Dan Layus just released a solo album at the end of October. The album, titled “Dangerous Things” has Layus taking a couple of steps away from the songs that the Augustana front man has been known for. The new album from Layus has elements of Bluegrass, Americana, pop, rock, and even some country in there too. Alternative Addiction talked with Layus while he was on tour in the UK recently and among the things that were discussed was the switch to releasing music under his own name.
“Everything is fantastic,” began Layus. “I couldn’t be happier about putting this record out under my name. Took a little while to get to the point to where I felt like it’s the right choice. I was out at lunch with the wife and my kids and my manager called and wanted to bill it under my name. The second he did that I thought it was a great idea and I felt like the world opened for me at that point creatively. I felt like I could make any kind of album I wanted from here on out. If it’s under my name it doesn’t have the pretense of the Augustana title and that was really exciting for me.”
“I was able to take some comfort in that. Essentially I had been playing under the banner of Augustana for five years or so by myself. The transition has been really natural. For any fans of the music it shouldn’t be that big of a deal. I’m playing a large or normal amount of the back catalog as well on tour. I’m playing those songs that people have become fans with over the years. It’s the make-up of the whole thing. I’m always happy to make people happy.”
A big part of the reason why this is a Dan Layus and not an Augustana release is certainly because it removed any preconceived expectations about how this music should sound and enabled Layus to make the music that he wanted to make. The difference between this release and an Augustana release isn’t just how it sounds though, it’s how these songs were written too.
“I wanted to mature in the composition of a lot of these songs. I wanted to challenge myself to try new things. I didn’t want to write the way I had been writing. I wanted to write in one sitting. I wanted to write songs from front to back repeatedly opposed to writing chunks here and there,” added Layus.
With the previous work that he had written for Augustana, a lot of that music was autobiographical, here some of this is, but per Layus he changed his viewpoint when writing to more of an observational role.
“I feel really close to these songs. A couple of them have a direct correlation with my life but a lot of them are stories that I set out to write that weren’t about me. A little less of a diary style of writing opposed to more of an observational style of writing about fictional characters or about people in my life. This album in particular I feel connected to every song.”
Using his own thing, writing music in a new style, and making music without the Augustana connection, Dan Layus is doing new things, some of them things that they wanted to get done with Augustana but just never got the opportunity to do so, including touring in the UK.
“It was somewhere that we wanted to be for ten years but unfortunately we never really got here,” said Layus on playing in the UK. “We never did a proper tour over here. So, when we finally got a chance to come over there we never stopped. We’ve played with OneDirection and The Dixie Chicks over here and now we’ve done some headlining stuff over here. It’s a special experience and it’s something I’ve dreamt about for a long time. I love it here and I love playing music here.”
The new album from Dan Layus, “Dangerous Things” is available now.