New Release – The Candle Is Worth The Game (EP) by Dany Horovitz

New Release – The Candle Is Worth The Game (EP) by Dany Horovitz

Dany Horovitz is a Canadian singer-songwriter, known for delighting audiences with his memorable melodies and beautiful storytelling through vivid lyrics. Each of the singles off of Dany’s debut album ‘Free Times’, received radio play across Canada, the United States, Europe, and Australia. Dany’s music is infused with modern takes on familiar sounds: melodic guitar and piano chords, popping bass licks, and toe-tapping percussion. His lyrics are stories of love, loss, and life, drawing inspiration from ancient poets, modern philosophers, and personal experiences.

His EP ‘The Candle Is Worth The Game’ will be out 20th January. It is a four song EP, with an emotional arc that runs from dark to light. Each of the songs stand on their own, but they also each weave in themes of darkness and light. Put in order, the narrative becomes progressively more optimistic with each song.

“The first track ‘Downward Into The Dark’ is an emotional response to the revelations uncovered at the site of Canada’s former residential schools. The title of that song comes from a quote by Friedrich Nietzsche: “mankind is like a tree: the higher we reach upward towards the heaven, the deeper our roots grow downward into the dark”. The EP ends with ‘Morning Light’, a song that is about how beautiful and comforting life is to find someone that you can feel vulnerable and safe with. The two songs between ‘After Last Call’ and ‘Loneliness In Rhyme’, balance the dark and light in their own way.”

“‘The Candle Is Worth The Game’ is an old French expression, from a time when card players were required to bring their own candle to evening games: it was only worth playing the game if the winnings covered the cost of illumination. The expression has come to mean that something is worth doing only if the cost of that thing is worth it.”

“The existentialist Albert Camus said that there is really only one serious question in philosophy and that is the question of suicide. So me titling this EP ‘The Candle Is Worth The Game’ is my way of saying: despite the hardships that come with being alive, life is worth living.”

What are your favourite memories of writing and/or recording the album?

“On ‘After Last Cal’l, I hired a saxophonist named Henry Gluch to play the instrumental section, and he knocked it out of the park. A little while later, I brought in Mike Tompa to play strings on a few of the songs. While in the studio, I asked Mike to see if he could harmonize his violin with what Henry’s sax was doing. Almost immediately, Mike found the perfect mimic to Henry’s sax but an octave up, and the result is the beautiful duelling saxophone-violin instrumental section. I’ve never heard anything like it in a song before, and I still remember getting shivers the first time I heard it.”

“Another great memory on ‘Downward Into The Dark’, Sean Royle – this incredible musician who can play any rock band instrument – used the glockenspiel to create a “music box” sound for an introduction. It sounded great, like absolutely everything that Sean does. But it sounded a touch too perfect and bright for a song that dark. My engineer and producer Calvin said, hang on a moment, and does a few things on the studio side, and the next thing you know it sounds like a broken music box, and it is exactly what the song needed.”

“Both of these memories really stand out but the truth is that I have a hundred memories like them that demonstrate the magic of the recording process.”

Could you pick one or two songs on the album and discuss how they came to be?

“I wrote ‘Loneliness In Rhyme’ in 2020, early in the pandemic. Like a lot of people, I was stuck at home and feeling a bit blue, especially at night. During the day, I could go on walks or call fiends, but then at night it was starting to hit me that I hadn’t seen anyone in person in weeks or months. Then when I woke up, I’d always feel better. I wanted to write a song about those feelings. Meanwhile, for years I’d been so intrigued by the structure of the Beatles’ song “She Loves You”. In that song, the narrator is taking to a friend about another person. So I adapted that narrative structure for my song about feeling lonely, and I think the results worked out really well.”

“‘Morning Light’ has a totally different origin. One afternoon I had taken a bunch of magic mushrooms with the intention of being creative. And I wrote some poems and thoughts down for a few hours. Now, if you’ve never done magic mushrooms before, one of the many things that makes it more interesting than alcohol is, when the experience is over there is no hangover. Instead you’re left with an “afterglow” of sorts, where you feel good about yourself and your place in the world for a day or two. So anyway, the trip had ended and I was feeling the afterglow and I suddenly felt like listening to John Denver’s Take Me Home Country Roads. I listened to it a few times and thought, I want to write a song as warm and loving as that, a song about feeling like you’re home. So I went to my guitar, and ‘Morning Light’ just sort of poured out of me.”

About the artwork…

“I worked with an incredible artist named Lilly Mason. She listened to some rough mixes and caught the vine immediately. She had an idea for an album cover at a piano bar, lit by candle light. Me playing cards and the scene filled with deep, rich colours to feel like anything was possible. Something that would literally and metaphorically represent the title. We looked at a ton of paintings with piano bar scenes. We both loved the way that the colour red was used for the album cover of Nat King Cole’s ‘Just One Of Those Things’. That sort was the main visual inspiration. Lilly did an incredible job, but more than that a genius job because of the way she adapted the album artwork subtly for each single.”

“For the first single ‘Downward Into The Dark’ Lilly washed out all of the colours (among other little changes) to make the scene seem cold and lonely. For ‘Morning Light’ she added extra colours and literal light to give warmth and positive vibes. Then she used different fonts for each, taken from various cocktail bar menus she researched. The results blew me away. I love them all, though my favourite of the three is still the main album artwork.”