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Daniel Mangan (born April 28, 1983) is a Vancouver-based, two time JUNO Award winning Canadian musician. He has also been a contributing writer for The Guardian's Arts section, Montecristo Magazine and Huffington Post Canada. He is married to actor and theatre artist Kirsten Slenning; with whom he has one son, Jude.
Dan Mangan's family moved often, residing in both the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia, but primarily in his current home town of Vancouver. He was influenced by his parents' record collection, especially the music of Nick Drake and The Beatles. At sixteen, Mangan started a band called Basement Suite with some classmates and played gigs at local community centres. Though his family had returned to Vancouver by age two, he was born in Smithers, British Columbia.
Mangan studied at the University of British Columbia, earning a BA in English Literature.
In 2003, at 20 years old, Mangan completed his first set of recordings: an EP of simply recorded acoustic songs called All At Once. Five hundred copies were pressed and sold or given away throughout the Vancouver area. With a bank loan and a small community of musicians who would offer cheap or free sessions, Mangan recorded Postcards & Daydreaming in the summer of 2005 with producer Daniel Elmes and good friend Simon Kelly. Mangan released the album independently at first, selling the album online and at live shows. In July 2007, Vancouver-based independent record label File Under: Music picked up the LP and re-released the album with new artwork and an extra track, "Ash Babe". The following March, the record was released in Australia by ABC/Warner.
Nice, Nice, Very Nice:
In March 2009, File Under: Music released another EP called Roboteering, containing songs from Mangan's forthcoming album Nice, Nice, Very Nice. The album was recorded in Toronto at Green Door Studios with producer John Critchley, and featured an assortment of other Canadian artists such as Veda Hille, Justin Rutledge, Mark Berube, Hannah Georgas and members of Said The Whale, Major Maker, and Elliott Brood. Five months later, Nice, Nice, Very Nice was released in Canada. The album name was inspired by a line from American novelist Kurt Vonnegut's book Cat's Cradle, while musically Nice, Nice, Very Nice has been compared to Chad VanGaalen and Bon Iver. The first two singles from his second full-length, "Robots" and "Road Regrets" earned airplay on local Vancouver radio stations, as well as on satellite radio stations such as The Verge and CBC Radio 3.
In September 2009, Mangan was awarded "Artist of the Year" at the Verge Music Awards. In 2010, Nice, Nice, Very Nice was licensed and released by Toronto-based independent record label Arts & Crafts in the United States and Europe (via City Slang). The album was shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize. Nice, Nice, Very Nice was also awarded "iTunes Album Of The Year" for the Singer/Songwriter category and won three Western Canadian Music Awards for "Independent Album Of The Year", "Roots/Solo Album Of The Year" and "Songwriter Of The Year". "Robots" was named "Best Song" by the CBC Radio 3 BUCKY Awards.
Throughout 2010 and 2011, Mangan began collaborating with musicians from Vancouver's vibrant experimental music scene. Enlisting drummer Kenton Loewen (Mother Mother, Submission Hold, Gord Grdina Trio), bassist John Walsh (Brasstronaut) and guitarist Gord Grdina (Gord Grdina Trio, Haram, East Van Strings) opened up relationships with other members of the city's avant-garde free-jazz community. As the ensemble worked toward a third LP, they began collaborating and touring with a large group of musicians who would sub in and out of the band including trumpeter JP Carter (Fond of Tigers, Destroyer), violinist Jesse Zubot (Fond of Tigers, Hawksley Workman, Tanya Tagaq), pianist Tyson Naylor and cellist Peggy Lee (Mary Margaret O'Hara, Wayne Horvitz, Veda Hille). Mangan asked Seattle's Eyvind Kang (Bill Frisell, Beck, Laurie Anderson) to write orchestral arrangements for the forthcoming recordings.
The new sonic landing pad for Mangan's songs influenced him in new directions and eventually set the tone for his third long-play, Oh Fortune. Recorded over six months throughout the 2010-11 winter with producer Colin Stewart (Black Mountain, Ladyhawk, Yukon Blonde), the band recorded in short spurts at The Hive Creative Labs between tours and at Mangan's own home, coined "National Park Studios".
Oh Fortune was released in September, 2011 in North America by Arts & Crafts, with releases in the following months in Europe by City Slang and in Australia via ABC. The album received extensive critical acclaim internationally and demonstrated the beginning of a new, more experimental era in Mangan's musical career.
In November 2011, Mangan was the subject of the CBC documentary What Happens Next?, directed and produced by Brent Hodge and Jon Siddall. It follows Mangan in the lead up to his sold out show at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver.
At the 2012 Juno Awards, Mangan was awarded New Artist of the Year and Alternative Album of the Year for Oh Fortune, and was also nominated for Songwriter of the Year and Video of the Year for the music video for "Rows of Houses", directed by Jon Busby.
Oh Fortune was also long-listed for the 2012 Polaris Music Prize and received three Western Canadian Music Awards for "Rock Album of the Year", "Independent Album of the Year", and "Songwriter of the Year". To boot, "Rows of Houses" was named "Best Song" by the CBC Radio 3 Bucky Awards. Mangan has won six Buckys to date, the most winning artist in the award's history, and is the only artist to win "Best Song" more than once.
After the touring cycle for Oh Fortune, the band took a short hiatus. Dan became a father during this time and scored a soundtrack with Jesse Zubot for the feature film Hector and the Search for Happiness (Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Christopher Plummer, Toni Collette, Stellan Skarsgård, Jean Reno, directed by Peter Chelsom). For their work, Mangan and Zubot were nominated for a Canadian Screen Award in the category of Best Original Score. In that same year, Dan was also nominated for Best Original Song for Wants, a song he contributed to the film The Valley Below.
Focusing less on recruited orchestral performances and more on core band contribution, Mangan and his band began recording in late 2013 what would eventually be his 4th LP, Club Meds, released January 2015 (Arts & Crafts / City Slang / Create/Control). Throughout the process, the ensemble decided to release the album under the moniker Dan Mangan + Blacksmith, highlighting and finally labelling the creative contributions from Grdina, Loewen, Walsh, Naylor, Carter and Zubot.
Club Meds was met with a wildly positive critical reception but a less overall popular one than Oh Fortune. The album received 4 Stars from The Guardian, The Observer & Q, and 8/10 from Drowned In Sound & Uncut, leading to a Metacritic score of 79. Alexis Petridis featured the LP as a must-hear album and Guitarist says of Club Meds, "Just 13 days into 2015, Dan Mangan + Blacksmith fired a compelling early salvo in the album of the year stakes." and one Canadian blogger writes, "Club Meds is singlehandedly proving that the LP format is not only alive, but worth fighting for. It is proof that a well crafted record is more than a collection of well crafted songs. Club Meds is a unified whole, tackling some of the most important problems in our collective lives. It is not simply the best album of 2015, but one of the most emotionally compelling albums of the last decade."
With various collections of musicians, Mangan has toured extensively throughout Europe, North America and Australia. They've shared stages with Father John Misty, The Walkmen, Japandroids, Jeff Mangum, Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Missy Elliott, Kendrick Lamar, Lucinda Williams, Broken Social Scene, Tune-Yards, Arlo Guthrie, José González, Junip, Stars, Marina And The Diamonds, Phox, Sharon Van Etten, Run The Jewels, Hot Chip, Cake, Metric, The Decemberists, Julian Casablancas, Timber Timbre, Sarah Harmer, The Broken Family Band, Elliott Brood, The Acorn, Alison Krauss, Howe Gelb, Jackson Browne, Bowerbirds, The head and the heart, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Blind Pilot, Patrick Watson, Jenn Grant, Brett Dennen, KD Lang, Mother Mother, Great Lake Swimmers, Basia Bulat, Veda Hille, Hannah Georgas, Charlie Parr, Bear's Den, Hey Rosetta!, The Shins, Sam Roberts Band, Jason Collett, Bahamas, Rich Aucoin, Zeus, Macklemore, Vampire Weekend, City & Colour, Yukon Blonde, Sondre Lerche, Warpaint, Other Lives, Suuns, Spoon, Tegan and Sara, Lucius.
An additional touring highlight was performing for Prince William and Duchess Kate on Parliament Hill, Canada Day 2011.
Dan Mangan (or Dan Mangan + Blacksmith) have been invited to perform at many international music festivals including:
UK: Glastonbury (2010 "John Peel Stage", 2011 "Other Stage"), End of the Road Festival (2011), Summer Sundae Fringe Festival (2012),
Australia: Woodford Folk Festival (2010), East Coast Blues and Roots (2008), and Peats Ridge (2009, 2010),
Canada: Halifax Pop Explosion (2009, 2011, 2012), Vancouver Folk Music Festival (2009, 2012), Dawson City Music Festival (2010), Calgary Folk Festival (2010, 2012), Mariposa Folk Festival (2010), Winnipeg Folk Festival (2011, 2015), Regina Folk Festival (2011), Home County Folk Festival (2011), Hillside Festival (2011), Quebec City Summer Festival (2012) Osheaga Festival (2012), Luminato Festival (2012), Ottawa Bluesfest (2011), Ottawa Folk Festival (2012), Gentlemen of the Road (2013), Squamish Valley Music Festival (2013), Calgary X-Fest (2013), Sonic Boom (2013), Rifflandia Music Festival (2009, 2012), Riverfest Elora (2014), Edmonton Folk Music Festival (2014), CBC Music Festival (2014), Field Trip (2013, 2015), Pemberton Festival (2015), Folk On The Rocks (2015), Northern Lights Festival Boréal (2015), Harbourage (2015),
USA: Sasquatch! Festival (2011, 2015), Rocky Mt. Folks Festival (2011), Telluride Bluegrass Festival (2012),
Germany: Reeperbahn Festival (2010, 2015), Orange Blossom Special (2011), Haldern Pop (2011, 2012), Golden Leaves (2015),
Netherlands: Noorderzon (2012), Incubate Festival (2015),
Croatia: Terraneo Festival (2012)