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WPGM Commentary: Dan Onkar On The Making Of His New EP ‘A Night Like This’

My name’s Dan Onkar, I’m a singer, songwriter and producer from London. A Night Like This is my third studio EP, it’s been the most fun to make and the most involved I have been at every level of production. It took me having to make about 3 different versions of an EP before I settled on this idea and story.

Want It With You” is the first song I made on this project but at the time I had just handed in my second EP so didn’t even know where it was going to land but I always loved the song and felt it had a place on any body of work I was going to make.

Fast forward to the day I made the second song, I was already sure what I wanted the EP to sound like but I didn’t have any of the songs that I liked for a project, which is when I made “If I Lie“. I made “If I Lie” after a night out and it took me the whole day to write, produce and record it.

The hook for this song “If I lie, Make water carry me go” is pretty much a Nigerian saying that roughly translates to “if I’m lying I’m dying”. The guitar that runs through the record comes courtesy of Sonzi and he sent me this during the lockdown period, which would turn out to be the last thing I do music wise for the EP.

After making “If I Lie”, I felt like I wanted some groove in the middle of the project but I didn’t have a clue just how I want it to sound, so one day I’m at home and Nosa Apollo calls me at 9am to come to the studio and we went it and for some reason started talking about an old Nigerian TV show called Tales By Moonlight.

At this point, we had made some parts of the music but had not written any lyrics for it and this is when “Tales By Moonlight” was born. I feel it’s important to make music with people that are happy to make music with you and you genuinely enjoy being around, I don’t think I make Tales By Moonlight if Nosa had never seen the TV show as well.

I’ve always made music with Nosa but never anything that we put out, but as soon as we made “Tales By Moonlight”, we knew this was definitely where we had been trying to meet musically and a week later, we also made “In the Morning“.

Spring Water” was a song I initially freestyled in the studio, it had no structure and I almost left it like that but I knew I had to make it a song so I had to arrange the lyrics and find which part of the freestyle was a hook and which part was going to be verses but besides that, this was one of the quickest songs I made.

During the lockdown where we had to be indoors, I had wrapped up the EP at this point and was getting frustrated that I couldn’t put it out so I decided to give the EP one extra song since it wasn’t getting the release date I had planned, this is when “Pass It” was birthed, in my room while I had my friends on video call.

When I played the chords, I already knew where I wanted to take the drums and the entire song, so as soon as I finished I sent it to Nosa and he instantly requested to be part of it. “Pass It” is the summer song I wanted to listen to outside at a brunch party, so I made it for myself.

A Night Like This is an ode to your favourite old school love. It sounds like throwback meets new school, RnB meets Afrobeats, it sounds like London, it sounds like Lagos.

On this project, I really wanted to channel the 80s afro disco era, I listen to Steve Monite, Gboyega Adelaja, Sir Victor Uwaifo and Lagbaja these are the artists that inspired this EP. I wanted to present a sound that told you who I was and display the range of my art, that it’s not just one thing, it’s multiple things and can take any form.

Listen to my A Night Like This EP below!!!

Words by Dan Onkar // Follow him on Twitter + Instagram

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