An Interview With The Canadian Rock Revival Folk Artist, DAVID MYLES On His Forthcoming First Fully Electric Album, ‘Real Love’!
Posted On 25 Jan 2018
Meet the Canadian rock revival, folk artist, David Myles, whose first fully-electric album, Real Love, comes out tomorrow (1/26).
Juno Award-winning Canadian artist David Myles’ new video for his single “Look At Me” premieres at The Big Takeover, who describes it as, “jauntily upbeat.” The video was shot at Joshua Tree National Park in California and features Myles performing in his patent leather shoes and bolo tie. See the post HERE and watch/share the video HERE.
Earlier, the album’s first single “Real Love” debuted at Magnet Magazine, who proclaims, “Break out your boogie shoes.” Of the album Myles says, “It’s a record I’ve always wanted to make…a danceable, fun record that harkens back to the early days of rock ‘n roll.”
The 13-track LP marks Myles’ tenth album and his second full-length U.S. release. Written entirely by Myles and produced by Daniel Ledwell, Real Love is a departure from his previous record in that it is fully electric. It features members of his touring trio—Kyle Cunjak on bass and Allan Jeffries on guitar—plus Joshua Van Tassel on drums and additional vocals by Mahalia and Reeny Smith.
Drawing from American roots music, Real Love mixes full-bodied arrangements and dance rhythms with classic rock ‘n’ roll structures. It follows 2015’s So Far, which All Music described as “a smooth, sophisticated collection of tracks,” and about which No Depression noted, “[Myles’] low-key, unassuming style ingratiates him from the first notes forward.”
Myles’ sound traverses musical time periods and genres, crisscrossing folk, roots, pop, jazz and country. His embrace of varied styles and tastes has resulted in numerous collaborations—most recently, with hip hop star Classified, Grammy Award-winner Alex Cuba and Quebec’s Jean Francois Brault. His collaboration with Classified, “Inner Ninja,” netted a Juno Award (Canada’s equivalent of the Grammy) for Rap Recording of the Year in 2013 and stands as the best-selling rap single in Canadian history.
A native of New Brunswick, Myles was brought up practicing Canada’s Royal Conservatory repertoire on trumpet. After earning a political science degree and briefly pursuing politics, Myles deviated. During his third year in college he bought a $30 plywood guitar while studying Chinese abroad and changed course from law school to music. Since then he has recorded ten albums, accumulated numerous accolades in his home country and built a dedicated live following where, in addition to his songwriting and musicianship, he is widely recognized for his signature suits and animated stage presence.
Learn more about David Myles in the following All Access interview:
Happy New Year! Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you?
Happy New Year to you too. I’m home in Halifax right now. Enjoying some downtime with my family (I have two kids) after a super busy fall of touring across Canada.
Overall, how do you think 2017 was for you and your music career? What are you most excited about for this year? Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions? Care to share them with us?
2017 was a big year for me. I released “Real Love” in Canada and toured it across Canada playing most of the major markets with a full band and a bigger show than I was usually tour with. It was a blast and went over really well.
That being said, it’s nice to roll into 2018. I love marking a new year. I always get into the idea of taking a second to reevaluate my goals and kind of press restart with each new year. So yeah, resolutions play a big part of that. This year, I’ve committed to playing more piano (I’ve always been guitar player and trumpet player primarily), improving my computer skills (I’ve always been a bit of luddite and have always preferred writing with my guitar) and lastly I’m going to try and be more patient. Learning new things takes time but it’s important and worthwhile.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? Was there a time where you thought of doing something completely different?
I kind of secretly always dreamed of being a musician. I remember thinking very early on that I must like music more than anyone else cause it felt almost overpowering. There was a ton of music in my house. I have three older brothers and everyone played music. We had two pianos in the house at one point—it was crazy. My dad directed musicals, we all played in school band and did Royal Conservatory. So I was surrounded by music from an early age. That being said, I never really thought it was a realistic career path. Coming from a smaller city, I knew very few people that did it as a career, and most importantly, my parents were totally against it. So I was just always obsessed with music but figured I’d have to keep it a hobby. I went to university, studied politics, worked in politics briefly, was about to go to law school when I decided to jump ship and give music a shot. I had been writing songs and decided to make my first record. Unfortunately for my parents, after putting that out, I was hooked it. It went well enough for me to make another and I’ve been pretty much growing my career since (been about 14 years now!).
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city or town has influenced them as an artist now. So how do you think your home has affected you and your music today?
I’m from Fredericton, New Brunswick. It’s a beautiful small city of about 60,000 people. It was a great place to grow up. There were enough great musicians around to be inspired at an early age and it has a great festival that brought in big acts every year. I was super into jazz from about the age of 13 so I got the chance to see and meet some great acts that really inspired me. I also spent a ton of time at the public library, which had a huge jazz collection that really blew my mind. That was a huge influence.
Let’s talk about your new album, “Real Love” that will be released at the end of this month. What was it like putting this collection together? Why now did you decide to make a fully-electric album? How did the making of this album compare to anything else you have released? Did anything surprise you about the overall process? Were there any unexpected challenges?
I’m so excited to release this record in the US! This was such a fun record to make. Over the last number of years I’ve been totally into that sweet spot where country music was starting to turn towards Rock n Roll, artists like Don Gibson, Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison. I wanted to make a record that had that kind of energy. Electrified, danceable but also really melodic and sung. I wanted to croon a bit (like I’ve always enjoyed) but wanted to amp it up and see what we could create. I wrote these songs with the band in mind (with whom I’ve been touring for years) and with the live show in mind. So when it came time to record it actually felt really natural. We were all having a blast playing the songs so it was really quite a great experience overall. I hope that joy of playing comes across on the record, and I think it does.
How is this the record that you have always wanted to make? How does it compare to the 9 other albums that you have released? What was it like recording it with your touring trio?
I always wanted to make a record that really played to our strengths as a band. Alan Jeffries, the guitar player is an amazing country bluegrass player and both he and Kyle Cunjak (who plays bass) are great singers. Most of the touring we do is just the three of us and singing together is a big part of the show. I wanted to write stuff that really took, got into the vocal arrangements in kind of a classic pop kind of way. It’s funny because it’s certainly a throw back kind of record but I really wanted to make it feel like a pop record in many ways. Almost like as if Elvis made a record in Motown.
How do you think your already released single “Real Love” prepares listeners for the rest of this forthcoming collection? What was it like making the video for it? How creatively involved were you with that process?
I felt like Real Love was a good example of what I was just talking about. A song that has a throw back vibe but ultimately feels kind of modern in many ways. It’s also really danceable. That was something I always wanted to do. I wanted to make people dance. But I wanted to find a way of doing so that was unique and didn’t sound like what people are dancing to these days! That was kind of the inspiration for the video. Honestly, that was shot over two takes. We had the background set up from taking the cover shot for the album and as we were taking the photos I was getting looser and looser and dancing more and more. So when we were done with the photos we decided to just run the song a couple times, film the whole thing and I would just go for it as hard I could. It was hilarious. But I was trying to stay dead serious the whole time. I actually love dancing and I figured it was time to let it out, even if I may not be a the best dancer by any means. As I’ve been saying lately, we can’t leave dancing to the pros. Everyone deserves to dance.
Through all of these albums, I am curious to know if what motivates you to make music year after year has transformed at all?
It’s always changing but at the heart of it is my fascination with music. I’m still obsessed with it. I’ve always loved the musicological element to being a songwriter. I really let my ear go where it wants and follow that. So if I’m super into Brazilian stuff like Jorge Ben, I’ll let myself explore songs that have that feeling to me. Or if it’s Don Gibson and Roy Orbison, I’ll go down that road. And each time, I learn something about songs, the energy of music and it’s power. It’s endlessly fascinating for me. That’s what keeps me going.
We are living in a crazy and at times rough world right now so I am curious how you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today? How do you think that new music being created today is going to reflect these difficult times?
For me, music has been an escape from politics. It always felt like something bigger. Like it had the power to unify people beyond anything politics could ever do. I love politics. I read the news everyday. I used to work in politics. I get frustrated and sick of the bad news just like every one else but music has always been a place of hope for me. A place that can transcend that. That’s what got me into it in the first place. Now I see it as being more important than ever to try and bring people together and enjoy themselves in a common space. That, beyond anything else, is what I kind of see as my purpose as a musician, and entertainer.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
Miles Davis was probably my first real musical hero and through his work I’ve been led to so many other artists that sustain me. I read at one point that Miles loved “Red Headed Stranger” by Willie Nelson so I checked it out. That changed my life and ever since Willie has been one of my main inspirations. I love artists that were prolific and changed throughout their career. Duke Ellington is a huge inspiration for me. These are artists that were always searching and taking their fans on for the ride. I love that.
What do you hope your fans take away from your music? Do you find that a lot of your music has a greater meaning behind it?
I certainly hope it does. If anything I try to reflect some sort of optimism. I want to talk about personal, human stories more than general political questions in my songs. I also want to try and talk about the things that unify us. I try and sing about the things we all share rather than the things that divide us. Call it idealistic maybe but that’s just who I am and music needs to be reflection of who you are or it’s not of much good I reckon.