Dan Gillespie Sells

📷 : Pauline Di Silvestro

Lead vocalist Dan Gillespie Sells and his band The Feeling returned in 2018 after a two-year break from live shows and are currently working on their upcoming sixth studio album, and earlier this year, they were part of Tim’s Twitter listening party for their 2006 debut album Twelve Stops and Home which has sold over one million copies and reached number two on the UK Albums Chart on its release. The Feeling’s Christmas show at The Clapham Grand has been rescheduled due to the pandemic and will now take place on the 1st July retitled The Feeling Summer Party! and the band have festivals they will be performing at and are planning a headline tour. Dan has also written the music for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie which opened in Sheffield before having a West End transfer to the Apollo Theatre, with the show being adapted into a feature film due for release on Amazon Prime on 17th September 2021. Chatting to Dan, he tells us about working on The Feeling’s sixth studio album, writing music and being the composer of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.

What can you tell us about The Feeling’s new album that you’re currently working on?

The new album I’m working on with The Feeling is our sixth studio album. It has been a while since the last because of our work on the Jamie movie keeping us all very busy. I still love working with the boys even after over twenty years! These set of songs are the closest thing we have done to our debut Twelve Stops and Home. There is a slightly older, maybe more philosophical set of lyrics but in spirit it is like Twelve Stops.

The band returned in 2018 after a two-year break, how did it feel coming back together and playing live shows?

Even though we do have breaks from playing publicly as The Feeling we never really stop working together. I have a great group of musicians that I trust and have a twenty year working relationship with so they tend to get brought into whatever I’m doing in some way or another. We do love to see our fans though and it’s always amazing to me that they still come after all these years!

Do you have any favourite songs to perform live and what would you say are some of the highlights from your time in The Feeling so far?

I haven’t got favourite songs but there are tonnes of amazing live moments that will always stay with me. The great thing about live work is that you never know what is going to happen and it’s those random happenings like the stage roof blowing away in a gale or someone getting stuck in a Porta loo at Glastonbury as we are about to go on stage that we remember.

At the start of the year, you were part of a Twitter listening party for your 2006 debut album Twelve Stops and Home, how was this?

Tim’s Twitter listening party was great! We supported Tim Burgess’ band The Charlatans when we first went touring as The Feeling. It was lovely to be asked and the response was fantastic. I wished I could type faster to keep up.

Your Christmas show at The Clapham Grand has been rescheduled for a Summer Party on July 1st, what can the audience expect from the evening?

This will be our first show back since the pandemic so if it happens it will be quite emotional. Fingers crossed!

Apart from this show, do you have any plans to do more live/online events this year?

We have quite a few festival bookings for the summer and we plan to tour in 2021.

What was it like working on the music for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and what are you most looking forward to for the release of the film adaptation?

Working on Everybody’s Talking About Jamie was life-changing. A huge challenge and a massive learning experience. We never stop learning but sometimes you take something on which really pushes you. I’m just really excited to share the story with a wider audience now that the film is finished.

How was it hearing the music you composed live on a West End stage for the first time?

The West End opening was so nerve wrecking that I barely remember the night. It was a triumph but mostly because of a fantastic cast and crew who all continue to work so hard to make it special.

Have you had a favourite aspect of working on the productions of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie?

Working on Jamie has allowed collaboration on a level that I’d never experienced before. Working with a choreographer, lighting, sound and costume designers and my co-creators Tom (MacRae) and Jonathan (Butterell). I’ve loved every minute.

Can you tell us about any projects you were involved with while the industry has been on hold during the pandemic?

During the pandemic I have been writing lots. There have been a few unfinished projects that needed completing and there are new things I’ve started. Also finishing touches to The Feeling’s album no.6.

Have you watched any TV shows or films recently that you would recommend?

I have watched way too much TV this year, but what else is there to do in lockdown really? I loved so many things it’s hard to list. I loved Run and also Russian Doll. After Life was really interesting. I thought Too Close was the best thing I’ve seen recently.

Had you always wanted a music career and how did you start?

I always thought I’d be a musician from the age of about five, I think. I’ve been lucky to have been so single-minded.

Where do you get the inspiration from for your songwriting and what advice would you give someone starting out?

Inspiration for songwriting comes from knowing what you love and what you want to say. It’s easy for your head to get in the way of your instincts. Sometimes people might give you this idea that there is a right or wrong involved. There isn’t. Know what you love and do what you love.

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