To call my my musical tastes in middle school shameful might be a bit of an over exaggeration, but not totally out of bounds. Sure, I listened to some (key word here) solid music like Mos Def (I guess Yasiin Bey, now) and Talib Kweli (long live Black Star), but I'd also spend time listening to Keak da Sneak and Rick Boy (still kind of like him). So what I'm saying is, it wasn't necessarily the most glowing roster of listening go-tos.
Somewhere along the way, I got into bands like Arctic Monkeys and Bloc Party, embracing the indie spirit, but still maintaining an affinity (see - preference) toward terrible hip hop. Thankfully, I maintained my adoration toward Black Star and dropped the Keak da Sneaks of the world for The National, Sufjan Stevens, and Bon Iver.
Granted, I understand the aforementioned indie folk deities have negative connotations of their own, but those three acts did make an immeasurable impact upon my social life, in the sense of connecting with people almost immediately. One such person was none other than David Swick, who performs and releases (excellent) music as D. Swick.
David and I originally met through a mutual friend, and even managed to play a show or two together (Overcrest, to be specific. It comes up a few times during our conversation). All that to be said, David's music has compounded and grown over the years with increasingly complex and beguiling arrangements that are largely absent in much of Nashville's local folk scene. He released his EP Nothing to Say earlier this summer. We talk about the EP and a multitude of other things below.
N/I met with David Swick at Portland Brew in 12 South.
David – How are you?
N/I – Doing well. What have you been up to?
David – Well, this morning… Do you know this really stupid game called “Ballz?” Its an app.
N/I - Maybe?
David – Its not a good game, but its not a bad game….
N/I – A glowing endorsement.
David – [Laughs] Yeah. I opened my phone after playing it last night and it was on my high score round, so I had to keep pushing [laughs] and then I looked at the clock… Sorry.
N/I – [Laughs] Its all good.
David – What have you been doing?
N/I – Not a ton – this morning I got up, thought about going for a run and decided I’d do it later. Which will inevitably turn into some time before the evening, because I feel like I just need to do something active.
David – Yeah, and by then its going to be too hot from 2 to 3PM…
N/I – Right, at a certain point its gets dangerous…
David – It is dangerous – its really hot right now.
N/I – Too hot. Have you gotten used to it?
David – To the heat? I was thinking about that yesterday, actually. I always dread the summer – I’m a winter guy for sure. I like Fall headed into Winter the most. I was playing rocket league at a friend of mine’s house – I don’t even play that many video games but it sounds like I’ve been playing a lot of video games right now – but it was really hot in his house, and it took my about 30 minutes to realize “Oh, I’m really hot.” So that was good. I don’t know… I don’t like the heat. I don’t like to sweat. Do you like it? The humidity is awful.
N/I – Yeah, that’s what kills me. For as long as I’ve lived here, there’s a point every summer that I think…
David – You think you’re fine.
N/I – Right. Its like “I’ve finally adjusted to it, I’m good to go the rest of the way…” and lo and behold, mid-June rolls around…
David – Exactly! Its mid-June. May is incredible, its so good here, and the first half of June feels equally wonderful.
N/I – For me the barometer for the summer is whether or not Bonnaroo is insufferable, and this year, it was half and half. The first two days were great – mid seventies and cold at night, like down to fifty…
David – That’s the refresher you want.
N/I – It was great. I could wear a jean jacket at night and be fine, but then day three, day four, pretty miserable. No cloud coverage with the sun beating down on everybody.
David – You camped?
N/I – Yeah. With the media stuff, they let you camp behind Which stage, which…
David – That’s fun.
N/I – Well not literally behind it, but in the woods behind the stage. So its all covered and pretty nice, but its still hours at a time in the middle of the field when your next assignment is on the opposite side of the festival.
David – And its still not a shower out there. You probably never feel particularly right.
N/I – Right. You sweat through your clothes within the first couple hours and then think about paying the $5 to $20 for a shower. But then you’d be taking a shower every hour. So you just go ahead and accept the fact that your clothes are going to be sweaty and hope you aren’t wearing your favorite pair of pants or whatever.
David – Yeah, just don’t bring those ones to the Farm. [Laughs] It makes sense why people go shirtless.
N/I – Yeah, there’s always plenty of shirtless and altogether clothes-less folks.
David – Have you only ever gone to Bonnaroo as media?
N/I – No, I went in 2011…
David – Did you really?
N/I – Well I’m trying to think…
David – The year with Arcade Fire?
N/I – No, then it was the year after that. Beach Boys, Radiohead, Bon Iver. Bon Iver was the reason I went, because that was when Justin Vernon said there was no more…
David – No more Bon Iver.
N/I – And I was like “Well I have to see them, this is one of the last stops on their tour and who knows, it could be the last one ever!” And then Eaux Claires festival happened. So I went to that.
David – Were you there when they premiered 22, A Million in its entirety?
David – They had those?
N/I – I assume so. They fit them into their set pretty seamlessly. And then Sufjan played as well.
David – He played some stuff with The National, right?
N/I – Yeah, he also did a solo set, too. I think it was the year before Carrie & Lowell came out, but he didn’t play any of the tracks off of that.
David – He kept it a secret.
N/I – Yeah. He and Justin Vernon will sing on “I’m Afraid of Everyone…”
David – Right, and I think “Vanderlye Crybaby Geeks.”
N/I – Yeah, so they’re just a cool group of guys singing on everyone’s stuff…
David – I know! It’s the dream team.
N/I – It’d be cool to see something like that happen here outside of the realm of every country singer making a duet single.
David – Yeah. I think there’s that pocket of Brooklyn where Justin Vernon and Winn Butler [of Arcade Fire] jump into that every now and again. Then it kind of seeps into Nico Muhly when he does all the arrangements for Grizzly Bear….
N/I – And then the Dessner twins.
David – Oh yeah, and it does seep to Nashville in a couple of ways – Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner lives here, and he collaborates with Yo La Tengo all the time and we can follow that trail to Nico Muhly and the National because it’s a lot more direct, because I think Lambchop and Yo La Tengo have been on the same bill as Bryce Dessner. Then there’s The Lone Bellow, Aaron Dessner produced their last record.
N/I – That’s right! I remember that.
David – The family tree makes its way to Nashville. I’m pretty obsessed with that specific musical family tree. Like very obsessed with it [laughs].
N/I – Its like the premier tree of the Twenty-Teens. I’m reading this book Meet Me in the Bathroom, which is basically an oral history of New York’s garage scene in the early 2000s to now. It starts out with The Strokes, LCD Soundsystem, and I’ve gotten to the part where that scene you’re more into – Grizzly Bear, The National, TV on the Radio – and its really interesting to see how all of them draw their inspiration back to The Strokes. They were effectively the all-fathers of everything in that scene, to the point that everyone said “Yeah, New York bands are cool now.” But then there’s Ed Droste and Matt Berninger, who were not necessarily inherently cool dudes like Julian Casablancas was, but at the same time it provides and interesting alternative lens.
David – Definitely… The Strokes as the all-father of that scene. New York bands were always kind of cool, though.
N/I – Oh yeah, New York has always served as a hub, at the very least…
David – Though I guess Seattle did take over for a minute…
N/I – Right, Seattle, and then in the 80s it might have been LA pop with Paula Abdul and all them…
David – And then even before then in the 60s and 70s…
N/I – Its basically punk rock and folk stuff during the 70s in New York, and 60s its just kind of rock n roll…
David – And British invasion. That’s crazy. And then Jeff Mangum was in Athens - but then again, Jeff Mangum has been everywhere – he was also in Seattle the same time as Elliot Smith and Modest Mouse.
N/I – Well at the same time, while all these individual cities have their scenes, and in the meantime, the Southeast is always kind of doing its own thing, but at the same time people are cropping up here and there. I mean R.E.M was from Athens.
David – But its kind of an anomaly when that happens - like My Morning Jacket is from Louisville, but that doesn’t really make a ton of sense. Then Sam Beam [Iron & Wine] is from Florida, but then he wound up in the Carolinas? Or at least I want to say he wound up there.
N/I – Yeah, I’m not certain, but that sounds about right.
David – Maybe even like Texas for a minute? And they all have their own timeline – the Southeast. Like Texas has its own timeline.
N/I – Well in the Southeast it seems to be more individuals, while these other, more famous scenes tend to be by committee.
David – Its kind of a team effort.
N/I – Right. A collective. I’m not sure if there’s any sort of cultural distinction…
David – Maybe city versus rural?
N/I – Sure. That seems like the leading candidate.
David – Everyone’s just so much closer in a city.
N/I – I mean, you’re practically living on top of each other in certain locales.
David – That makes sense.
N/I – I hope so [laughs]. Anyway… How have you felt about everything that’s happened post-Nothing to Say?
David – I’ve felt pretty good about it. Thanks for asking me to do this by the way – it’s a really cool thing, and I’ve never done an interview, so I have no idea how to go about it.
N/I – No worries! Full disclosure, we’ve been going for roughly ten minutes now. I try to avoid the whole list of questions and here’s this, here’s that…
David – [Laughs] Okay, sweet.
N/I – I mean, I know what’s happened recently in order to avoid falling into a lull in the conversation, but ultimately we’re just having a conversation. And if you have some sort of tangential kick, feel free to dive right into it. Like if you want to talk shit about [Cowboy] Sam.
David – Well yeah dude, that’s actually what I wanted to talk about most [laughs].
N/I – This whole endeavor is actually just a smear campaign against him.
David – Cowboy Sam.
N/I – Cowboy Sam indeed. All joking aside, Sam’s carved himself quite the little corner as far as producing is concerned.
David - Oh yeah, for sure.
N/I - I was talking to a friend of mine and we both agreed that Sam’s primary strength in producing is being able to fully understand the person he’s working with’s ultimate desires, even if they don’t express them fully. I would imagine you probably experienced some of that first hand.
David - Yeah man, totally.
N/I - Was there anything you told him specifically that he just took and ran with?
David - Well for this project, I just kept sending him links to everything. We started in October… actually, [points at table] we met up at this exact table in October and talked about it. October Tooth is probably my favorite Nashville-based project - I just love what Zach and Sam do on that - and actually, I wanted to do Yo La Tengo-meets-Jeff Tweedy Americana, sort of Sufjan-y type stuff. But at the same time, I wanted something kind of drone-y. The songs were just totally different from what it wound up being, so we just took the sort of natural, intuitive right turn away from that toward what [the EP] is now. Its basically just folk songs, or indie songs with some electronic going on, some samples here and there on the drums. It was kind of more collaborative too.
N/I - Was that something you preferred or anticipated? Or was it born more so out of the process?
David - Yeah, it was definitely something that I wanted, and it was a necessary thing. One of the big reasons I wanted to work with Sam was starting at the baseline fact that he’s a drummer. That’s always the last thing I think about, so usually its an afterthought and you can feel that, and that was his first thing, every single time. I would show him the progression, what the song sounds like, and he’d be like “Alright, well let’s lay the drums down and then track to that.” I would have never thought to think of that, like normally a metronome would be fine. That wound up being really important. It was also weird throwing bands around, back and forth. Lambchop became a big reference point in December. We took a break in December and reconvened back in January, but during that break, I listened to [Lambchop’s album] FLOTUS roughly 300 times in that month. So that became pretty big. Also, Phil Elverum [Mount Eerie] was putting out some more stuff…
N/I - Right, with Mount Eerie.
David - Right, and The Microphones have always been real big for me. Mount Eerie - there’s like a 10-year gap in Phil Elverum’s career that I just have not listened to, and I need to.
N/I - Have you listened to his podcast interview with Marc Maron? On WTF?
David - No? He went on Marc Maron’s podcast?
N/I - Yeah. But I was kind of bummed - it was one of those episodes where Maron squeezes in two interviews, as opposed to one. So there are two thirty minute interviews, instead of a single hour and a half-ish long one. It was still a long interview by most standards, but it was obvious that Marc Maron didn’t really know who he was…
David - Damn.
N/I - Outside of the whole “Hey, you need to listen to this Mount Eerie record…”
David - He probably heard it and was like “Come on the show!”
N/I - Exactly. Hearing Elverum talk firsthand about The Microphones and his writing process was pretty intense. Super, super - I mean, I’m sure you’ve listened to A Crow Looked At Me, you know how heavy that record is…
David - Well just the subject matter alone is possibly the hardest thing to write about. But with The Microphones - they’re kind of punk records - he sort of distorts out acoustic guitars and all of that, but there’d be a Beach Boys sample. He samples things in the middle of these grunge portions of songs, and then [imitates Beach Boys melody] will come in right in the middle of it. Its crazy. I got to listen to that. I don’t listen to enough Marc Maron.
N/I - I don’t listen to a ton of his podcasts, but at the same time, its always cool to hear certain people, but more and more, I’m only listening to interviews with names that I recognize.
David - Oh yeah. Pete Holmes’ podcast is perfect for that too.
N/I - Definitely. Pete Holmes also turns them into 3 hour slogs, too.
David - They’re super in depth.
N/I - I first started listening to him because he was good friends with the guys on Silicon Valley…
David - Okay. That’s perfect.
N/I - But then he had some sort of falling out with them, and after that, they became friends again, and he would have them back on. So at first, Pete Holmes would interrupt so often - because they were people he knew, and it was just a conversation amongst friends - but as someone who wanted to hear…
David - The guests…
N/I - Yeah, I like Pete Holmes, TJ Miller, or Thomas Middleditch individually and I want to hear what they have to say, and its just like....
David - Pete, we hear you every episode.
N/I - Its just, “Pete, come on man.”
David - That makes sense.
N/I - I realize now - I don’t necessarily have a massive journalistic background - but Pete Holmes, The Nerdist podcasts, and WTF have all informed my preference for interviews, which is conversational, like this. You research, but you don’t necessarily have to come in with a list of questions.
David - Way more casual. Way more go-with-the-flow. It feels like you hit the bullets that they have - and maybe their notes are in front of them, maybe they’re in their head - but it goes as long as it needs to, without getting old.
N/I - Exactly. You go with whatever thought forms within your head and then you just go with it until it reaches its natural end.
David - And honestly, those bullets points are pretty meaningless anyway. Like the Matt Berninger episode [of Pete Holmes], it was almost two hours, and then at the end they had to talk about the record… or no, it was the movie.
N/I - That’s right.
David - Mistaken for Strangers.
N/I - I really liked Pete Holmes’ interview with Glen Hansard.
David - I haven’t heard that. I bet its really cool. That’s a deep guy.
N/I - He’s a really deep guy, and he’s super funny, too…. Well, I guess that’s the Pete Holmes podcast tangent.
David - [Laughs] Sorry.
N/I - No, its all good. That’s what I’d hope would happen. Anyway, with Lambchop and Phil Elverum. Is it Elverum?
David - E-L-V-E-R-U-M.
N/I - Its a Norwegian name, right?
David - I have no idea. I follow him on Twitter. He’ll respond to your DMs, by the way. Like real fast.
N/I - Really? That’s kind of weird? But its cool, too.
David - Its cool. A lot of people respond to your DMs, man.
N/I - Oh yeah, I’ve learned that with photography.
David - That’s right! What you’re doing is effectively all cold calling over the Internet.
N/I - Pretty much.
David - Its crazy. It makes everything feel so much more connected.
N/I - So you DM’ed Phil?
David - Yeah, I had a class last year - my symposium for my senior year - it was religion for the arts. One of the projects was to interview someone in the career that you’d want to be in, and see if they’d do an interview with you and whatever. So I just kind of found the emails of a bunch of people I looked up to musically. So I DM’ed Nico Muhly, Phil Elverum, Sarah Kirkland Snider, and a few other people in that mix between indie songwriters and classical composers who do a lot of cross collaboration.
N/I - Contemporary composers, classical type stuff.
David - Right. Nico had just done that album with Sufjan [Stevens] and Bryce [Dessner], so I ended up doing the interview with Nico, actually. It was so fun. But Phil got back to me real fast, and was like “Yeah, hit me up here,” and I was already in the trenches with Nico - which now, I feel like the jerk.
N/I - No, its funny. Its one of those things where I would assume you’re kind of going in guarded, thinking you’re probably not going to get anybody, then all of a sudden you get Nico and Phil, and all of a sudden you have a glut of people to interview.
David - I was just like “Wow!” I thought “Maybe I should just do this for the heck of it.” I didn’t do that, because I was in the midst of my final semester of college. Maybe he’ll hit me up again. I’m afraid if I hit him up again he’d be like, “Oh this is that guy that never responded to me.”
N/I - You could start a new account.
David - I’ve literally thought about making a new email address.
N/I - That’s awesome. So with Nico, you talked to him about wanting to do what he does with composition? What did you guys talk about?
David - I wanted to talk to him about collaboration, specifically. He also does a lot of work with religious composition. In classical music, you can’t get away from the history, which is the church. Most of the music was written for the church, originally, before it moved into the symphonies. I didn’t realize it before I started interviewing him, but I noticed he had a lot of choral works that were “En Masses” and things like that, so I asked him “What is it like to write religious works in this context? What pressures do you feel?” And then I had all these questions about collaboration, just basic things, because I’m always curious to learn what people’s approaches are when it comes to collaboration. He had a brilliant answer when it came to that - its logical and it does make sense - just bring about fifty percent of an idea, but don’t finish it. Be ready to finish it, and have an idea, but don’t bring in any more or any less than fifty percent of an idea. Be prepared. That’s been huge. So we just talked about - I think I tried too hard to get idealistic about music.
N/I - How so?
David - I asked him “How can you write under a deadline and want to make something beautiful, but at the same time, if you don’t believe in the project - I didn’t know he was Anglican [laughs], he’s like a very devout Anglican - so if you’re writing all this religious music and you don’t believe in that project, what do you need to do in order for that to work?” Obviously, your name and your reputation matters, but besides that. To which he replied, “Well, other than the fact that I’m devoutly Anglican” - which he said in kind words, and a very beautiful way - he talked about music as a utility. Music serves a function the same way a handle serves a function - he actually challenged me to not get so idealistic with it - and he just said it serves the congregation to unite. It is beautiful, and it should serve the text, but really its serving the congregation. You look at it that way when you’re looking at hymns and things like that. Anyway… This is pretty tangent-y… but it was just really cool to hear his thoughts, and I was working on a piece for that symposium. It was an instrumental piece, and he gave me some feedback. Its cool when people you look up to are willing to do that stuff. It doesn’t happen that often.
N/I - Well most people don’t even get the opportunity to do that, at all.
David - Its crazy. Its crazy. Also, it was just the best example of how to treat other people. Its just unreal.
N/I - Absolutely.... So it sounds like collaboration is a pretty big thru-line for you. Or at the very least, an interest, or a reference point that you like to zero in on and know intimately. Do you do that and let the project go from there?
David - I feel like I do it, but I have no idea how to do it. That’s why I’m so curious about it. I asked so many questions because I don’t really get it, and I’m not necessarily good at it, but I don’t think there hasn’t been a single project that I’ve done that hasn’t been collaborative. There was one, and it was fine, but it wasn’t… there were other voices on that. It wouldn’t have been the same. That’s the reason for collaboration. The more the merrier.
N/I - Sure. You almost always wind up with a better…
David - You always do.
N/I - I don’t want to say “product,” but finished “thing.” Result.
David - The work is better in this realm when there’s more DNA on it with a lot of things. Laura Epling is someone that I work with on literally…
N/I - She’s on a lot of your stuff.
David - Almost everything - even Radial [Conservatory] stuff, she’s on that too.
N/I - How did you guys meet?
David - Do you know Natalie Mays? She plays cello. She did some Overcrest stuff too, back in the day. She and I had a freshman seminar together, and she played cello and I just moved here. I had her track on a few things and then I was looking for a violin player and I didn’t know anyone. This was five or six months of me living here and I was just like “Gosh.” There were some other people in my class that tracked violin - he was super nice - but he just didn’t fit. So Natalie was like “Hey, there’s this girl named Laura,” and we met up for an Overcrest show - which I think was the first time we met up - and I guess we’ve just been playing together for four and a half years now.
N/I - So its pretty seamless at this point.
David - Yeah. We can knock out stuff pretty fast.
N/I - So I assume she recorded on Nothing to Say?
David - She did all the arrangements for that. I used to - I think it was a prior issue - I used to want to do all the arrangements for everything, just to say that I did it, and also practice it, in order to be self-sufficient. But at the same time, she’s just so freaking good. She knew the songs really well - we played them together for a couple years. So she did all of those arrangements in a few days and brought them over and recorded them. She did the cello arrangements, too. She did all that.
N/I - So - forgive me - arranging in general - outside of the chord structure of the song - everything besides that is pretty foreign to me. Is that something that you’ve been doing for a long time?
David - Its something I’ve tried to do. Usually it ends up being me just singing the notes to somebody. I have a terrible relationship with notation. I don’t know, arrangements can look really different, all the time. So I’ve been trying to do it for a while, but in this situation it was just that Laura is so good, she was bound to do it best. Nick Byrd played bass on a song or two.
N/I - I figure that’s part of the Cowboy Sam package.
David - That’s definitely the package. We did a new song last week that [Nick] has this rocking bass part on.
N/I - That’s what Sam said - that you guys are recording again, already.
David - Yeah. We actually already mastered that one.
N/I - Just a single?
David - Yeah. We’re going to probably put it out in August or September.
N/I - So, once again, it sounds highly collaborative, but you didn’t anticipate it to turn out that way?
David - Oh, I’m sorry. I guess I never answered that before.
N/I - Oh, no worries whatsoever.
David - No, I did anticipate it to be highly collaborative, because I guess there’s no other way than to do that when there’s two people in a room. I think there’s the relationship between artist and producer where the artist is like “I want this, this, and this,” and the producer is like “Okay, sure.” It didn’t really work that way. I think because Sam and I had never worked together before, so I would give him ideas of what I felt like the beat should be, and then he would put something in and we’d work on it, or I would leave and he’d have free reign to just do whatever he wants with it. I’d come back and he’d be like “Trust me.” It was always really good. That happened in a really big way this past week.
N/I - How so?
David - There’s this falsetto vocal run that goes for twenty seconds and there’s this bassline under it that felt good, but I thought I wanted to retake the vocal, and Sam was like “David, you’re not going to want to retake that vocal. Come over.” So I came over, and he had blasted AutoTune over it. It wasn’t the worst vocal, but it was kind of weird, and not necessarily my favorite vocal, but then it became the most beautiful thing. The AutoTune was just perfect. You’ll hear it soon. It becomes a dance jam super fast. Its like a dance jam in 5/4 [time signature].
N/I - Did you ever expect the song to end up like that?
David - I kind of expected it to end up like “Laminated Cat,” like Jeff Tweedy. But I like this version a lot better. So that’s what’s cool about it, collaboration.
N/I - Exactly. Goes in one way and comes out the other almost completely unrecognizable, but for the better.
David - Another fascinating thing about that is that sometimes I’ll go into a feedback loop about something that I think should go in here or there, but there’s a point where you have to realize its a different thing at this point. When you’re working with someone else, you don’t have time to focus on your original idea, because you’re constantly thinking “What should we add now, or what should we cut.” Its two heads - he’s going somewhere that I’m not. As well as I can explain the original idea, I can’t explain it fully - because there’s colors and images that go with it too. Its just so much more fun and unexpected. I’ve never been frustrated by not having the original idea. At least not with Sam [laughs].
N/I - Yeah, its inevitable to at some point to become frustrated or at an impasse with something creative.
David - Usually I’m more frustrated when I’m the only one working towards an idea. I think with someone else, there’s the justification that’s out there when you realize that there’s another person working on it and you come to realize quicker that the change is pretty cool. While other ideas exist, it doesn’t matter as much. Its a new thing now.
N/I - Its like a divestment of ownership, so the more that happens, the more I think someone is inclined to think “Okay, its part mine, part hers, part his.” You just become accustomed to it. Whereas doing it alone makes things purely a labor, rather than a labor of love.
David - You’re either fixing it or throwing it away. What also helps with that, almost every song I write is envisioned as an acoustic song first, so its in that realm and I’m thinking about how its going to expand, maybe, but I don’t have a full vision of what that’s going to look like finished. So maybe this comes back to bringing in fifty percent. So maybe the song isn’t expanded and I can have fun with that and I can have an acoustic version of that on my own. That’s what I do for most of them. And I like it that way, too. I think that helps as well. That might be a good reason why I’m not upset, because I have my live version that’s just me and then I have the ones I love.
N/I - If all else fails, you’ll always have your solo acoustic versions.
David - I think that’s been important to work toward self-sufficiency in my performance. I always feel like its more interesting when there’s two or three people at least. I’ve always been kind of bored with that solo guy with an acoustic guitar, unless its Jeff Tweedy.
N/I - Right, unless you’re Sufjan, Jeff Tweedy.
David - Then its like “Please, just you.” But that’s why I could never do solo shows at places like Overcrest. I always brought people with me. Its just cooler. Its better in my mind.
N/I - Oh yeah, I understand. There are benefits to both, but as far as knowing this is a thing that most people might not have become familiar with yet, it might help to present it in a more bolstered package, for lack of a better term.
David - Yeah. I said “cooler,” and I don’t actually mean “cooler,” I just mean that I’m more comfortable presenting my stuff that way. Some people can really pull that stuff off. I think performing with more people is sometimes more of a crutch for me. I totally can do it, but at the same time, the songs breathe a little better. But the bolstered package - there are more melodies that go along with that.
N/I - Especially with you - your arrangements and your compositions, there’s a lot that’s going on - not like “a lot” in the sense that there’s too much…
David - Well, there is a lot going on, sometimes.
N/I - A lot in the sense that it brings a listener to return to the music. If I listen to Nothing to Say a thousand times and I see that you’re playing a show, part of the reason I want to see the show is to see where the string arrangement translates live. Because you can’t necessarily have four or five players all the time, and its interesting if someone is unfamiliar to see you with just Laura. I want to see what her chops are like.
David - Yeah, for sure. They never disappoint. Her chops are always on point.
N/I - Right. So you have the single, do you have anything else coming up?
David - We’re trying to cut like another five or six songs in August. This project was supposed to be five songs. We started tracking six or seven songs, but as we went on, it just became obvious that these are the three that fit the best, so we did those. For this next one, we’re trying to do six or seven songs. I don’t know if I’ll stretch it out or just put it out at once. I don’t want to do an album yet.
N/I - When would you feel comfortable doing an album?
David - Maybe next year, honestly. Not far out or anything. I just get overwhelmed by big goals like that, so smaller goals of just getting ten songs out before the end of the year feels way better than writing eleven songs now and putting them all out together. Because that’s really writing twenty songs and whittling them away. There’s also financial things. It takes a lot to put out something properly. I would hate to put in all that work and for Sam and Trevor Richardson to put in all that work with mastering only for me to do a lousy job putting it out is terrible. That’s one thing that I’m pleased with, “Poster Child” got into more hands than a lot of things that I do get into, which feels good. Anyway, so I try to put in as much time as I can into that side of things.
N/I - It sounds like you want to do right by yourself and the project, but almost more so, do right by the people who were involved.
David - Definitely, definitely. And obviously, I’d love to be on the road doing stuff, so it doesn’t help anybody if I’m just like “Well, let’s go ahead and post it on Bandcamp and let it go.” Because it won’t get to where it deserves to be without that stuff.