Updated: Wednesday, 16th October 2019 @ 4:53pm

Guitar star Dan Michaelson's moody tunes to morph into BBC comedy after Manchester gig

Guitar star Dan Michaelson's moody tunes to morph into BBC comedy after Manchester gig

| By Josh Willacy

Moody, thoughtful and engaging, Dan Michaelson and the Coastguards are an act that take you on a journey.  

The latest album Distance has been met with critical acclaim – and now he is moving on to the world of comedy and is writing a score for a new BBC comedy.

Melancholic lyrics meet sharp but sweet melodies, in just over half an hour the album lifts you and you drift to somewhere new.

After his gig at Northern Quarter pub The Castle, Dan caught up with MM for a chat.

“It’s a break up album in a way, but not in a traditional sense I guess,” Dan revealed. “It’s not raw, it’s from a point of reconciliation.

“I didn’t even see it as a break up album originally but that’s the way words have resonated with listeners.

“To me it’s more celebratory, a victory over sadness.”


GOING THE DISTANCE: Dan has released his third album with The Coastguards

Distance is Dan’s third album and over that period of writing music he feels as through each volume of work has represented a moment with his loves his life and where he’d been at that time.

The deep brooding lyrics and the intimate croak in his voice draws you in on this latest work and Dan elegantly manages to straddle the line between interesting, hopeful and depressing.

“I’ve got happy go lucky elements to me like most people. The emotional part is the darkest side to me and the one I find interesting because the language is so beautiful – you always try to rationalise it,” he said.

“Writing the words gives you an opportunity to figure out what seems like a big mess – but realistically I couldn’t be like that 24 hours a day!”

The first single taken from the record is what Dan himself describes as ‘misleadingly upbeat’ Burning Hearts tells the romantic tale of two lovers dancing their way towards the end of the world.

Michaelson has a way of putting into words the often unexplored parts of love and loss, his live show was personal, lovingly performed and undeniably captivating.


“I love being in Manchester, the last time I played here we did the opera house in Salford which was an incredible experience”, said Dan.

“But when I stepped in to the Castle, and I saw it is such a beautiful small venue and probably much more down my alley.”

After leaving his band Absentee in 2008, Dan has released three albums with the Coastguards and continues to make music that’s well received.

When it comes to inspiration likes of Mickey Newbury, Serge Gainsbougs, and Leonard Cohen all have made an impact on him and his work.

Dan admitted: “I would have loved to work with John Cage – it wouldn’t have worked and he would have hated me and everyone in the world would think it was stupid but still I’d love to do it.

“It would also be nice to find a female voice that compliments or isn’t ruined by mine, that would be great.”

Dan has some exciting things in the pipe line currently, he is staging some shows across the country, and he will soon be hearing his music on the small screen as he was asked to compose the music for an exciting new comedy.

“Mackenzie Crooke from The Office has written a new six-part comedy for the BBC called Detectors so I’ve done the score for that which is amazing, I can’t wait to see it all together,” said Dan.

“At the moment though, it’s great to be performing Distance. Distance is the point where I let go of all the sadness and the sense of waste I had.”

He added: “I tried to explain some of the complexity or at least my own version of it so it’s out there and I can see it as something good.”

Images courtesy of Dan Michaelson, with thanks