David R. Elliott releases the album he’s always wanted to make.
On his latest release, David R. Elliott has turned up the gain, cranked the volume and let loose a collection of songs that have been filling up pages in his notebook for over six years. While fans may notice a slight shift in direction when compared to earlier recordings, Elliott feels the ten songs on Sunshine may best represent his outlook from the very start.
“It’s a departure from what people sort of know me as at the moment because of the last full-length and the solo shows I’ve been playing in the last few years. But for me personally, it’s not all that much of a departure,” said Elliott. “Some of these songs are six or seven years old. Basically this album is me seeing through a vision I’ve had since high school of making a rock and roll album.”
Elliott has always made music to best suit his situation, a circumstance that has shaped his enormous recorded output. Of the more than 20 singles, EPs and albums he has released over the past seven years, most of which were recorded by Elliott himself or with the help of a few friends, the songs rarely tip the scale towards a full-on rock album the way they do on his latest release simply because the means to go loud weren’t always available. As a result, he doesn’t believe the new music represents too much of a departure.
“I feel like some of my back catalogue is very much along these lines except recorded in minimalist ways just because that’s what I had available to me,” said Elliott. “So basically I went through seven years of writing and compiled a track list. These songs [on Sunshine] needed more than a small spot on my Bandcamp or whatever. I wanted them to get the attention they deserve from an artistic standpoint.”
Recorded at The Echo Chamber in Halifax with Charles Austin (Garrett Mason, Matt Mays, Buck 65) and Frank Lopes over the fall and winter, Sunshine offered Elliott the opportunity to try a few things he’s always wanted to try. Although he doesn’t directly credit the studio experience for shaping the sound of the album, he admits to finding freedom in the creation process.
“My direction as an artist tends to change on a dime,” he said. “As far as freedom is concerned, I feel absolute freedom when writing, and then the recording process of course is subject to financial constraints. You basically want to try your best to put that out of your mind when you’re actually recording. For this record I just wanted to play with amps and guitars and pedals and let things find themselves. I had a good crew of people working with me. I basically put things together in my head before going in the studio and allowed for things to be altered by circumstance. I don’t think it’s freer in terms of the type of music, but there was more freedom in the creation of this record just because I allowed myself to take my time and record it session by session and I waited until I was halfway through before thinking about a deadline. My previous records tend to be fast and cheap, which this one was not.”
Sunshine features appearances by many familiar East Coast musicians including Adam Mowery and Mike Trask, both of whom Elliott regularly performs with in the band, Mike Trask and the Precious Memories.
“There are people in my circle on the east coast that I think are the best,” he said, “so if I’m going in the studio I’ll think of them to come take part. Adam Mowery is always welcome on a David R. record because he’s an incredible musician and he has great ideas. And Trask of course has an incredible ear and good insight, so it made sense to mix the record with him. Charles [Austin] is the best engineer I’ve ever met and Echo Chamber is the only studio on the east coast I’m really interested in being in. I love that place.
“I had Evan Matthews drumming for me this year and his drum tones are beautiful. He’s a great guitar player so he’s on the record a fair amount, as well as Nick Laugher. I also brought in Motherhood for a tune. A lot of the work of making a record like this is finding the right people not only for the parts, but also for the vibe in the studio.”
Elliott will be touring the Maritimes in June, performing with a trio that includes Nick Laugher on bass and Fredericton musician Adam Guidry on drums.
“Nick Laugher is one of my best friends and is an all-around good dude,” said Elliott. “he is also plays in a super-cool band called Year of Glad. Adam Guidry is drumming for me. He’s in like every Fredericton band right now I think. Guidry is an immensely talented drummer and also a very enthusiastic collaborator so I’m very excited to be on the road with him for a bit.”
Sunshine will see a full release on June 4, 2015. Check listen to the first track below.
Catch David R. Elliott on tour:
June 4 // Guss Pub // Halifax, NS w/ Freemansons, River Jacks
June 5 // Taco Pica Restaurant // Saint John, NB w/ Tooth & the Fang
June 6 // The Capital Complex // Fredericton, NB w/ Kurtis Eugene
June 8 // Plan B // Moncton, NB
June 9 // House Show // Sackville, NB
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