When you speak to Dan Hagen, you speak to a true artist. A multi instrumentalist, who is equally as
eloquent with words as he is sans them, has a record out on iTunes called “The Journey” that you need to hear. Along with his own writings, he also covers “What’s Going On” and “Don’t You Worry Bout a Thing” on the record, hits that have powerful messages.
One of the most powerful message you hear through Dan’s music is that music itself, no lyrics, just the instrumentals is equally as powerful as a catchy lyric or singer. It also enables to be truly free in his art. If you ask Dan who are some of his major influences, the list could go on and on, but it’s what he does credit to be a huge part of his art that is truly fascinating. Dan credits Bruce Lee and his Jeet Kune Do method of life and karate. “My style is no style, and my way is no way” I’ve spent my whole life studying every type of music. As a guitar player and producer Bruce Lee has helped me empower my mind.”
And although Dan will eventually credit Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix and a string of others musically, like Lee he is not interested in living or performing in a box, or in a certain genre. Being schooled in form, he breaks away from convention and makes music that speaks to the soul.
“You see I make a living playing with singers. I’m producing three records with singers. I do a lot of that, and it is important but it’s highly fulfilled. But I feel like words can often be limiting. You can sometimes express a lot more without words.”
Hagen’s vibe seems very Eastern, open minded and deeply spiritual, and that transcendence spills into his music. “My understanding of the spiritual nature and God is constantly expanding. Ultimately I look at music as a gift, it’s God’s gift to me and mine to him. I’m also an activist and I’ve organized Liberty festivals. So I can talk about things that matter to me. “What’s Going On is an anti war song. I believe in a nonaggression role unless it’s in self defense. I’m a very spiritual person. I look at music as a vessel to express the greater things, and I think God uses me as a vessel. Instrumentally it feels the deepest type of prayer or meditation. I feel like a total vessel and the music is just playing right through me.”
Hagen is not the only vessel in the room though, in a crowded venue, he often asks the audience to sing along, “I cover a bunch of soul songs without lyrics. “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing…” I encourage people to sing along. So sometimes the whole room becomes the singer.”
Dan’s passion for instrumental music is equally as great as his idea of what it means to be an
independent artist. “It ultimately means that I have freedom to do the music the way I want to do it.”
Hagen has worked as a guitar player, producer, and although he admits there are greater challenges to being an independent artist, the freedom is worth it.
He acknowledges that with a “Label” you have more capital, a team, marketing, but being independent means that you have freedom and control over your own art, your own work, your own vessel.
Dan Hagen, the man, the artist, the vessel plays all over Nashville. If you’re lucky you might even catch him sporting his Indieville t-shirt on the way to meet some friends, or playing Nashville’s favorite “The Five Spot.” To hear more of his music you can go to DanHagenmusic.com, Itune’s and Reverb Nation. On Reverb keep an eye out for his session from “The Five Spot”, and on DanHagenmusic.com to find out more of his tour dates.