Getting out on stage and playing music for people feels great when people are cheering for you, that's obviously really exciting. But what's most exciting is the idea that we're all experiencing something that's bigger than us.— Dan Mangan
The most valuable Dan Mangan quotes that are glad to read
It's not supposed to make you distracted from your life, it's supposed to make you challenge the ongoing distraction with focused intention. Simply discussing how asleep we can be gives credence to the possibility of finding moments of true honest alertness.
I had a rule that I would never force the muse in my younger days.
I would follow the feeling. I would just put the pen down and walk away, and wait for it to come back. But these days, I have a kid, I tour a lot, and I'm always short on time.
I grew up with a rotary phone in my house and that seems a world away, but that's what I was used to as a kid. So now things seem complicated to me, but to kids born right now, they don't feel complicated.
Sold my soul to the devil / for nice penmanship.
/ Now I write real pretty / but I'm starting to regret it.
The most rewarding possible thing that a songwriter or an artist of any kind can experience is to hear firsthand from the mouth of somebody else that they don't know the weight or gravity or intensity that something they've made has brought out in somebody else's life. It's simultaneously flattering and humbling. It makes me so thankful that I've been so lucky to be able to do this work.
If you use language that divides people and makes people who agree with you really stoked and people who disagree with you disengaged then you're preaching to a choir, and you've lost any kind of relativity across the spectrum. So it's important to be subtle and understand that there's a lot more you can learn.
I don't believe in the myth of the "self made man". Nobody gets through alone.
What frustrated us about the song [Robots] was not that it existed - we owe a lot to that song and have had a ton of fun playing it. The problem was that it was a "given".It was like everyone was waiting for it to happen, and then it better be as crazy as the time they saw it before. Started to feel like dancing monkeys.
I think that's why art prevails: because it helps people in a fairly intangible, magical way feel more connected to each other.
We're constantly dealing with old problems under the circumstance of new variables, so just things like greed and fear and anger and inequality are issues that humanity has constantly dealt with. The parameters and the variables change but these are old things. And discussing those things is slightly more timeless rather than focusing on one tiny thing.
If the point of good art is to be somewhat subtle then it's not going to catch everyone.
When you have a young kid you can't go out much at night, so I spent a lot of time at home, watching movies and cooking dinner with my wife. It felt like what most people experience. White picket fence stuff.So there was some enjoyment of that normalcy, but I have to admit that part of me missed the chaos of touring. I think it's about balance.
I can predict with some sense of certainty how life will feel in a month.
I can with the same logic remember with the same element of reality or truth what life was like a month ago. All perspectives on the past are entirely relative.
I think the future and the past are equally hypothetical.
I think the only thing that we even have a small tangent of reality or truth about is right now - the moment that is happening right this second. Everything else is up for grabs.
With all of the people in the world and all of the suffering and all of the things that people are forced to do for lack of other alternative, the fact that I had a subsidized education and got to go right into a life of playing music for a living, what a stupidly fortunate place to be.
Acknowledging the lucky breaks are paramount to enjoying life.
Not being defensive about our successes/failures. So, in short.
That is a goal, to step out on stage and to actually be present.
Honestly alive and present. Although, it doesn't always happen. We're fallible, we're imperfect. That's what a lot of books are written about; that's what a lot of religions have sought after is that kind of zen mentality of just being totally neutral and open and vulnerable to all of the forces in the universe without being attached to them.
I feel like songwriting changed from something that I liked doing to something that, I feel, is a very important outlet for me to digest all the things around me. Once I put thoughts into a song, I can let it go, it doesn't bug me anymore you know what I mean? It's kind of a catharsis.
And sometimes you just have to trust that there will be more, sometimes you go through dry spells and you have to assure yourself "no no, it's gonna be fine. There's gonna be more songs, it's all good.
To say, "It used to be better," nobody can say, "Well, no it wasn't.
" It's like telling a story that is self-aggrandizing about someone who has passed away, when they can't tell the other side of the story.
The idea that things used to be better is fantasy.
It's putting a halo on something that no one can disprove.
I don't necessarily think I look to books for ideas, but sometimes when I'm in the process of reading a great book, I just think about it all of the time.
I miss that moment when you're about to go through the tube turn-style but you put your ticket in the wrong way and then as you're trying to figure out how exactly to get in the damn station you hear a collective sigh of 40 people behind you pissed that you're slowing down the herd.
I used to be so young, how did I get so old?
There's when a phrase circles in my head in a number of ways for any number of days, weeks, or months, and then that eventually becomes a song. There's a slow permeation of the idea and then that leads into a bunch of themes and becomes a bunch of lines.
I am trying to keep my voice in order.
Basically not talking much in the van throughout the day to preserve it, which I'm sure is welcomed by the band.
You feel the weight of the world and you take things in and you are acting out from a place of being pushed and visceral. It's heavy. You can't be there all of the time.
If I write about something that I've experienced and somebody goes, "Oh my God, I feel the exact same way," then both of us are connected, and when you feel connected to people, you feel understood. You feel a sense of purpose.
There's going to be ups and downs and that you have to be okay with the downs too and embrace them just as much because they will teach you something.
It doesn't matter if you're talking to a communist or a fascist if you say, do you want a good future for your kids? Well they're all going to say yes. Well do you think that money should be spent efficiently? Yes. Al of these things, everyone agrees on them but the way that we discuss them and the language that we use we hold different definitions for.
If you make everything really on the nose so everyone knows exactly what you're talking about, it's often not as strong.
More than anything, being an English major made me more appreciative of authors and what an incredible feat it is to just finish a novel, let alone a really brilliant one.
You can't just look at the side of something that you want to see.
You have to look at the whole round object and understand that there are parts of it that you don't like.
It's the sick and twisted male fantasy that we want classy ladies out in the world that make us look good, but in the bedroom, men want subservient women who please all of their whims. It's the typical bullshit of male ego.
The idea that things intrinsically were just better is so stupid to me because they never were. It's all relative.
When you ask my three year old if my iPhone is too complicated, it's not. It's all relative.
I think books are just a great ticket to get you outside of yourself.
You can not be you for a second and live in the shoes of a character, which is a special thing.
I'll force myself to sit down and read a couple of chapters of a great book or I'll force myself to sit and listen to some amazing music or I'll go see a play. I find that watching or experiencing other forms of art gets my brain in action. It makes me feel connected to the creative energies and then that tends to get things going.
I think it's important to accept all the ways that we're absurdly lucky.
I'm a white male from a safe city in a wealthy country.
In the war between the humans and the robots, the humans had to win. Call me hopeful.
I remember somebody saying, "I feel really bad for kids growing up around iPads right now. It's just too complicated. Life's too complicated." I think, yeah, but I remember being a kid and holding up a new piece of technology that was made in the '80s and my grandparents going, "Oh, it's too complicated." It didn't seem complicated to me.
I'm influenced in a million different ways by a million songs that I've heard and digested.
We talk about the past like it's the strangest dream.
Then we repeat the things we never dreamed we'd do.
Sometimes I just don't have time to wait for the muse to come, so I've developed things to force the muse to come back.
I was an English major in university and that got me into novels, but I read a lot of books as a kid.
I think articulating things through song is a good way of letting people know that they're not alone.