Dan Mangan

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Dan Mangan
Dan Mangan by rcstills.jpg
Background information
Birth nameDaniel Mangan
Born (1983-04-28) April 28, 1983 (age 38)
Smithers, British Columbia, Canada
OriginVancouver, British Columbia, Canada
GenresIndie rock, folk[1]
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, piano, keyboards
Years active2003–present
LabelsArts & Crafts, City Slang, Create/Control, File Under: Music, Caroline

Daniel Mangan (born April 28, 1983) is a Canadian musician. He has won two Juno awards and has toured extensively throughout North America, Europe and Australia, having released 5 studio LPs and numerous EPs and singles. He has scored for feature film, as well as television for Netflix and AMC. He is also a co-founder of Side Door, a marketplace platform connecting artists with alternative venue spaces for in-person & online shows.


Early work[edit]

Dan Mangan performing at Rifflandia Festival 2012 in Victoria, BC.

In 2003, at 20 years old, Mangan completed his first set of recordings: an EP of simply recorded acoustic songs called All At Once. Five hundred copies were pressed and sold or given away throughout the Vancouver area. With a bank loan and a small community of musicians who would offer cheap or free sessions, Mangan recorded Postcards & Daydreaming in the summer of 2005 with producer Daniel Elmes and good friend Simon Kelly. Mangan released the album independently at first, selling the album online and at live shows. In July 2007, Vancouver-based independent record label File Under: Music picked up the LP and re-released the album with new artwork and an extra track, "Ash Babe". The following March, the record was released in Australia by ABC/Warner.

Nice, Nice, Very Nice[edit]

In March 2009, File Under: Music released another EP called Roboteering, containing songs from Mangan's forthcoming album Nice, Nice, Very Nice.[2] The album was recorded in Toronto at Green Door Studios with producer John Critchley, and featured an assortment of other Canadian artists such as Veda Hille, Justin Rutledge, Mark Berube, Hannah Georgas and members of Said The Whale, Major Maker, and Elliott Brood. Five months later, Nice, Nice, Very Nice was released in Canada. The album name was inspired by a line from American novelist Kurt Vonnegut's book Cat's Cradle, while musically Nice, Nice, Very Nice has been compared to Chad VanGaalen and Bon Iver. The first two singles from his second full-length, "Robots" and "Road Regrets" earned airplay on local Vancouver radio stations, as well as on satellite radio stations such as The Verge and CBC Radio 3.

In September 2009, Mangan was awarded "Artist of the Year" at the Verge Music Awards.[3] In 2010, Nice, Nice, Very Nice was licensed and released by Toronto-based independent record label Arts & Crafts in the United States and Europe (via City Slang). The album was shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize. Nice, Nice, Very Nice was also awarded "iTunes Album Of The Year" for the Singer/Songwriter category and won three Western Canadian Music Awards for "Independent Album Of The Year", "Roots/Solo Album Of The Year" and "Songwriter Of The Year". "Robots" was named "Best Song" by the CBC Radio 3 BUCKY Awards.

On November 15, 2019, Dan Mangan and Arts & Crafts released the 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of Nice, Nice, Very Nice. The 2-LP vinyl collection features previously unreleased demos and b-sides. The package includes an essay by Mangan about making the album and its commercial success.[4]

Oh Fortune[edit]

Throughout 2010 and 2011, Mangan began collaborating with musicians from Vancouver's experimental music scene. Enlisting drummer Kenton Loewen (Mother Mother, Submission Hold, Gord Grdina Trio), bassist John Walsh (Brasstronaut) and guitarist Gord Grdina (Gord Grdina Trio, Haram, East Van Strings) opened up relationships with other members of the city's avant-garde free-jazz community. As the ensemble worked toward a third LP, they began collaborating and touring with a large group of musicians who would sub in and out of the band including trumpeter JP Carter (Fond of Tigers, Destroyer), violinist Jesse Zubot (Fond of Tigers, Hawksley Workman, Tanya Tagaq), pianist Tyson Naylor and cellist Peggy Lee (Mary Margaret O'Hara, Wayne Horvitz, Veda Hille). Mangan asked Seattle's Eyvind Kang (Bill Frisell, Beck, Laurie Anderson) to write orchestral arrangements for the forthcoming recordings.

Oh Fortune was recorded over six months throughout the 2010-11 winter with producer Colin Stewart (Black Mountain, Ladyhawk, Yukon Blonde), the band recorded in short spurts at The Hive Creative Labs between tours and at Mangan's own home, coined "National Park Studios". It was released in September, 2011 in North America by Arts & Crafts, with releases in the following months in Europe by City Slang and in Australia via ABC. The album received extensive critical acclaim internationally and demonstrated the beginning of a new, more experimental era in Mangan's musical career.

In November 2011, Mangan was the subject of the CBC documentary What Happens Next?, directed and produced by Brent Hodge and Jon Siddall.[5] It follows Mangan in the lead up to his sold-out show at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver.

At the 2012 Juno Awards, Mangan was awarded New Artist of the Year and Alternative Album of the Year for Oh Fortune, and was also nominated for Songwriter of the Year and Video of the Year for the music video for "Rows of Houses", directed by Jon Busby.[6]

Oh Fortune was also long-listed for the 2012 Polaris Music Prize and received three Western Canadian Music Awards for "Rock Album of the Year", "Independent Album of the Year", and "Songwriter of the Year". To boot, "Rows of Houses" was named "Best Song" by the CBC Radio 3 Bucky Awards. Mangan has won six Buckys to date, the most winning artist in the award's history, and is the only artist to win "Best Song" more than once.

Club Meds[edit]

Focusing less on recruited orchestral performances and more on core band contribution, Mangan and his band began recording in late 2013 what would eventually be his 4th LP, Club Meds, released January 2015 (Arts & Crafts / City Slang / Create/Control). Throughout the process, the ensemble decided to release the album under the moniker Dan Mangan + Blacksmith, highlighting and finally labelling the creative contributions from Grdina, Loewen, Walsh, Naylor, Carter and Zubot.

Club Meds was met with a wildly positive critical reception but a less overall popular one than Oh Fortune. The album received 4 Stars from The Guardian, The Observer & Q, and 8/10 from Drowned In Sound & Uncut, leading to a Metacritic score of 79. Alexis Petridis featured the LP as a must-hear album[7] and Guitarist says of Club Meds, "Just 13 days into 2015, Dan Mangan + Blacksmith fired a compelling early salvo in the album of the year stakes."[8] and one Canadian blogger writes, "Club Meds is singlehandedly proving that the LP format is not only alive, but worth fighting for. It is proof that a well crafted record is more than a collection of well crafted songs. Club Meds is a unified whole, tackling some of the most important problems in our collective lives. It is not simply the best album of 2015, but one of the most emotionally compelling albums of the last decade."[9]

Unmake EP[edit]

Unmake, released digitally June 17, 2016, was a collection of four simple home recordings and the single "Race To The Bottom" featuring drummer Loel Campbell (Wintersleep, Holy Fuck) which was recorded at Afterlife Studios in Vancouver, BC and produced by John Raham. The five song EP features a cover of Robyn's "Hang With Me", revisited stripped-down versions of "Kitsch" and "Forgetery" from Club Meds (The latter featuring Tegan Quin of Tegan and Sara) and the song "Whistleblower", a B-side initially recorded with Blacksmith in 6/8 time signature for Club Meds, but re-worked acoustically in 4/4.

More or Less[edit]

In the fall of 2018, Mangan released his 5th full length, More or Less, on Arts & Crafts and City Slang. The album featured production and mixing by Drew Brown (Beck, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Blonde Redhead),[10] with producer Simone Felice (Lumineers, Vance Joy, Jade Bird)[11] producing two songs ("Fool For Waiting" and "Troubled Mind"), which were mixed and engineered by Ryan Hewitt (Lumineers, Avett Brothers, Vance Joy).

Adam Feibel wrote for Exclaim! Magazine, "In stark contrast with the intricate, full-bodied arrangements of Mangan's last couple records, More or Less is so deliberately soft, warm, cozy and minimal that it makes even Nice, Nice, Very Nice sound loud and busy."[12] Feibel goes on to say, "The sleeper hit here is "Lay Low," a song about taking time for yourself that, fittingly, features almost nothing but Mangan's own voice — and even then it's barely more than a whisper. It could be chilling if it wasn't so comforting. And while "Troubled Mind" is undoubtedly boisterous, it's the outlier." About "Troubled Mind" Mangan has said "...it’s funny. It’s pretty upbeat, but the lyrical content is not exactly sunny, shiny or lovey-dovey, so at first you never know how it’s gonna be received...it’s really cool to see people gravitate towards it."[13]

About the album as a whole, Mangan says, "“witnessing birth, and in some ways rebirth. It’s about feeling disconnected from a popular identity and becoming acclimated to a new one. It’s about raising kids in a turbulent world. It’s about unanswerable questions and kindness and friendship and fear.”

In April 2019, Mangan, "the man known as the nicest guy on the Vancouver music scene" performed two songs ("Troubled Mind" and "Just Fear") from the album on Jimmy Kimmel Live![14]

Scoring work[edit]

After the touring cycle for Oh Fortune, the band took a short hiatus. Dan became a father during this time and scored a soundtrack with Jesse Zubot for the feature film Hector and the Search for Happiness (Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Christopher Plummer, Toni Collette, Stellan Skarsgård, Jean Reno, directed by Peter Chelsom). For their work, Mangan and Zubot were nominated for a Canadian Screen Award in the category of Best Original Score. In that same year, Dan was also nominated for Best Original Song for Wants, a song he contributed to the film The Valley Below.

Between the Club Meds and More or Less album cycles, Mangan scored the music for the Netflix animated show, Hilda, including the ending theme, as well as the CBC/AMC mini-series, Unspeakable.

Production, recording and Madic Records[edit]

Mangan, under the label Madic Records, (an imprint of Arts & Crafts Productions) has released LPs by acts such as Walrus and Astral Swans.[15] Mangan has also recorded and produced works for Astral Swans, including two tracks on 2015's Good People Rock and 2018's Strange Prison.


With various collections of musicians, Mangan has toured extensively throughout Europe, North America and Australia. They've shared stages with Father John Misty, The Walkmen, Japandroids, Jeff Mangum, Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Missy Elliott, Kendrick Lamar, Lucinda Williams, Broken Social Scene, Tune-Yards, Arlo Guthrie, José González, Junip, Stars, Marina And The Diamonds, Phox, Sharon Van Etten, Run The Jewels, Hot Chip, Cake, Metric, The Decemberists, Julian Casablancas, Timber Timbre, Sarah Harmer, The Broken Family Band, Elliott Brood, The Acorn, Alison Krauss, Howe Gelb, Jackson Browne, Bowerbirds, The head and the heart, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Blind Pilot, Patrick Watson, Jenn Grant, Brett Dennen, KD Lang, Mother Mother, Great Lake Swimmers, Basia Bulat, Veda Hille, Hannah Georgas, Charlie Parr, Bear's Den, Hey Rosetta!, The Shins, Sam Roberts Band, Jason Collett, Bahamas, Rich Aucoin, Zeus, Macklemore, Vampire Weekend, City & Colour, Yukon Blonde, Sondre Lerche, Warpaint, Other Lives, Suuns, Spoon, Tegan and Sara, Lucius.[16]

On Canada Day in 2011 Mangan performed for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Dan Mangan (or Dan Mangan + Blacksmith) have been invited to perform at many international music festivals including:

Mangan's March 13, 2020 show at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, Ontario was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, Mangan and his band played a half-hour set to the empty hall, which Mangan streamed on YouTube the following Monday as "Show to Nobody".[17]

Personal life[edit]

Mangan's family moved often, residing in both the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia, but primarily in his current home town of Vancouver. He was influenced by his parents' record collection, especially the music of Nick Drake and The Beatles.[1] At sixteen, Mangan started a band called Basement Suite with some classmates and played gigs at local community centres. Though his family had returned to Vancouver by age two, he was born in Smithers, British Columbia.[18]

Mangan studied at the University of British Columbia, earning a BA in English Literature.[19]

He lives in Vancouver with his wife Kirsten Slenning and two children.[20]



Year EP details
2003 All At Once
  • Label: File Under: Music
  • Format: CD
2009 Roboteering
  • Label: File Under: Music
  • Format: CD, Digital download
2012 Radicals
  • Label: Arts & Crafts, City Slang, ABC
  • Format: 7", Digital download
2016 Unmake[21]
  • Label: Arts & Crafts, City Slang
  • Format: Digital download

Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details
2005 Postcards & Daydreaming
  • Label: File Under: Music, ABC/Warner
  • Format: LP, CD, digital download
  • Re-released in 2007
2009 Nice, Nice, Very Nice
  • Label: Arts & Crafts, File Under: Music, ABC/Universal
  • Format: LP, CD, digital download
2011 Oh Fortune
2015 Club Meds (credited as Dan Mangan + Blacksmith)
2018 More or Less
  • Label: Arts & Crafts, Caroline
  • Format: LP, CD, digital download
2020 Thief
  • Label: Arts & Crafts
  • Format: LP, CD, digital download


Year Artist Song Album
2015 Astral Swans with Dan Mangan "You Are A Runner & I Am My Father's Son" (Wolf Parade cover) Good People Rock
2018 Astral Swans "Controls" Strange Prison

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Leahey, Andrew. "Dan Mangan: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
  2. ^ Mack, Adrian (March 12, 2009). "Dan Mangan", The Georgia Straight. Retrieved on 2009-05-22.
  3. ^ Miller, Aaron (September 23, 2009). "Dan Mangan, Alexisonfire Victorious at XM Verge Music Awards". CityNews. Archived from the original on October 11, 2009. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
  4. ^ "Dan Mangan Unveils 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of 'Nice, Nice, Very Nice'". exclaim.ca. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
  5. ^ "CBC - Absolutely Canadian - What Happens Next? The Dan Mangan Documentary". Cbc.ca.
  6. ^ "Artist summary: Dan Mangan". JunoAwards.ca. Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
  7. ^ Alexis, Petridis (16 January 2015). "Why Club Meds by Dan Mangan + Blacksmith is the one album you should hear this week". The Guardian.
  8. ^ "Dan Mangan and Gord Grdina discuss Club Meds". Guitarist. Guitarist. 28 April 2015.
  9. ^ "Paul Brogee on "Club Meds"". Longrangehustle.com.
  10. ^ "Drew Brown | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2021-03-22.
  11. ^ "Simone Felice | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2021-03-22.
  12. ^ "Dan Mangan More or Less". exclaim.ca. Retrieved 2021-03-22.
  13. ^ "Dan Mangan goes in-depth on new album, 'More or Less'". Global News. Retrieved 2021-03-22.
  14. ^ "Vancouver's beloved Dan Mangan receives an avalanche of support after a dream appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!". The Georgia Straight. 17 April 2019. Retrieved 2021-07-08.
  15. ^ Alex Hudson (15 January 2015). "Astral Swans Announces Debut LP on Dan Mangan's Madic Records". Exclaim!.
  16. ^ Harper, Kate (2009-02-18). "Dan Mangan Does the Robot". Chart. Retrieved 2013-05-14.
  17. ^ Richard Trapunski, "Dan Mangan livestreams his cancelled Danforth Music Hall show". Now, March 16, 2020.
  18. ^ Jones, Vincent (July 16, 2012). "Dan Mangan Interview - Keloha, 2012". Hear in Kelowna.
  19. ^ Samuels, Lucas (November 30, 2011). "Dan Mangan's eight-song mixtape for ArtistMixtapes.com". Chart. Retrieved April 23, 2014.
  20. ^ Gregoire, Lisa (May 10, 2017). "Dan Mangan, troubadour dad". Nunatsiaq Online.
  21. ^ [1]

External links[edit]