Interview with Drew Davies : "Buy music! Spend your money on it or watch it all fade away."

After the EP "We Need To Talk" Drew Davies is releasing this month his long-awaited eponymous debut album. On this occasion, we went to meet the British songwriter.


Hello Drew. For the record, I discovered you with the release of the single "Mrs Taylor", it was last year and I loved it. This month is therefore releasing your new album. Can you introduce yourself, tell us about yourself and your journey for French fans who don't know you yet? 

Hi everyone, I’m a musician from the north of England who is living and performing in the south of England. I’ve played in bands and toured all over the UK and Europe, recording in world class studios and playing in infamous toilet venues; now I am primarily focused on releasing my own solo music.




It seems to me that your musical roots are primarily family? But what was the trigger, which led you to really get into music, to say to yourself "that's what I want to do". 

I remember doing a covers gig when I was back at university, we were playing some rock and roll and the crowd was really getting into it, I remember sitting outside afterwards and realizing that was what I wanted to do with my life; also the standard 9-5 never appealed to me, I wanted to be a pirate and getting in adventures, so the life of a musician as I saw it appealed, little did I know!

Was there a decisive meeting in your artistic life?

At one point I was very ill and it was uncertain whether I would be able to recover. At that time I had a chance encounter with Gregg Allman and spent a few days with him around his barbican residency; it was refreshing to hear his stories and how he had battled through adversity. Whilst it was only for a few days I felt a good energy from him and he encouraged me to persist, so I did…

In your songs, it seems there is a bit old school touch, from the 80s, as if it had influenced you in work. Am I mistaken or is that part of your influences in the world of music? I am thinking in particular of Bowie.

I love the 80s, I always have. Especially soft pop rock or dad rock from the time. I think it was growing up in my dad’s car and the warmness I got from listening to bands like Eurythmics, Queen, Genesis etc. I was very into Scott Walker when I wrote and recorded a lot of this album, who also influenced Bowie an awful amount. Of course I love David Bowie too and given I also have a Baritone voice I think people pick out similarities. There is some Andalusian cadences in my music too and I think that can sometimes present a reference to his later work. But I have many influences and I feel my second album is far removed from this first.

Buy music – spend your money on it or watch it all fade away says Drew Davies



Do you have other influences, artists with whom you have a musical proximity?

I’m very into quite a few ‘newer’ artists, Alex Cameron, One True Pairing and Sharon Van Etten. As a kid I loved Queen and Van Halen and I think that Hard Pop/Rock sensibility will come out the more I release. I also love ambient music like Brian Eno, Vangelis – honestly too many influences to list.


Can you tell us about your writing process, how a single is made, where your ideas come from. I have the impression that there are very personal songs, as if you deliver your states of souls, I think among other things of "Mrs Taylor", "Who We Are" or "X and Y". Is this the case and can you tell us about it?

Yes a number of these songs are tremendously personal, especially Mrs Taylor and Who We Are, Come on Within also actually…The process is me writing the song at home and then once it’s developed going into the studio and working with a team to get the best arrangement together for the piece. Mark Anderson was essential on this for this album as he filled in all the blanks I’d left in my rudimentary guitar ideas. Most good songs come to from the chords as this often sets the tone, from there words and melody tend to flow out of me very quickly.






Do you have specific themes that touch you and that you want to address in your songs? Maybe in your future work?

I noticed heart ache and love playing a big part in the songs I am writing right now – I went through some changes a year ago and this has played out in some darker and heavier material.

For this album, you gathered a team around you, I think of the mixing by Steve Honest (Oasis, Eurythmics) and the mastering by John Webber (David Bowie, Super Furry Animals), and even Alicia Light who intervenes on the bass . How was the recording, the conception? Was it important to have them by your side to bring this album to fruition? 

I made this record this way through a network of friends, me and Alicia were playing together in another project and I played her some of these songs. She suggested I contact Mark Anderson to come in and help record the guitars and we did a few days and tracked half of the album in demo form, these demos actually became the album. Luka was in another project and very kindly came in and laid down the drums. I had written the keys, arrangements and song at home so brought these in for the guys to work around.

Regarding the slightly vintage sound that characterizes most of your titles, do you also draw it from your material, do you have old school instruments?

This record was made very old school, all vintage guitars, amps and drums. We recorded most of it in whole takes, just fixing parts where the wheels fall off. It was also mixed very fast, each track in just 4 hours with Steve which is super quick. So there wasn’t too much presiding, I wanted to get the songs and work done and just put a record out there so I could kickstart this solo work.

If you were offered to collaborate with an artist on a project, Who would it be and why?

I love the lyricism of both Alex Cameron and respect Alex Turner, either would be a dream especially Turner. From a legends point of view the list is too long, I’d love to see Mark Lanegan or Iggy Pop work.

Buy music – spend your money on it or watch it all fade away says Drew Davies



What feedback do you have from your fans regarding your music?

I’ve enjoyed it most when people connect with the meanings, it’s a very warm record with a big heart so I like it when people connect with that. It’s also very satisfying when people like the crooning singing because I come from a more extreme background.

How do you see the future after covid-19, now that we're coming out of containment? Do you think it will change the music industry in the long term, I'm thinking of live performances? In your opinion, has this situation also changed relations with the public?

I don’t have a clue! I think we’ve seen huge changes and I’m sure this is going to have knock on effects for years. I certainly miss playing live and will do an album launch gig as soon as it is safe. I think both artists and crowds will think twice about the close proximities and keep their distance for a while.

How did you experience this almost anti-social period? Many have lived badly, in solitude, without real social connections. Did it give you musical ideas, did that affect your writing, with new writing themes? Or a different look to the world we live in?

Honestly I’ve been boxed up in my flat, thankfully I’ve had some company but you can really find yourself climbing the walls. I’ve had days where 4pm comes and I’ve half lost it and it feels surreal to just walk outside! I’ve 2/3 songs I’m quite excited by during this lockdown period but the themes have centered mainly on frustration which I think is stemming from the lockdown – I’m finding myself quite philosophical to it all if I’m honest.





Traditionally, we have a series of « profiling » questions ==> Your cult film or series?

I do love Kill Bill and it’s nearing cult status. Honourable mentions to The Outlaw Josey Wales.


Your cult soundtrack?

Blade Runner - Vangelis

Your cult album?

Physical Graffiti – Led Zep

Your bedside book right now or that you recommend?

Right now – American Gods (Neil Gaiman) / Recommend Consider Phlebas by Iain M Banks.

A painting, work of art, photography, architecture that marked you?

Still Life, Fast Moving - Dali

Still Life, Fast Moving - Dali


A musical novelty that you just heard and that you recommend to us?

I’ve got massively into the Cocteau Twins recently, Heaven or Las Vegas

A personality from the past or the present that you dream of meeting?

Genghis Khan?! Ha I’m not sure, 

If you had a time machine, where would you go to take a look?

I think 1950’s Americana always fascinated me, a consequence of growing up in the time of Back to the Future…

It's almost the last question: Is there a project or thing we haven't talked about that you want to talk about?

I have some exciting things in the pipeline for 2021 but let’s see what comes together…My vinyl, BUY MY VINYL ALBUM (please) and support new musicx

We end with the question « The End »!  Do you have any advice for new generations to change society?

Buy music – spend your money on it or watch it all fade away.

A message for your French fans?

À tout le monde

À tous mes amis

Je vous aime

Je dois partir

 

Sorry had to quote Megadeth - restez en sécurité et aimez-vous tous x


What can we wish you for the future? A new album? New collaborations?

New album and new collaborations, I’m working on it all. Thank you for the time to talk ☺


Thank you for your answers !

And while waiting for the next album, we find the first opus by Drew Davies.





Drew Davies
1st Album Drew Davies
Label: AD1


For more info :

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