Hailing from Nova Scotia, David Myles could be the middle point of Paul Simon and Elvis Costello. His up close and personal folk pop goes in whatever direction he feels. With the advent of his latest record Into the Sun, the song writer will be taking his unique formula around the country in 2012, which includes the Woodford Folk Festival.
Tell us in your own words what your sound is.
That’s always a bit of a hard task. But sometimes I think of my music as folk music made by someone who listens mainly to Soul, Reggae and Jazz. So it’s mainly acoustic music that has a heavy influence of soul and jazz.
Who makes up your band?
Though the size of the band does vary a bit depending on the gig, for the most part lately we’ve been rocking a trio. An upright bass, a lead guitar and I play guitar and sing. It’s acoustic and pretty heavily focused on harmonies. The guitar player is an amazing bluegrass musician so he brings a really cool thing to the songs too. We’ve played a ton together in the last few years and have been friends for even longer so I’ve been absolutely loving it.
What were your influences when you first started writing music? And what are your influences now?
I grew up playing trumpet. So my main influences were mostly jazz musicians, like Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Dizzy Gillespie, Clifford Brown. Then I got into Chet Baker. I had heard he was a great trumpet player so I got this collection of tunes where he played and sang. I got totally into it. Especially the singing. I would sing along to it over and over again and that kind of opened the door to the idea of getting into singing. Once that happened then the flood gates opened and I got into playing guitar and a ton of other types of music, particularly singer songwriters like Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, etc. I’ve been an obsessive music listener and collector for most of my life so I’m always trying to make sure I have a pretty steady stream of new stuff on the go. My biggest influences as of late, which is really apparent on my newest record, is Brazilian and West African stuff from the 60?s and 70?s. My favourites are Jorge Ben and a wonderful late guitarist and singer from Sierra Leone named S E Rogie.
What are you working on at the moment?
Because I just finished a new record I’m now in the stage of the process where I’m obsessively writing and listening to new stuff. My fascination for my writing these days has been mostly music of the 50s. I’m a huge Sam Cooke fan so I’ve been trying to tap into some of that magic in my writing. It’s always a really fun part of the process.
Do you have a procedure for writing music?
In the last few years I’ve become a bit more systematic about it. I really try to give myself time to write every day. Especially when I’m not on the road. My daily routine is to wake up pretty early and get to writing by around 8:30 or 9am. I usually drink quite a bit of coffee and write steadily until I’m starving for lunch. The hunger seems to motivate me to get something going before I take a break. A bit of a pay off for hard work. Plus that feeling of cracking into a new song is always pretty amazing.
If you could collaborate with any musician in the world, who would you collaborate with?
So hard to choose. It’s just been over the last couple years that I’ve started to really get into collaborations. I did a couple tracks with quite a successful Canadian rapper named Classified and they were a blast. I’d love to hang with Ry Cooder sometime. Nick Lowe, Paul Simon, Bill Frisell, Danger Mouse, Kanye West would all be pretty darn deadly. It’s fun to dream.
What do you think about your local Capital City’s music scene? And if you could play anywhere, where would you love to perform?
I live in the capital city of Nova Scotia, called Halifax. It’s a great city. It’s got a real do it yourself spirit and they’re are tons of bands. Some play around the world and some just play in their basements but it seems like one in three people are involved in some sort of musica project. The nice thing about the Halifax’s scene is that it’s quite diverse but not so big that the different genres are split up amongst themselves. There’s lots of intermingling between different artists which I think is awesome and really inspiring. Because I play trumpet too, it allows me to get involved in a whole bunch of other stuff too. In terms of dream gigs, I’d say in Canada, it’d have to be Massey Hall. It’s a pretty renowned historical venue in Toronto. I’ve seen a few sweet shows there in the past (Herbie Hancock, Ladysmith Black Mambazo) and it’d pretty wild to play there. I’ve heard the Sydney Opera House is pretty darn nice! Looking forward to seeing that. The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville is also a dream of mine. It’s where the Grand Ol Opry used to be. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
Seen any good bands lately?
Funny in the last two weeks I’ve seen two amazing shows. I saw Prince last week and it was definitely one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Such a legendary entertainer. He’s a real showman and gets every single person in the crowd up and into it. I loved it. He’s really got an old school approach to putting on a show that I really admired. Plus he’s an unbelievable dancer and guitar player. Highly recommended. Last night, I went to see Dr. John. Also a great show. I love that New Orleans style of playing piano and he’s got such a legendary sound. Cool to get to see and hear it live. He had a skulls on his piano, was wearing a blue silk suit and overall had a pretty darn bad ass vibe going on.
Where are you playing next?
Before heading over to Australia, I’m doing a brief tour in New Brunswick, which is the Canadian province in which I grew up. It’s a tour to benefit local food banks. I do a bunch of free shows in shopping malls and people bring non perishable food items and money to donate to the food banks. It’s the second year I’ve done it and it’s worked out really well. We made a pretty significant donation last year and I think this year will be even
better. After that I’ll take a week off just before Christmas and on Christmas eve
I board a plane and cross the pacific. I’m really looking forward to it. Though it will be a bit strange to spend the whole of Christmas day on a plane. I leave LA on Christmas eve and arrive in Sydney on Boxing Day! Then we head right up to Woodford Folk Festival for a week, then down to Melbourne and eventually Sydney. I can’t wait.