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Wes Dolan

An interview with Singer/Songwriter Wes Dolan

Wes Dolan from The Stone, No Soul Unturned Artist's Facebook
by Tina Hall
August 2011

English singer/songwriter Wes Dolan has been performing his brand of mainly folk inspired tunes in pubs, clubs, and festivals for over a decade across the pond. His work has been featured in several films including the delightfully dark “The Stone, No Soul Unturned” and"Paranormal Haunting: The Curse of The Blue Moon Inn”, both directed by Philip Gardiner. Reason To Exist, his debut album is scheduled for release this summer by Reality Entertainment.

Maximum Ink: Can you tell us a little about yourself? What is it like Nottinghamshire? Do you think coming from there has somewhat influenced your musical tastes and styling?
Wes Dolan: I was born and live in Mansfield in Nottinghamshire which used to be a mining town.The coal mines are all closed down now which is what my song “Reason To Exist” is partly about.My father and uncle came over here from Ireland when they were kids and were both singers and song writers which inspired me to play music.When I finished studying and had gained a degree, there weren’t many jobs around here so I became a busker which did hone my skills and to an extent had some impact on my style of playing.It was whilst playing on the streets of Mansfield that I began to make contacts.Firstly for playing at pubs, clubs, festivals and private parties and more recently for writing and performing for film and television.

MI: Who are some of your influences?
WD: I was massively influenced by my dad and uncle, Liam and Joe Dolan.Other major influences are Bob Dylan, The Pogues, Donavon, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Bob Marley.These performers influenced me in a variety of ways, such as my style, lyrics, attitude towards life and general image.

MI: How did you first gain an interest in folk music?
WD: My dad and uncle were performing their music accross the country from as far back as I can remember.I remember going to watch my dad feature at the Mansfield Folk Club when I was about 13 and saying, One day it will be me featured here. I have played at Mansfield Folk club on countless occasions now and it is one of the longest running folk clubs in England.

MI: Who do you consider to be some of the best acts in music at the moment regardless of genre?
WD: There are a lot of top acts out there now days and the music industry has changed so much.I still see Bob Dylan as the most influential artist in the world but I’m into a variety of bands and performers.The Rolling Stones are still exceptional performers.I’m also very impressed by U2 and Coldplay who are much more mainstream.However there are some amazing acts who are totally unheard of in areas all throughout the country.In my area there are acts such as Danny Apple, The Tastebuds, Starscreen, No Redemption, White Noise Coalition, Calm Down, Kick n Rush, Ruth Notman and many more.I wouldn’t be surprised to to see some of these bursting onto a bigger scene over the next few years.

MI: What do you think you’d be doing at this point in your life if not for music?
WD: I dread to think what I’d be doing.I live for my family, performing and music.Without these I wouldn’t see much point in life and would probably have burnt out my candle long before now.

MI: What are some of your hobbies?
WD: I like to listen to music and watch performers, spending time with friends and family.I watch quite a lot of films and some television.I like to read factual books.I have 3 dogs and spend quite a lot of time walking with them in some pleasant areas near where I live.I enjoy watching boxing and other sports and am into political, philosophical and scientific debates.

MI: How do you think the music scene in the UK differs most from the onein US?
WD: I think the scene in the UK is becoming more and more like the US.I don’t really judge the scene by which country its in I just see music as music and if I like something I like it and if it’s not for me, I don’t bother with it.

MI: What can your fans expect from the live show?
WD: Fans can expect to be entertained visually as well as musically.I put my heart and soul into every last note and make the experience as personal as I can.If people don’t go away satisfied and with at least one particular song running through their heads then I’d be very dissapointed.

MI: Are you planning any US dates?
WD: I have just signed a two album deal with Reality Entertainment, a major independent record label based in California.So the US is somewhere that I’m hoping to be playing in the near future.I appear and perform in a number of movies that are due to be released in the states this year and am also a regular performer on Mindscape Tv which can be viewed in the States too.So hopefully I can become a popular name there before I even physically arrive.

MI: How does producing music for film differ most from your other work?
WD: In many ways it’s just the same.There is a story or sentiment that I am writing about and the style and lyrics have to fit with that.The only real difference is that the original idea didn’t come from a spark in my heart or head but once the idea’s there it’s basically the same process.

MI: What is it like to see your work featured on the screen?
WD: It’s very exciting.Something I’ve dreamed of and worked hard at for over a decade.I’m happy to have the opportunity to communicate with such a vast audience.More and more projects are cropping up every day which is the nature of the mediums that I’m working in.I feel very lucky and plan to make the best of the opportunities I’ve received.

MI: You have worked with Philip Gardiner several times. What have you learned from the experiences? How would you describe him as a person?
WD: Phil Gardiner is a very intelligent and dedicated person.Working with him has opened my eyes to a whole new world.He knows how to get things done and keeps himself constantly busy.In that way we are very like minded people.

MI: How would you describe your sound to those you have yet to hear it?
WD: In short I would say, a blast from the past with a modern tint to it.

MI:  Why do you think music has always been so popular throughout time?
WD: Music takes us back to our very beginnings before we’d learnt to communicate as well as we can now it was the trance like beats that satisfied people and then it became a way to communicate about social, personal, political and many other issues or just to tell stories about life.It makes people dance and helps them to have a good time.It has entertained and engaged people in one way or another since it began and it always will.Nowadays though it’s become more of an industry than an art.Which is good because more people are communicated to but bad because in some cases the music seems to have lost part of its original foundations and is turning into something else more like a toy.Hence Mr Blobby having had more number ones in the UK than a legend like Bob Dylan.

MI: Are there any little known facts about you that people would be surprised to learn?
WD: I’m a huge fan of Cesar Milan, The Dog Whisperer and of WBC Super Middleweight Boxing Champion, Carl the Cobra Froch.I have a degree in Writing for film, television, radio and theatre studies.I enjoy the occasional game of poker and have been known to place the odd bet on various sporting events.When I was 11 years old I briefly sang in a church choir before being thrown out for beating up two other choir boys who were bullying me about my long hair and working class appearance.I was raised on money my dad earnt from busking and have a huge tattoo of my family crest on my back.I also have a regular column in Mindscape Magazine called “Troubador Tales”.

MI: Are you excited about the release of your debut album? Where did your inspiration for this album come from?
WD: Yes I’m extremely excited about it.My inspiration for it came from my dad and uncle, the opportunities I’ve been given and the current climate of music and life today.It is my debut album and there are a lot of catchy songs in it.I’m already thinking of new songs to write for my next album too.

MI:  Anything to say in closing?
WD: There are a variety of other people who have helped me over the last year that I would like to thank, James Earnshaw of Olive Studios, who produced my album.Nik Spencer of Chalk Productions who gave me my first work in a movie, “The Plague”, after spotting me busking, and my fiance, Laura Wilcockson who has written and performed violin accompaniment for a number of my songs.

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