You may have heard Dan Croll's single "From Nowhere" on the radio – that strange antiquated medium whereby other men and women decide what music you should be listening to – because it is currently being, if not hammered, then at least tapped gently but consistently by all the people you'd expect, plus some of the ones you wouldn't. He's the electro boy with one foot in the world of folk, the troubadour who can handle himself quite nicely, thank you, with computers, and the indie kid who shares management with some Very Successful Artists Indeed, including Ellie Goulding, Rita Ora and Conor Maynard.
He's full of contradictions, this 22-year-old from Robbie Williams and Slash's hometown. Only he's not a hirsute rocker or a podgy, superannuated pub crooner latterly and creepily making a living belting out nursery rhymes for adults. No, he's the former rugby nut who could have played the sport at the highest level until a collision with a bruiser forced his retirement and saw him turn musician. A trained musician, at that: he studied the subject at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts where his teachers included him from China Crisis and one of the Farm. Imagine that, being taught about the finer points of songcraft by one of the blokes responsible for Groovy Train. While he was there he had a one-to-one with another tunesmith you may have heard of: LIPA founder Paul McCartney. Croll remembers him saying "groovy" a lot, but Macca apparently only raised his thumb aloft once, to give his seal of approval to the demos he had been working on. The feeling wasn't necessarily mutual: Croll has never been all that into the Beatles, being more of a fan of Brian Wilson, Burt Bacharach and, more recently, Bon Iver.
Previous employment includes nightclub bouncer (paid), TV extra (ditto) and member of a math rock band called Dire Wolfe (not so much). He used to be backed by a multiple-member Beirut-style outfit featuring all manner of exotic instrumentation (djembes, anyone?) but now he's pared things down to a more manageable five-piece unit as his music has become more electronic. "Marion" and "Home" are examples of his softer, more acoustic side, while the more recent "Wanna Know" (about an over-controlling lover) and "Compliment Your Soul" (about a relationship gone sour) are more eclectic, betraying a love of falsetto funk and idiosyncratic African rhythms: think Paul Simon jamming with Prince. Very nice. Still, if it all goes tits up, he could always go back to bit-parts on telly – his last one was in Shameless attending Frank Gallagher's stag do at a strip club. This was actually less thrilling than it might have been had he (Croll) not spent the last year or so living above a bordello on Liverpool's Broad Street, but marginally more enticing than being stuck in a scrum. [Guardian UK: New Band of the Day 11/8/12]