Dave Barnes: Stories to Tell

Dave Barnes’ album Stories to Tell comes out March 13, 2012. In our interview, we talk to Dave about his album, Grammy nomination and inspirations.

[By Monica Harris, photos courtesy Steven Taylor]

Q. Tell us about your experience working with John Fields.

Dave: It was crazy. John is one of the most talented human beings I’ve ever met, musically. He’s a freak show.  Plays everything and plays it all well.  The fun thing about doing the record with John was that we tried to play everything just he and I, and when we got the point that we couldn’t play something, we then hired someone. It was a really fun way to make a record, because it’s got so much of me on it, and I feel like I own this record more than I have other records before. It’s got so many more of my ideas and my playing on there. And working with someone like John who has such good pop instincts was so fun.  He’s got a way of making everything sound relevant to today, which was a huge reason I hired him.

Q. Your new album has a bit more electronic synth sounds than your previous records. What prompted the change?

Dave: That was another reason I hired John. I knew he was more into the poppy synth stuff, and I wanted to a record that sounded more updated, more relevant to today’s pop music, than I had before. I have LOVED my previous records, but I don’t feel like I’ve done a record where I was really trying to sound like today’s music, and this record is me doing that. Or as close as I can, at least! 

Q. How did you get the news you were nominated for a  Grammy (for “God Gave Me You,” performed by Blake Shelton)?

Dave: My wife and I were watching TV, something off the DVR, and my wife got a text from a friend saying “How does it feel being married to a Grammy nominee?” And she turned to me and said, “what does this mean?” to which I promptly responded, “I have no clue.”  We called her friend back and realized that I had been nominated. Needless to say, I was a LITTLE excited. Like dancing around the house laughing excited

Q. Did you always know you wanted to create music?

Dave: No – I didn’t really get bit until I was started writing songs in college, and that’s when I knew I was never gonna shake this obsession.

Q. What do you think you’d be doing if not music?

Dave: I really love making people laugh. I think I might be in LA trying to be a comedian or an actor, or writing for a TV show or something.  If I don’t create, I tend to start to shrivel up and die, so I know it would be something in the creative world!

Q. You have a lot of dates coming up. What’s your favorite thing about touring?

Dave: I love doing CD release tours, because it’s a chance to see people react to a song for the first time. I haven’t played a lot of these songs out yet, so it’s fun seeing people respond to a song the first time.  It’s also fun discovering a song on the road, the first 10 times we play something tend to be different in small ways, and it’s fun to find out how and where the song will land.

Q. When do you feel most inspired?

Dave: I tend to feel most inspired listening to new music. That always gets my mind working, hearing things for the first time.

Official site: DaveBarnes.com

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