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Q & A With DDK

Q & A With DDK

Recorded with local bass legend Billy Kristian (the C’mon band, Max Merritt & The Meteors, Ray Columbus & The Invaders), Dennis Krebs / McCann, aka DDK, released his debut album in May this year – after just about 50 years in various bands and on plenty of boats! With its synth and guitar-focus ‘Looking For You’ nods reverently to the greats of many decades, dabbling in classic, country and blues-rock, as well as ’80s ballads, folk, some crooning, and Caribbean vibes on party-starter highlight Off My Face

Congratulations on your album. It’s been out for just over a month now – how does it feel to see it out in the world?

Thanks. It feels like an achievement of some sort, up there with teaching your dog to sit! The feedback has been refreshingly positive but I’m realistic enough to know what friends say and why.

I must ask, what does DDK actually stand for?

DK are my initials and I just added one more D in front to give it a ring. I mean who would want to be called ‘Decay’?

This is your debut solo album, but your history as a musician goes all the way back to the ’60s… What were the main bands you’ve played in over the years?

It began with that well known and mostly forgettable band, The Pudding. This was followed by The Cheshire Katt which played in Wellington for many years before moving to Auckland to take up a residency gig at the Club A Go Go.

After that band broke up I went to Australia and played in pubs and clubs for a time. Returning to NZ we formed the band Cockroach which gathered a huge following in Northland and also played regularly in Auckland. Then it was back to Wellington to join the memorable 2 CC resident band at The Travel Lodge.

Following this, I went to Hong Kong as a solo vocalist for The New Zealand Festival of Art, Music and Culture.

Why the long gap between your band projects back in the day and the solo album now?

I turned seventy and thought it was about time!

You would have played a number of major music festivals in the ’70s. Any musical moments that you look back on and have to pinch yourself, thinking, wow, this really happened? 

You know what they say, “What happens backstage stays backstage.” But If I were to mention any particular gig it would probably be the party in the band room when 2CC opened for Rene Geyer at Nightsite. It was such a sight that they left it for two weeks just to show people before cleaning it up.

You’ve always had close ties with the ocean, working on boats, spending a year on Raoul Island and later sailing the world. How has this informed your writing?

As a writer, it definitely influences your thoughts. I wrote The Gates Of Sorrow as the sun rose sailing up the coast of Sudan. It was the start of a beautiful day but sadly not for so many people in the conflict ashore.

Some songwriters let their own lives float into songs, while others take ideas and write stories around them. What’s your approach?

Some are from personal experiences but most are as a spectator viewing other people’s lives, dreams and wishes.

What has been your favourite decade to be a musician in?

There is no question about it: the ’60s were like a new beginning of music. The Beatles, Rolling Stones and the like demonstrated a freedom never before attained, and we all followed. It felt like you were part of something uplifting and exciting.

In the flat I shared with three others The Beatles ‘Rubber Soul’ album played nonstop for two weeks.
Some may say that rap is a similar new beginning. I view it as a talent and ability, but it’s not music.

What’s your take on utilising social media as an artist?

I’d like to get a handle on it but I was born in the wrong century.

Who did you work with on ‘Looking For You’, and where did you record it?

I worked mostly with Billy Kristian as producer at Muscle Music Studio in Northland. He bought in great musicians such as Mike Walker on piano and Dan Hewson on guitar.

With ‘Looking For You’ done are there any hopes, or plans, for recording more of your material?

Yes there is. I have almost completed a second album. Next stage is the mix.