Dotan is a songwriting sensation who is on the cusp of greatness. His new single “Home” is a glorious, melodic masterpiece and we caught up with the man himself to find out a little bit more for New Noise.
Dotan’s creations are hypnotic, naturalistic sounding tracks that is entirely captivating. Multi-layered vocals come in waves, swooping over cascading percussion and shimmering acoustic guitars. New single ‘Home’ is lifted from his forthcoming album “7 Layers”, and is the first marker from an artist sure to be on everybody’s lips in the coming months. Check out what happened wen we met the maestro, himself.
Give us an insight into your musical journey – where did it all begin with you?
My story is actually quite unusual. I’d never played music before I turned twenty. As a young kid I used to be obsessed with singer-songwriter music. Artists such as Neil Young, James Taylor and Bob Dylan were my heroes. I didn’t grow up in a musical environment and never really thought of the option to actually start making music myself. I randomly bought a guitar around my early twenties and started playing and writing music. I needed someone to sing those songs and I figured out it would be the easiest way if I’d sing them myself. From that moment I was hooked and started playing gigs in every single place that would have me. I played lots of living room concerts and in lots of dodgy bars and at open mic nights. Now, seven years later I’m traveling the world with my own music and still doing the same.. but just in front of more people sometimes!
Are you from a musical background? Do any of your family practice music and if so, did this inspire you as you were growing up?
None of my relatives practice music. Not even one. My dad used to play vinyl records at home all the time. Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Neil Young, James Taylor. I really grew up with all these legends. I was always the weird kid at school listening to older music instead of Top 40 pop tunes.
Can you remember the first record you ever bought? Why did you buy it?
I think it was Thriller by Michael Jackson. I was so fascinated by his whole persona, songwriting and the incredible talent. I also really remember my first Beatles album I bought. It was “Abbey Road” and I made a deal with the guy from the local music store cause I didn’t have enough money with me.
What has been the best gig you’ve played to date?
I’ve played so many great gigs over the past year. I think my last show at the Royal Grand Theatre Carre in Amsterdam in February was something magical.
And the worst?
Probably one of those gigs on a Tuesday night in some random bar in Amsterdam where people would only figure out I had been playing live music by the end of the night. Those were tough.
What were the last 3 songs that you listened too?
1 Bon Iver – Stacks
2. Nick Drake – Place To Be
3. Neil Young – Only Love Can Break Your Heart
If you could have written any other song by another artist, which song would you love to claim?
Would it be easy to say “Imagine” by John Lennon? Otherwise “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” by Neil Young. Or “Man In The Mirror” by Michael Jackson. Argh, this is hard. I hope to write a classic myself one day so I don’t have to claim or steel anything ;).
Are you championing any emerging, new talent at the moment? Who do you have your eye on, that is coming through in 2015?
There is so much at the moment. I think Soak is quite amazing and will do pretty well. And I wish more people would discover Thomas Dybdahl around the world. He is such a great Norwegian singer songwriter and been around for over ten years now. One of the biggest talents I’ve ever heard.
Tell us more about the new track ‘Home’?
The track is a pulsing, hopeful and melancholic song. I think it’s a song that speaks to different emotions: euphoria vs melancholy. It really opened a lot of doors for me in Europe since it has done so well. It’s a very fun song to play live with the band and shows a different side of me next to my more singer-songwriter based material.
And the album? How do you begin with that creative process
For 7 Layers, I did almost everything myself. I co-produced it, wrote all of the songs and even created all the artwork myself. I just lose myself in the whole process and then all of the sudden the record is there. I don’t really think there’s a particular ‘starting point’ since I’m always writing and creating but I guess the songs are really key in this process. Whenever I write a song I already know what it needs to sound like, arrangement and production wise. I like to work at night and near the sea. The sea always inspires me to write nice music and makes me feel calm and peaceful.
Do you have any particular tracks on the record that you’re most proud of?
Without sounding cheesy, I love every single track on the album. I kind of made a pact with myself where I didn’t want to release the album up until the moment where I would absolutely love every single song on it. I can honestly say that they are all extremely special to me.
What else does 2015 hold for you? Will you be playing ay summer festivals?
I’ll be playing lots of festivals this summer in Europe and will also have a European Tour later this year. This will be my first big festival season so I’m really excited
about that. I’m also always writing so will get back into the studio before the end of this year, for sure.
New single ‘Home’ and album ‘7 Layers’ will follow on April 6th.
Words: Shane Hawkins.
Image: Bart Heemskerk