Dave Barnes Talks "Stories To Tell"
Mon, 12 Mar 2012 14:17:40
Dave Barnes has got a lot to say on his brand new album Stories to Tell, available March 13, 2012.
He tells a myriad of unforgettable tales via irresistible, infectious harmonies and vivid, vibrant lyrics. With a John Mayer-style bounce and hyper-catchiness a la Maroon 5, Barnes has made an undeniable pop rock record that'll stay imprinted in your head like all of the best do.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Dave Barnes talks Stories to Tell and so much more.
Did you have one overarching vision for Stories to Tell?
I think it's the first time I've written a record like this. Before, I would write after I was inspired by something. Sometimes, that would be a Stevie Wonder song and the next thing I'd be inspired by would be Needtobreathe or OneRepublic. All of a sudden, the record can take this really interesting shape with those kinds of inspirations. This album was the first time I tried to write to a pretty similar arc. I tried not to deviate too much from a pop sensibility because I knew I was going to be working John Fields, who produced the record. It made sense to me to try to write along those lines. That may be why there's cohesion because it's the first time I've ever done that.
Is there a thematic thread?
Well, there are a couple of themes which I hope are distinguishable. A couple of them are more buried. My wife and I had our first child about three months ago. The reason I called the record Stories to Tell was the "Carpe Diem" theme that our life is about to change remains present. I wrote the album about six months before we had our little boy. I was trying to say we should really enjoy this season while we can. It's sort of the ending of one chapter and the beginning of another awesome one. Have we ended it well or tied it up in a bow? That's one of the themes. Then there's the excitement of having a child.
What's the story behind "One Of Us?"
We didn't know if the baby was going to be a boy or a girl. We waited to find out. The mystery was in front of us. That song was so fun to write because it was a huge question mark. That's where the song comes from. We were welcoming the baby into who we are and the way we are—the quirks good and bad. I always try to end albums with a poignant piece of music. "One Of Us" seemed to be the best for that. I didn't want that in the middle of the record. If you do follow the arc of us knowing we're having a baby, ending the record with "One Of Us" follows the theme. It made sense to put it at the end.
Where do you cull inspiration?
It's funny. 98 percent of my writing is inspired by other music. Maybe 2 percent is that conversation you have with somebody, a movie you see, or a book. Yesterday, for example, I was online listening to music. After hearing two things, I wrote a song last night. It's proof that nothing seems to be as compelling as music is.
If you were to compare Stories to Tell to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
Look at you with that question [Laughs]. Wow, what a great question. This record is by far the most poppy of records I've done. I think it sounds the most contemporary. It's a little bit of everything. It's definitely fun. There are some of those comedic sensibilities there. Maybe it's more action adventure than albums I've done before. It's more upbeat. It'd be like Transformers 3 [Laughs].
Are you excited for Stories to Tell?