[VIDEO PREMIERE] The Feeling: Anchor (Acoustic Version) + Exclusive Interview with Dan Gillespie Sells
For those unaware of who The Feeling might be, it seems you were not in the U.K. in 2006 & 2007, shame for and on you, but have no fear Kick Kick Snare is here to catch you up and introduce you to The Feeling. The Brit Award nominated quintet is made of an Dan Gillespie Sells, Richard Jones, Kevin Jeremiah, Ciaran Jeremiah, & Paul Stewart who's debut album released in 2006 elevating the band to a household name in the United Kingdom and found them touring the US in 2007 and being tapped as artists to watch from major music outlets. Their second album peaked at #1 on the Official Charts and opened the door for tours with Bon Jovi & playing the iconic Glastonbury Festival.
For their fourth album, Boy Cried Wolf, we find a band that has matured and settled into their own, and it truly shows. Focused more on reflection and struggle The Feeling confront life and all the trials that come with it head on. Powerful melodies and soaring vocals capture this raw emotion perfectly. We are proud to premiere the acoustic version of the album track "Anchor" here at Kick Kick Snare. Truly one of the more earnest and heart breaking tracks on the album. I sat down with The Feeling lead singer Dan Gillespie Sells for a chat about making the LP, breaking up with his partner of 7 years, and the English's continued inability to express emotions.
KKS: Aside from the break up, what has been the key catalyst for the new album? Dan: We went back to basics; we started playing like a band again. We kind of learned over the years, and particularly with the new studio we’ve built, we’ve kind of worked out how to make it sound like we sound live. Which is something we never really quite got before. We made these records that were quite studio-y and produced. They are still produced, but that is this live biteyness that we’ve managed to learn how to record. I think it just takes years to learn how to do that. That is why the art of producing is such a dark art really. A great producer can really get that performance out of a band.
We’ve always produced things ourselves and over the years we have learned how to do that; how to get a good performance, play it live as a band in the studio, which we can do now; when before we always had to record things separately and multitrack because we never had the means or the skill really. It can be more organic to play together.
KKS: Speaking of playing organically, how does Anchor affect you differently when you play it acoustically versus the full version? Dan: The live version is quite tricky. It is a hell of a song to sing. It goes very low and very high, it goes across two octaves. Not the easiest one to pull off. The day we recorded the lead vocal on that was just a really lucky day. I was hitting the high notes and my voice was breaking up a bit, but it was holding together just enough. When you get to repeat that live, it can be a real challenge. It’s not something I can always do on a tour every night. It has to be saved for special occasions. It is such a belter.
When we do this acoustically I just play the piano and sit down, so it is a slightly different vibe. It’s very pure as a song, so it feels nice to play and it feels nice to sing. It has my favorite chords in it and I love doing it acoustically. Just sitting at the piano and singing.
KKS: What have you learned about yourself through the creation of the LP?
Dan: Well that’s a good question isn’t it? I have never thought about it actually. I don’t sit down and plan what I’m going to write. It’s often the case of me sitting and working on a record or a song until I go “wait a minute, oh, it’s about that. Oh this is what the song’s about.” I realize when the song is finished what it’s about; you know it creeps up on me. I do learn a lot about myself when I write songs. It’s a very strange process, it’s a bit like therapy, but I suppose cheaper.
I think I learned to trust myself on the album, with my writing particularly. I’ve learned to just say it how it is. If people don’t like it then they don’t like it. I have gotten to the point where I have to lay my cards on the table and be really honest and straightforward about it. With music you can that in quite a theatrical way. You can maybe sing things you are embarrassed to say. I know I’ve allow myself to sing things I know I probably wouldn’t ever say for the first time. I’m English, we’re not very good at that.*
KKS: Anchor talks about you being the grounding force someone one, and they now being lost, but how has not being that grounding force changed you and your music?
Dan: When you break up with someone you get to rediscover yourself. At the end of that relationship it felt like I had become a burden to someone. Ultimately when a relationship is not functional, you look for reasons why, and someone like me blames it all on themselves. As soon as I let go of that I began to reclaim a bit of who I was before not in regards to who I was as part of a couple.
I’ve totally had a resurgence really of dandness. Which I think got a bit lost. I think that was affecting my song writing, when you get liberated from that, you know, good song writing is all about express who you are, truthfully, and if you don’t know who you are any more how are you supposed to write about yourself and express yourself?
It made the song writing so easy with this record. There is a lot of craft and work in making the album, but the actual expressing myself, which is the hardest thing to do – be yourself – I felt like I got closer to that with this record than ever.
KKS: I completely understand, I have been there.
Dan: It’s crazy when ever I write something from the heart, not matter how complicated or how weird the way I put it is, people always approach me and tell me how they connected with it and how it told a story about their life. I am always surprised how music connects people in that way when its done right. It’s very powerful.
*KKS NOTE: Bit of an understatement.