3 Quick Minutes, with… drummer Daniel Crane

3 quick minutes with…

Daniel Crane of Eyes Manouche

Daniel Crane of Eyes Manouche.

Drummer Daniel Crane of gypsy jazz band Eyes Manouche.

We are standing outside Chicago’s Xippo Lounge, just after midnight, where Crane’s band Eyes Manouche is enjoying their set break. When the first set began at 11 p.m., the crowd was sparse. Thirty minutes later, it was standing room only…

You just played the first set of a two-set night… what is it that you enjoy most about playing with these guys?

I think a lot of it is because we’re friends, you know? We’ve been playing together now for like a year and a half, so we’re super comfortable with each other, and the music that we play – it’s just fun. We don’t have to think about it too much. We just have fun.

When you perfect a set, when you play a certain amount of songs and you play them with a lot of frequency, you get tight, you get relaxed, and then you are able to kind of reinterpret the music, depending on the night, the crowd, whatever. If it’s a crazy crowd, you get crazy. If it’s a chill crowd, you approach it differently. Once you know the music, you can put your own stamp on it every night. You can make it unique every night.

If you have a couple girls who want to dance, and they start dancing, they’ll kick it off. Everyone will. It just depends on the crowd. You need a couple people to get up and start dancing, and that’s the point. That’s why we play. We really are a dance band. We want people moving. We’re not really a “sit down and watch a jazz concert” kind of band. It’s a party band.

We played a church for New Years Eve, and that was crazy. There were 300 people dancing. We did Serbian New Year at this place called The Cave, with people dancing. But we’ve had random nights here at Xippo where, by 11:30, people are boogying down. It’s very random. In this industry, you just never know. You never know what kind of crowd you’re gonna get. And there are venues that are more conducive to dancing – Morseland we play, is a little more conducive – but it just depends.

We want to get Eyes Manouche out there. We’ve got some people from San Francisco calling us. They’re playing us on Detroit radio right now. You know, it’s about traveling. Chicago bands, (pause) – you can only do so much in the city. Once you leave, then when you come back, you’re a commodity. You’re like, “Oh, these guys are back in town. I’m gonna come and check them out.” But if we’re playing seven times a month, then it’s like, “Well, I can see them whenever.” Our next step is getting out of Chicago, and then coming back. Also making a CD. That’s important for us.

Jack M Silverstein is a freelance writer covering music and culture in Chicago. Contact him at jack@readjack.com, or say hey at twitter/readjack or facebook/readjack.

Check out Eyes Manouche online at eyesmanouche.com, take a look at my earlier write-up on the band, and for goodness sakes, see ’em live!


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