Thursday, September 07, 2006
PoPinions: DAVE STEPHENS
Dave Stephens came to me literally from out of the blue. But his new album Stories for Copper blew me away with its melodies, verve and uncanny McCartneyesque approximations. He is a great artist and I was fortunate enough to have the man himself answer a few pertinent queries...
Who are your biggest influences and why?
My biggest influences are The Beatles, Queen, Supertramp, Led Zeppelin and Billy Joel. I'm mostly influenced by music that was on in the background of my childhood which was in the late 70s and early 80s. These were really melodic years for music and this is where I draw most of my inspiration.
What is your inspiration for writing such wondeful songs?
First of all, thank you. My songs are all drawn from my experiences in life. They are all very biographical. Writing for me is like keeping a diary but more for feeling than for words. When I was a kid I used to really feel the music I listened to and appreciated the artists for it. I figured if I could put my thoughts and feelings into song, maybe someone else would get it the same way as I did as a kid.
Words or music - which comes first?
I write music first. My songs always just come from me plunking on chords and seeing if they evoke any emotion in me. My lyric writing comes from the Beatles school. I usually sing out random thoughts in melodies over the music. I find that after a while you usually stumble on something that's been going on in your life, and effecting you emotionally, and I elaborate from there.
Does co-owning a recording studio make the recording process easier or harder?
Definitely easier. I put together the studio for my day job doing sound for film, but it was a really an excuse to have the tools to record my music. I lived in Vancouver, Canada and found that it was hard to get any help funding wise to put a record together, and because I was a solo artist I didn't have anyone to split studio costs with like a band usually would. The good news is, studio equipment is fairly affordable now, so I'm lucky to have a set up that I can spend my time in crafting my work.
What's next after Stories for Copper?
It's hard to say at this point. Stories for Copper is my proudest and most personal work. It's a pretty well rounded record but is predominantly mellow and heartfelt. I'd like to keep that happening on the next record, but maybe rock out a bit more and let my Led Zeppelin and Queen influences shine through.
Review of Stories for Copper is up at www.powerofpop.com