Dan Kelly’s latest album Leisure Panic! was recorded across a multitude of locations, from tiny apartments during the London riots to freezing mud brick studios in Melbourne, beachside flats in the Sydney summer, porches in Nimbin and in Dan’s new studio TFS in Melbourne. Featuring his Dream Band is made up of Dave Williams (Augie March), Indra Adams (Ground Components), Madeleine and Memphis Kelly (CW Stoneking, Wishful) and Joe Cope (Magic Mountain Band), the album was produced by Aaron Cupples (Drones, Snowman, Civil Civic).

We asked Dan Kelly to share his favourite tracks, lyrics and moments while making his new album Leisure Panic!

What is your favourite album of all time?

Today it’s King Sunny Ade ‘Searching for my love’.

King Sunny Ade

What was the first album you bought with your own money?

Duran Duran ‘ARENA’. It was a live album. I wanted ‘7 and the Ragged Tiger’ but they were out of stock. it’s not their best work.

What was playing on your family stereo growing up?

The Beatles, JJ Cale, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Van Morrison, Joan Armatrading, Joe Jackson’s ‘Look Sharp’, Kate and Annie Mcgarrigle, early Chris de Burgh, Bob Dylan, Peter Tosh, Dire Straits first few records. I supplemented this stuff of my folks with a lot of new romantic hits on FM 104 the local radio station.

Which album did you play to death as a teenager?

The Cult ‘Electric’, The Smiths ‘The Queen is Dead’, Radio Birdman ‘Radios Appear’, The Yes Album.


What albums/EPs are you currently listening to?

New Kurt Vile record, songs from the new and awesome Drones record (out next year), Blank Realm ‘Illegals in Heaven’, some early ZZ Top records (I never realised they kind of invented that Kyuss desert blues thing), a band called ‘Smile’ from Melbourne, The Faces box set called ‘5 guys walk into a bar’, the new version of Dylan’s ‘The Basement Tapes’.

Kurt Vile album

What has been your favourite EP or album release of 2015 so far?

hmm, favourites is hard. Musicians only pretend they have favourites for interviews but generally it’s a bunch of stuff that changes daily. I remember Kendrick Lamar ‘To Pimp a Butterfly ‘ getting a good run.. um, that one?

What record stores can you not live without visiting regularly and why?

I like Polyester in Fitzroy. It’s got loads of good stuff and they are good people to ask lots of questions to. Also, Rocking Horse records in Brisbane where I bought all my early records. Amoeba Records in La is a great visit.


Where did the title Leisure Panic! from and was it the only title you had for the album?

I had other titles ‘ Pacific Highway Blue’ (which is a Dennis Wilson reference) and Dan Kelly’s North Coast Mixtape before I settled on Leisure Panic! People who know me well will often find me near a beach or swimming pool looking relaxed but also having an existential crisis about the meaninglessness of everything and/or whether I should remix/re-sing a song on the record etc this is called ‘Leisure Panic’.

What are your favourite tracks from the album and why?

I particularly like the first one ‘On the Run’ as it’s recorded live and just kind of floats along up the highway without ever doing anything fancy and the lyrics are about as simple and direct as I’ve managed. Also the last track ‘Jet Lag’ i just dig the sad electro- regret feel that we got and it just floats off into some kind of Eno Berlin fantasy land.

What are your favourite lyrics from the album and why?

I like em all. I don’t like to put out lyrics that aren’t world beating droplets of literary goodness. So I would say all of them.

What was the inspiration behind the album artwork for title Leisure Panic! and who designed it?

It’s an iPhone selfie taken at the beach underneath Leonard Cohen’s house on the greek island of Hydra. I got my friend Adam Lester to do the font and Carl Breitkreuz put it together with me. I look relaxed and panicked so I thought it was the shot.

dan kelly leisure panic!

What is your most memorable moment from recording title Leisure Panic!?

A lot of the solo songs like ‘Ex Bandido’ were started in Aaron Cupples flat in East London. The London riots were happening for some of it and I had to take a train through actual riots and smoked out high streets, underneath police helicopters and dodge BMX riding rioters to get there. that was fun.

Leisure Panic! is out now via ABC Music.

Dan Kelly with the Dream Band – ‘Leisure Panic!’ National Tour

Saturday 17 October
Saints and Sailors, Portarlington, Vic

Thursday 22 October
Grace Emily Hotel, Adelaide Solo with Wireheads

Friday 23 October
Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane with Ben Ely

Saturday 24 October
GoodGod, Sydney with Ben Ely

Saturday 31 October
Gasometer Hotel, Melbourne with Jess Ribeiro, Ben Ely and Total Giovanni DJs