One on One: David Myles’ Inner Food Ninja

July 18, 2013
...

If you don’t instantly recognize David Myles‘ name, you probably will recognize his voice from “Inner Ninja,” his hit collaboration with rapper and fellow Nova Scotian, Classified. David is a cool crooner with an affection for danceable beats — this dual identity is perfectly exemplified on his latest album In the Nighttime, which features a full disc of old-school vocal pop accompanied by an EP of party tunes produced by his buddy Classified.

Like any classy gentleman, David appreciates a great meal and savors the pleasures that come with really good food. I chatted with him a couple of weeks back about how he needs to eat before shows to keep his voice healthy plus the luxury of unhurried eating.

In your press material, you describe your new double album as being one disc for a dinner party with the second for a dance party. If the first disc’s dinner party were to actually happen, what would you serve?

I think of my music, especially with the dinner party record, being a classy affair, so it would be a sit-down dinner more than a stand-up party meal. It’s probably a multi-course relaxed meal rather than a thrown-together type thing. I don’t think it needs to be directly related to the music, because that would be a limiting experience. It would be a long meal, not too rushed. I really like meals that are drawn out.

I lived in Belgium for a year in high school and every Sunday we would have a meal that would go from about 11 o’clock to about seven at night. It was the most epic dining experience ever and it would be weekly with this family. It was just a really slow eating experience with some breaks and then you’d have a really big meal in the afternoon and then there’d be dessert and more wine and it was just amazing. Even now we take our time when we eat. My wife comes from a Swiss family in the Italian part of Switzerland and I love the way they pace their meals and eat simple, real food. It’s almost like farmer food.

Do you explore food much while you’re on tour?

I always go out of my way to eat the best that I can. If I’m in the Southern States I will go out for barbeque. Anywhere in the States I’ll go out for Mexican because the Mexican in the states is generally so much better than anything we have here. Almost every city there has a really good Mexican restaurant. If I’m in Alberta I’ll go for a steak and when I’m out here I’ll eat seafood. It is hard sometimes on the road if you’re driving, especially at lunchtime because that’s when you’re kind of stuck on the side of the road at truck stop type places. But it’s good to make the experience about more than just the driving and the playing. When you have a really good meal it can change the dynamic of a day. It can really lift everyone’s spirits before you play a show.

Do you find you play a better show if you have a really good meal beforehand?

Yeah, but timing is important. The key is that you’re done the meal at least an hour before you go onstage. That’s vital. Probably more important than the quality of the meal is the timing of the meal. You just don’t want to be full when you’re trying to sing, it’s a bad feeling. And I don’t generally eat red meat before a show, it’s just hard to digest. I don’t like eating cream based pastas — alfredo sauce is no good. And ice cream is the worst thing ever. It just makes your mouth all sticky and it’s not a great place to be when you’re singing.

When you’re collaborating with other musicians do you break bread with them?

I’m not a huge drinker, so after a show I’ll often eat again instead of sitting around having drinks with the band. The meal is the most social time of day for me. With my band it’s a big part of what we do.

If I’m in the studio I’ll often bring my own food because I have fairly particular tastes. I don’t eat bread, so I can’t rely on a lot of options that are readily available like pizza and sandwiches. People make fun of me because I always have a little lunch bag with me.

I think musicians used to have reputations for eating terribly, but things seem to be improving…

Oh yeah, the musicians I know are picky when it comes to food, almost hilariously so. A lot of my friends who are into music are also food people. Jill Barber is a great friend of mine and she’s really into food. And so is Joel Plaskett. We all have similar tastes when it comes to good food. It’s a nice way to socialize too.

***

David will be playing shows across Canada throughout the summer and fall — check the tour section of his website to see when he’ll be in a town near you. While I wanted to add a video of one of his solo songs (because they’re all pretty great), I can’t resist the urge to give you the video for “Inner Ninja.” It’s just so damned catchy.

by Elizabeth Chorney-Booth, Rolling Spoon