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INTERVIEW: D. A. Stern

Hi David, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thanks for having me, I’m doing great!  Gearing up for a residency at Little Joy here in Los Angeles and excited that baseball season is upon us.

Can you talk to us more about your song “Am I Ever On Your Mind?”?

Yeah, it’s pretty straightforward lyrically.  Just someone wondering whether somebody else still thinks about them.  Musically, I’m kind of proud of it because I think it’s as catchy a pop song as I’ve written but it’s in 7/4.  I know it might be kind of lame to feel that way, but a lot of people don’t seem to recognize that it’s in an odd time signature, which means I did a good job.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

Nope, it’s one of those songs where I had the title line as placeholder words that just sounded right and then built the rest of the lyrics around that theme.  I didn’t write it specifically related to romance either, it’s just a general feeling about anybody who may not be around for you anymore.  I maintain that there are no love songs on the album, though I can see how this one reads that way.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Yes!  The ball has starting rolling in that area, albeit slowly.

The single comes off your new album Aloha Hola – what’s the story behind the title?

Bear with me, here.  I’m really into words and puzzles and stuff like that.  Scrabble, whatever.  I don’t remember when the phrase came to me but it appealed to me because it’s a palindrome with two words that share a meaning.  Having moved to a new city and this being my debut album… titling it with two words that can mean “hello” seemed appropriate.  Also, “hola” is very appropriate for Los Angeles.

How was the recording and writing process?

The writing was pretty smooth, especially because, it being my first album and all, I technically had forever to write it.  Recording was a different story.  I did all the tracking myself over a period of several months and got pretty obsessive.  It certainly wasn’t the healthiest period mentally speaking but you can’t make the latkes without putting ‘em on the flame.

What roles do Mel and Albert Brooks play on your music?

They don’t have a direct influence on the sound or lyrics, but I really look up to filmmakers and comedians like that who have a distinct voice and persistence.  They create their own worlds and rules and then occupy them with whatever fulfills their vision of concept.  I find that inspiring in ways that other people’s music can’t be for me for whatever reason and I’d like to create my own worlds, so to speak, on the records I make.  Scharpling and Wurster are also hugely important to me in this area.  Of course, it helps that I can relate to the Brooks-es from a Jewish cultural perspective, whatever that might mean, and some kind of predisposition for appreciating their brands of surreal updated borscht-belt infused humor.  Nature and nurture, I suppose.

How has LA influenced you as an artist?

I’m not sure it has, but I also didn’t move for music.  I moved to LA after tracking down the world’s foremost backgammon guru out here.  It took some detective work and convincing but studying under his tutelage has thus proven effective.  My back-game still needs some work but my holding-game is untouchable.  The gammon scene here is incredible.

Any plans to hit the road?

No specific plans at the moment but there are still eleven Major League Baseball stadiums that I haven’t seen yet so I’ll try to plan around that.

What else is happening next in D.A. Stern’s world?

I have to flip the latkes.

Listen here

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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