MEB Editor Maria Gironas got a chance to chat with California singer-songwriter, David Rosales, about his upcoming music, influences, and the California coast.
Maria Gironas: How did you get started in playing music and can you name a couple influences you have?
Dvid Rosales: How I was introduced to music was very similar to how I received clothing growing up… it was all hand-me-down. I’m the youngest in a large family, so I was pretty much surrounded by whatever my parents and older siblings were listening to in the house, be it Jazz with Benny Goodman, Country with Anne Murray, Blues with Freddie King or Hard Rock with Guns n’ Roses. When I was 11, my grandfather sent me a dusty old nylon-acoustic guitar he had picked up in a North Dakota barn . It was love at first sight. I still have that guitar to this day.
MG: Tell us about your record release coming up, what was the process like?
DR: I’m very excited to share these songs with everyone. I feel like I’ve grown and refined my songwriting with each release I’ve put out. It’s always exciting to birth new music into the world. This collection is very much a reflection of me and my songwriting style in that it’s got a little bit of everything… Country, Blues, Folk, Rock. When I began writing material for this EP last year, I didn’t censor what I wrote. I would sit in a quiet room with a pen, paper and my guitar. I would take any idea as far as it would go in one sitting and usually come out with a song. Some songs were good, some weren’t. But, I am a firm believer in the process. Often times crap songs will lead you to great ones. It’s just trusting the process and being in the moment when I write and then giving myself some room to breathe when listening back. Normally, I’d record some home demos and then go into the studio for a listening session of those demos with whomever was working on the album with me. This time, to change things up, I initially went into the studio with the Producers, Matt [Grundy] and Paul [Clark], and did a live run-through of all the potential songs. We could all tell very easily what was connecting and vibe’ing well with the energy of everyone in the room. There were no filters, just a guitar and a voice.
MG: Can you describe a particular track that was more difficult to write than the rest?
DR: Amélie’s Song, took a bit more time. It’s written in an untraditional popular song format. It doesn’t follow the… verse, chorus, verse, chorus template. It builds throughout. It’s a little dramatic. Listening to the beginning, you’d have no idea that it ends where it does. It begins in this open country and ends in this uptempo folk-punk pub. It has a very special place in my heart. The lyric and melody are based off of a lullaby I’d sing to my daughter at night.
MG: Describe each track in one word.
DR: Too Young to Know Better… Dreamy
Slice of Heaven… UpBeat
Not Playing to Lose… Alt
Amélie’s Song… Cinematic
Strike Gold… Roller
Crashing Down… Groovy
MG: How has your life in California influenced your music?
DR: It’s hard not to be influenced by the sun, surf and melting pot of cultures. It’s been part of my life since I was born. I suppose It’s like having an accent or something. You don’t realize you have one until you leave the accent area and people begin to bring your attention to it. I have this California lifestyle accent in my music I’ve heard. I may write a country ballad, but it’ll sound like a California country ballad. I don’t know what it is exactly, but it’s there, it’s a vibe.
MG: How does your work in David and Olivia compare to your solo work? Differences and similarities.
DR: When I wrote for D&O, I wrote with two singers in mind and stayed pretty much in Country format. This new collection is a bit more encompassing of that entire American roots pie and is written for a solo. I went to different spot with my voice on some of these new songs that I hadn’t ever been to before. Each time I go into the studio it’s a period of growth. It’s exciting and keeps things fresh. I’m thankful that I don’t keep writing the same song over and over again.
MG: When you are not playing music, what do you enjoy doing?
DR: I am either with my family, surfing, watching sports or with friends having a couple cold ones.
MG: If there was anyone you could collab with, who would it be?
DR: Oh, it changes everyday… Today it’d either be Afie Jurvanen or Norah Jones. Some days it’s James Hetfield.
MG: Is there a full album in the works or something you’d like to pursue?
DR: I’m always writing bits and pieces here and there throughout the year. I usually, sit down and really hash out ideas in the Fall. Over the past three years I’ve been in the studio and released a collection every year. It’s been fun and I’ve seen marked growth in my songwriting. It’s like yearbook too. It’s fun to see what I was up to that year. I hope to continue this trend come winter time. I’ve had an itching for a bit more distortion.
MG: Besides your EP, what else is coming up with you and your music?
DR: I’m headed out to Canada and the U.S. Northeast for a run of dates at the end of this month. I’m excited to check out the Canadian folk scene. I’ll be doing another run of full band dates up the U.S. West coast. There are talks of the CMJ music festival in NYC this fall as well.