I wanted to do and as Fast Crew was slowly sort of coming to an end I stopped writing hip-hop music and I started writing a lot of my solo material. Originally it was sort of hip hop stuff but not really anything I liked so I kind of drifted in a new direction unintentionally. It’s kind of just played out the way it was meant to be I guess and I’m pretty stoked with the way things have played out.
Have you got plans to take it further a field once you’ve conquered Oz?
Sure. We’re kind of teeing things up in Japan at the moment and the UK. For me, I love Oz.Australia’s a huge place and it’s very easy to tour and tour and tour without people not getting sick of you. So I’m just looking forward to spending some time over there.
If you were explaining Aussies and Kiwis to European travellers how would you explain the differences?
I think we’re very, very similar. To anybody else out there, everybody thinks Kiwis are Australian anyway, that New Zealand is part of Australia, but I guess the only way to describe us would be slightly different accents?
When touring with Fast Crew you played alongside some pretty massive acts like Missy Elliot and Black Eyed Peas, what kind of stuff, if anything, did you pick up from them?
I’ve been going to gigs for years and years and years. You know, every time I go to a show I pick up on little things, sort of analyze the show and the performance. My dad’s been taking me and my brothers to rock concerts since we were babies. So touring with acts like that it’s more actually seeing what they’re like backstage and seeing what their personalities are compared to their onstage antics.
And does that differ much?
Yeah, yeah it does actually. Some artists are a lot more rock star than others. Missy Elliot – couldn’t even get close to her, she wouldn’t have a bar of us. Busta Rhymes – was all about “hey man, what’s up” you know, very casual and no attitude whatsoever. I did a tour withB.O.B just recently and he’s like the nicest guy in the world. When I met him he came up to me and said, “Hey man when I arrived in New Zealand I bought your album and I love it.” I was like, “Are you serious man?” Some artists really take you by surprise with how cruisy they are.
You said your dad used to take you to rock concerts, is your musical talent a genetic thing?
No it’s definitely just an appreciation thing (laughs)! He couldn’t sing a chord or strum an instrument if he tried. My mother taught me and my brothers basic chords on the guitar at a very young age. She actually used to, this is going to sound weird, write educational songs to help us learn. For example she wrote a song that had all the countries of Africa in it and also the story of Julius Caesar. It sounds ridiculous I know.
Pretty clever parenting there…
Yeah pretty clever and a bit nuts but hey, you get that! (laughs)
Most importantly, do you still remember them? Could you repeat them back?
I could but I’m not going to!
Dane plays a free show this Wednesday 17 November at The Beach Road Hotel in Bondi and ticketed gigs at The Gaelic Hotel in Surry Hills on Thursday and at Revolver Upstairs in Prahan, Melbourne on Friday. Visit www.moshtix.com.au for tickets.