Posted On 02 Nov 2016
David Bradford, known as D. S. Bradford is a very promising musician that just released an EP called Elemental Evolution (Sugo Music Group/Sony).
He is currently in the midst of producing the music video for his next single “A Call To The Stars II: A Home In The Sky”, which is a song about coming together as one people. It is a very real and relevant subject these days and the idea for the video is, while other footage and performance bits are going on, a wide range of different types of people will hold up the lyrics in different shots, in essence letting them speak the song with their presence. His friend and X-Factor contestant Vino Alan and Josh Eppard from Coheed And Cambria have volunteered to be apart of this video.
Follow David here:
Learn more about David in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Now that we are entering the fall of 2016, what are some words you would use to describe this year? What have been some of the highlights for you and your music?
Hi, thanks for having me! This year is certainly moving very quickly, that’s for sure. Some words I’d use to describe this year: enlightening, joyful, evolving…and busy! The biggest highlight for me is the release of ‘Elemental Evolution’ and its reception. It isn’t always easy to get a project off the ground and there was a lot of hard work put into every aspect. I learned a lot along the way and I’m happy that everything came out the way it did. Another highlight is the addition of Jon Sheairs into the fold. He’s a brilliant guitarist and writer and came on after the album had been released, in which I performed all of the instruments. I’m excited to see how the music will take shape having his input in future songs and records. I am also looking forward to continuing to develop the soundtrack for Saga Of Lucimia, which is an MMORPG that is currently in development.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
I think I’ve always wanted to be involved with music in some capacity for as long as I can remember. My parents are singers, my uncle has had a band for decades – and he gave me my first guitar 21 years ago. I was surrounded by it and it’s in my being. So, a combination of genetics and environmental circumstances kind of dictated I would be doing something with music. I had no idea I would be writing songs or composing music for a video game, or any of that. None of it was forced on me, either. I see now that it’s the way I best express everything going on inside of me, even things that channel through me. Writing songs is exciting and I love to create.
This may sound a little goofy to some people, but I can recall having a “band playset” kind of toy where there was a battery-powered plastic microphone – with a stand, very high-tech stuff, a key-tar, and a little drum set. I was probably six or seven when I got it and I remember performing for my grandparents and family. It was probably awful, but they encouraged me. When I got a real guitar at 12, I had no clue what to do with it. Nirvana was big at the time and I watched their videos on MTV. I wanted to learn how to do THAT. I kept at it and here we are.
Let’s talk about your just released EP, “Elemental Evolution.” Where did the inspiration for this collection come from? How long did it take to put together?
A lot of things inspired the story and the music. I took time off from music back in 2010, just to gain some perspective on my life and make some changes. When I started writing again, the first song that came about was “Oceans”. It was meant to be a single, but it spurred a creative flow that resulted in a story. The whole feel of the EP is an exploratory journey of the human existence and finding our place in the world, becoming peaceful and tolerant towards one another – which is something that I and I’m sure a vast majority of people strive for in a world in which we’ve become used to seeing terrible events. I wanted to create something that might inspire a positive state of mind to those who listen, using my own experiences of personal struggles with addiction in the past, becoming a father, and our achievements in history to resonate and connect with people.
The title track was kind of a surreal experience because the lyrics came to me so powerfully in the middle of the night that they woke me up out of my sleep. I know that sounds crazy, but it was so powerful that it was at that point the decision was made to call the EP ‘Elemental Evolution’ and everything that I was writing became clear to me. The rest of the album came together rather quickly and was recorded and mixed in about a month. All in all, it took about two years to finish the EP, once everything took shape. I illustrated the cover and the art portraying each song, as well.
What has it been like creating your recent music video, “A Call To The Stars II: A Home In The Sky”? I’m curious to know more about the musicians that have been helping you along the way.
In the spirit of what the song is about, I wanted to create a visual presentation that illustrates how we would ideally evolve as a society tolerant of one another’s differences and to not be afraid of those differences. It is something so fundamental, yet we’ve had such a struggle throughout our history and to this day. I’m not naive enough to believe that what I am doing will singularly change the world or people’s views, but it’s more about awareness and sharing what I want to see this world become, the place that my son is growing up in. I have a responsibility as an artist and as a parent to be an example and role model. The premise of the video is set in the future, with elements of the present. With surreal imagery and special effects that bring the artwork within the album to life, performance sequences, and the most important part – the people within the video holding the lyrics to the song as kind of a silent statement – the video is about all of us together. The production is very much a process with coordinating so many aspects and getting volunteers from every demographic, but it has been worthwhile so far and people have been very supportive.
I’ve also had the great fortune of having support and participation of two incredible musicians that I look up to.
Vino Alan was a contestant on X-Factor and is a brilliant songwriter and vocalist. We connected over our shared fandom of System Of A Down and it developed from there. I’ve done artwork for him and he volunteered to be one of the people to hold lyric lines in the video. He’s currently raising funds to go on tour to share music with people in recovery from substance addiction. Josh Eppard is the drummer for my favorite band, Coheed And Cambria. I made a video that he ended up using to announce the release of Red Light Juliet 3, for his hip hop project Weerd Science. He is also going to appear in the video. I’m incredibly grateful to them for their support and it’s amazing to me that they even considered being a part of it. All of these elements will make for a really dynamic video and I’m excited for its outcome.
I think this is the one of the hardest businesses to be in, but it is also fun. I don’t think anything really surprised me because I’ve always known that it takes really hard work to even get a chance for music to be heard these days. I think persistence and getting better at your craft are some of the keys to success. Maybe the only thing that surprised me is how vast the network is and how open people are, especially independent artists. I’ve met so many talented people and it’s been a joy!
What do you think has been your biggest challenge? And what do you think has come really naturally to you?
I touched on it a little bit in the previous question, but I’ll just say that – when I was just starting out – connecting with people on a higher level and trying to get my message across. I had music out before this album and I don’t play any of that anymore. When I took time off from performing and writing, I really took a deep look at who I really am. At the time, I guess I was just trying to find myself and how can anyone really relate to you if you can’t relate to yourself, right? I’m happy that I did that because when I came back with a whole new outlook, that’s when the true understanding came about and true connections were made. Staying true to yourself is something that is serious. I was always afraid of what people thought of me and I was kind of an introvert when it came to social situations. I used the stage to kind of break myself of that fear and, in the process, became comfortable with who I am and who I’ve evolved into as a person, a writer, and performer. Writing songs and playing guitar – that’s the fun and easy part to me. It’s facing my fears that really was the challenge and where the real growth took place.
Who are some of your favorite artists and what bands continue to inspire you and your music? Who would you love to work with in the future?
I have a few that I could never stop listening to. My primary favorite, and most inspirational, band is Coheed And Cambria. Their music is so transcendental and larger than life. I’ve never heard anything like them. Other bands like Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Incubus, System Of A Down – have all inspired me as a songwriter and guitarist.
As far as a collaboration, I would love to do a song with Vino Alan, have Josh Eppard play drums on one of my songs, or rap on a track, and co-write a classical piece with Serj Tankian. Those are all people that I respect and admire as people and for their talent.
I’ve been inspired a lot by Tankian’s orchestral music and if it weren’t for him, I may not have considered trying my hand at composing music for media. His encouraging words and the words of his manager really gave me the confidence to really explore different ways to think creatively and express myself in more ways than just rock music.
When you aren’t performing, working in the studio, what do you like to do for fun? How do you unwind from it all?
I’m always doing something with music or being creative, whether it’s writing or composing, drawing, photography, videography, designing websites for clients, graphic design – whatever I can do to keep my mind sharp, I do. First and foremost, I’m a dad and I’m engaged to a wonderful and supportive woman, my son’s mom. My son is three and at a very entertaining and active age. I could never imagine my life without him. I enjoy teaching him new things and being a goofball with him. Whenever I have a rough day, he reminds me what life is really about. I have a purpose because of him. Besides family time, I enjoy a good documentary or stand-up comedy special.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
When all is said and done, I just want people to have a good time listening to my music. Whether it’s a song with a good rhythm, or if the lyrics resonate with the listener, or the subject matter makes you think about the world around us, or even if the songs remind you of your own experiences, there’s something for everyone. I hope that listeners can really feel the message behind the concepts in this album.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
I’d just like to add that if anyone is reading this and wants to be a part of the video project, reach out to me on Twitter: @DSBradford, or contact me on my website. I’m always open for discussing music or anything, really. I love hearing people’s stories.