Fredericton native David Myles may be a little more chipper than his usual self these days. Already arguably one of the friendliest musicians to hail from Atlantic Canada, Myles has a lot to smile about these days.
He has a brand-new record set to drop on Tuesday, just two days before his performance at La Caserne in the Dieppe Arts & Culture Centre on Thursday.
In The Nighttime is an ambitious double-disc undertaking, one disc of which is rooted in Myles’ well documented blend of folk and pop. The second disc is a six-song EP of contemporary pop produced by his hip-hop pal and multi-platinum selling artist Classified.
While the pairing between a romantic pop singer-songwriter and a hip-hop star might seem like a 21st century Odd Couple, there is a deep respect and collaborative spirit at the heart of the friendship between Myles and Classified.
That spirit has no doubt played a part in their song “Inner Ninja” which won the Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year last month. Appearing on Classified’s latest self-titled record, Myles part in the youngster-empowering anthem is a key one and perhaps one of the best examples of how well the duo works together.
“‘Inner Ninja’ being such a huge hit has been such a great surprise,” Myles said from his Halifax-area home last week. “It has definitely been an unbelievable trip, especially because the song keeps growing and is not stopping. As a songwriter, it’s a dream come true to have a big hit like this. You just want to stop, sit back and take it all in; I’ve been pinching myself quite a lot lately.”
Myles says that when he and Classified were writing and recording the song, his intuition told him that the duo was onto something great. Asked how he feels that his biggest hit to date is in the hip-hop realm, Myles express genuine gratitude that he even has a hit to talk about.
“I did feel that it was something special. Both of us knew that if people understood the whole premise of the song and realized that our intention regarding the song was authentic, it could be something a little musically different for both of us that could still work.
“I have always been very open with my musical interests. I didn’t know that I would ever have a hit, let alone guess that my first Juno would be for a rap recording. It is just something that is working and so I have embraced it. If the hook in a song is good enough, I am not going to worry about following the rules of traditional songwriting. I have spent a lot of my career trying to master the verse-chorus-verse style of songwriting because I love it. But this song has helped changed the way that I think about music and how I write,” Myles says.
Of course, Myles is no one-trick pony. A dynamic and charismatic live performer, all aspects of Myles’ personality shine through on In The Nighttime. Recorded in Toronto this past December with producer Aaron Davis, Myles says that he feels the record is a more than fine representation of where he is at as an artist.
“Making my new record was a tremendous experience. It was really about as ideal as it gets when you’re playing with other musicians. You go into the studio hoping that everyone is comfortable with one another and that you’ll get the best performances from them as a result of that. I feel it is important to give people some general direction but ultimately let the musicians do their own thing.”
While In The Nighttime is a wonderful addition to Myles catalogue, one of the surprising aspects of it is the inclusion of the second disc of primarily pop-oriented material. Admittedly, it is not the type of material that you might expect to hear from him, but it is something that works for him and works rather well at that.
He says that the idea to package In The Nighttime as a double-disc pack was a decision that came fairly late in the game.
“After ‘Inner Ninja’ was completed, Classified and I never really stopped working together and so we made this EP of six songs together. I had wondered what to do with the EP as I wanted to get these songs released but didn’t necessarily want to wait to release them either.
“So I made the decision to embrace the chaos and not worry about the marketing of the record. In The Nighttime is an authentic snapshot of where I am at in this moment of time. And really, that is every artist’s dream, to be able to show people where they are both artistically and musically. It might not have seemed quite as real if I packaged these two discs separately.”