I had the privilege of interviewing Dan Layus. Dan, as fans may recognize, was the lead singer of Augustana before they disbanded. With over ten years in the music industry Dan has seen many changes. His new album “Dangerous Things” is one of my favorites. It combines the best of Country and Folk.
I enjoyed interviewing Dan. He is a thankful guy that’s passionate about music, family, and fans. It was great hearing his influences and how he started playing music.
Rob: When did your musical journey start?
Dan: My parents gave me my first guitar at 10. My daughter Eloise is 10 and she can play the fiddle. I am about to get her a guitar. Then I learned how to play piano. Being a songwriter has been my primary goal. I just turned 32 and have been in the music industry for 12-13 years. The longer I am a musician the more I appreciate it and feel more motivated.
Rob: What bands inspired you to be a musician?
Dan: I used my first allowance money to purchase Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged. I remember watching it when my parents’ weren’t looking. I got into Green Day’s “Dookie.” Creedance Clear Water, Fleetwood Mac, Ryan Adams’ “Gold,” Rolling Stones” and Bob Dylan. Traditional country greatly influenced this new record.
Rob: Why did you decide to go solo?
Dan: The last Augustana record was solo. The band had broken up. I wanted something new and felt okay to let that go. It was a bigger risk. I have embraced this challenge and let the songs do the talking.
Rob: What 3 words describe your new album?
Dan: Keep it simple. On previous recordings there was a lot of production. I let go of all that. I focused on piano, guitar, and vocals. The songs are a meeting of fictional and non-fictional characters. I am happy with this.
Rob: What is your favorite song off the new album?
Dan: “Night Bird” I loved writing it and sad it’s over. I wanted to add more verses. I loved playing it live and it was exactly what I imagined. It was the last song I wrote on the record.
Rob: Why did you decide to do the Friday live videos? How has the response been?
Dan: Music is different than 2004. The experience is more immersive. There isn’t a lot of money in music. You have to love it and get out on tour. It was a new way of releasing music without selling a product. It is the connection that’s carried with us. The response has been great. I am appreciative of my team. It was great bringing the music abroad. It exposed my own sense of American influence.
Rob: Describe music in 4 words.
Dan: To each his own
Rob: Anything else you would like to add?
Dan: I am thankful for your time.