It’s easy to look at Winter Music Conference lineups and get excited about all the big names you know, such as Paul Oakenfold, Tiesto, Carl Cox, Sasha & John Digweed and the other international superstar DJs. But half the fun of WMC is discovering new acts that are just as compelling in their own way. One such act is Dan Black, an indie singer-songwriter from the U.K. who defies explanation. His debut album "((un))" swerves all over the musical map, visiting the worlds of electronica, dreamy pop and just plain out-of-this-world sounds. Catch him at the Ultra Music Festival main stage on Friday.
Your album has a really cool sound - what were you going for?
That's a big question! I was going for, I guess, something that I find exciting and interesting. One of the main things I love about making music is the exploration, trying to find things that are like, "Wow, what is this? Where did this come from?" The album is the result of me exploring and trying to find things that excite me.
At times you sound a little like Death Cab for Cutie discovered electronic music and invited Sigur Ros over to the studio. Are you a fan of those artists?
Yeah. I like Death Cab but I'm not deeply into them, but I'm definitely a massive fan and I have to hold my hand up to Sigur Ros.
What are some of your musical influences?
Well, there are many - when I was a kid, my dad was a massive music fan, so my house was full of thousands of vinyl records. So many big artists I can't remember discovering - they were always around me and I sort of knew their back catalog intimately without ever sitting down and exploring it actively. Bob Dylan and The Beatles and the Rolling Stones - big, obvious, important artists I kind of knew inside-out before I'd even thought, "Oh! There's a thing called music." But then there's a duality to what I do - on the one side, you've got kind of a filmic, other-worldly, sort of alternative things like Sigur Ros or Aphex Twin, things that are less to do with words and more to do with something that's epic and eternal. And at the same time, a love of something more unusual, experimental but still kind of mainstream in a way.
What does the name of your album mean?
Well, I live in Paris, so in French, "one" is "un," as in it's my first record and I made the whole thing on my own completely, so it's one man's vision. But also, in English, if you put "un" in front of things, it's not that. And when I was making the record, a lot of the time if it started to become particularly one thing I would sort of pull away - if it was becoming very rock, or hip-hop or pop, I wanted it to be un-rock, un-hip-hop, un-boring, un-cliche. So that it would be kind of something on its own.