Interview with Dan Aran

by Leora Zinstein

I interviewed Dan Aran, a New York based drummer, who has worked with many famous artists such as Natalie Merchant, Harry Whitaker, Stacey Kent and many more. His music is described as a “Unique Blend of Jazz, Latin Rhythms and Middle Eastern melodies” (Downbeat Magazine). His music has a strong rhythm as well and a lot of improvisation which Dan takes pride in. Overall, I am a fan of his music, and he was a pleasure to talk to.

Question 1: Have there been moments where you have had to sacrifice something for the sake of your musical career?

Answer: “If you are serious about anything, you’ll have to sacrifice”, said Dan. He then stated that there are many routine habits that he needed to change in order to ensure his success. Some of these habits would be waking up earlier and going to sleep earlier. He also needs to practice his drumming in a studio since playing drums in his home would be inconsiderate to his neighbors. He then states that after years of being a musician, all of these actions have become routine and no longer feel like a sacrifice.

Question 2: What do you like about jazz?

Answer: Dan said that he loves the cultural aspect of jazz and how it combines African American music with European, Latin, and Caribbean music. He loves the “groove” and “beat” of jazz and has a particular love for the improvisation aspect of it. He enjoys the communal aspect of jazz and how when playing jazz with a group of people it feels as though they are all “speaking the same musical language”.

Question 3: What inspired your fascination with jazz and music in general?

Answer: Dan has always had a fascination with jazz, but he believes it all stemmed from his mother’s records. His mother would always play artists like Louis Armstrong. He says that “music was always in the house”.

Question 4: What artists inspired you the most?

Answer: Dan does not have a singular artist that inspired him the most but artists like Louis Armstrong, Stevie Wonder, and Michel Jackson have all had a big impact on him. Overall, he says that “thousands of artists have inspired me”.

Question 5: What is your favorite piece of music to play?

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Answer: Dan does not have a favorite song to play, he mostly prefers to improvise or play many different songs, but he does enjoy playing the song If You Could See Me Now. He also wanted to emphasize that he enjoys playing any song by Cole Porter.