Interview with the Doppelmanger: In Conversation with Dan Mangan

Dan Mangan and Nick Lyons

A couple weeks ago, we at analogue magazine had the opportunity to do an exclusive interview with Dan Mangan. I sidled up next to Dan in the wooden pews of an old Methodist Church now known as The Alex Gooldin Hall after he finished his sound-check. Dan was relaxed in the hall. Clad in a t-shirt, jeans, and a (nice, nice) very nice pair of shoes, Mangan’s outfit was a perfect representation of the mongrel breed of songs he has been crafting for the past twelve years—unassuming with a twist of the ornate.

In many ways, the interview was conventional; in many ways, it was not. Dan Mangan was predictably generous with his time. He answered my questions thoughtfully, yet playfully. Together, we laughed, and joked as we talked about drugs, terrorism, and Oprah. Dan even serenaded us with a wonderful solo acoustic rendition of one of his newest tunes. We had fun: Dan did too.

Photo by Sara Hembree

Photo by Sara Hembree

The strange thing about the interview, however, was that Dan and I bare an uncanny resemblance to one another. Whenever I go to Vancouver, I am mobbed by Dan-fans; I have grown tired of disappointing people and have reluctantly signed autographs on his behalf. analogue Publisher, Mary Ellen Green, introduced me to Mangan, asking we’d ever met before—Dan said simply, and profoundly: “He looks familiar”. And so it began.

Photo by Sara Hembree

Photo by Sara Hembree

That afternoon we learned that Dan Mangan is the son of a United Church Minister; I am the grandson of two Ministers in the Methodist Tradition. Both Mangan and I may be reticent to affiliate ourselves to our respective religious traditions, yet there we were, meeting again for the first time in a Church repurposed for music; and it was good.

We talked about the atrocities of Paris, which had happened only a few days prior to the interview. Mangan, along with his band Blacksmith, toured Europe this Fall; Paris was one of the highlights of Mangan’s tour, so the massacre at the Bataclan struck very close to Mangan’s home on the road. I, by contrast, have never been off the continent save for a horrible destination wedding in Jamaica, where I was mistaken as a mid-level drug trafficker due to my bulge, my excessive amount of hair, and my easy-going temperment.

Dan and I discussed our society’s propensity toward medication. Be it Heroin, THC, Facebook, Sports, or Spirits, we all do our best to cope with the painful realities surrounding us— drugs help; sports might. Mangan extrapolated upon humanity’s Universal dependence on something ‘other’ throughout the conversation as I found myself “jones-ing” for a cigarette and a steak (I am a recent convert to Veganism).

By interview’s end, the conversation took a turn toward the lighter side of things, namely, Oprah. Mangan and I speculated upon Oprah’s shopping habits. Mangan figured that Oprah had a team of people employed to go to the grocery store on her behalf, while I imagined that the “Big O” owns her own farm and delivery service. In my thought-dreams, Oprah’s farm is organic, and Dan proposed the name “Op-ganics”, giving America’s beloved talk show host another million dollar idea. We look forward to seeing that dream become a reality in the near future.

Mangan has since finished his tour of small town BC and Alberta; I have quit smoking and am moving to Central Saanich. I hope to meet my brother from another mother soon when we are older and wiser. Perhaps we can sit on a porch, whittle, and abstain from addiction together.

Photo by Sara Hembree

Photo by Sara Hembree

words: Nick Lyons
photos: Sara Hembree