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INTERVIEW: Dave Giles

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

Not too bad thanks, it’s been a pretty crazy 18 months to be honest.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Taken Too Soon”?

It’s the first single from my new album ‘Tennessee and 48th’ which will be released on November 2nd. I recorded the album in January in Nashville, Tennessee and to be honest I can’t wait to get it out for people to hear it all. I know I’m supposed to say it’s the best thing I’ve ever released, but it really is, to the point where I’m considering taking all my back catalogue offline! I wanted to go to Nashville to record to celebrate my 10th anniversary of being a full time musician, so did some crowd funding through my website and raised £25,000 to make the album from my small group of loyal supporters.

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

It’s about a girl called Kayleigh. I met her in January 2011 when I was supporting a band called Ivyrise on their UK tour. In 2012 she became part of a group of people that I’d invite to join me on road trips to gigs if I had a one-off date in a city where I intended on driving there and back in a day. As a result we became good friends and she must have seen me perform over 40 times. In March 2015 I got a phone call saying that she’d dropped down dead at work, aged 21. Her family asked me to sing at the funeral and it was all terribly tragic. She was also to the right of the stage as I looked out and always singing along with a smile on her face. No parent should have to bury their child and 21 is too young for a girl so full of life.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

There is a lyric video featuring some clips of us practicing and performing the song in the studio and a few other clips that will be online soon.

The single comes off your new album Tennessee & 48th – what’s the story behind the title?

I was originally going to call the album “Just Another No One In Nashville” – which is a line from track 5 on the album. I liked this idea because a singer/songwriter going to Nashville to record is like an actor/actress going to Hollywood to get a job. It’s a bit of a cliché and I was trying to be a little bit light hearted about that. When we started to record, it felt insincere to call the record that. The musicians were just incredible and were making me sound so good, I felt that it was doing them a disservice for the album to be called that. I was standing outside the studio (Welcome to 1979) with the bass player, Adam Kury (of Candlebox fame), and he asked me what I wanted to call the album, I told him my idea but said that it didn’t feel right anymore. He looked up and saw the street sign on the corner where the studio was and said, “there’s your album title, Tennessee and 48th.” It just felt perfect, so I made sure I got some good photos.

How was the recording and writing process?

The writing process was pretty crazy. I’d been fundraising to go to Nashville since April 2017 and got to November and it was all booked for January 2018, but at that point I didn’t have any songs. I had a list of things that I wanted to write about and I’d been brainstorming those topics over the course of the year. I decided that I wanted to write about 20 songs in order to choose the best 10-12 for the album. I knew that if I wrote 20 songs on my own in that short space of time that there probably wouldn’t be enough musical variety so I arranged some co-write sessions with some friends who I think are incredible and they helped pull the songs out of me. It was a wonderfully creative two months.

What role did Nashville play in the music of this album?

Well I truly believe that something magical happened when we were in the studio. I was going over there and spending all this money on people I didn’t know and who didn’t know me. There was no guarantee that it would be any good despite the money, but I got lucky when I choose my producer Dean Dichoso. He was recommended to me by a friend and once we agreed to work together he put everything in place. We spoke about the kind of album I wanted to make (like something that Ryan Adams would make but with an English accent was the basic gist), and he found the studio and musicians to suit that based on the budget we had. He knew exactly what he was doing, and the studio more than delivered. Recording to tape meant we had to make choices earlier in the process than more people who record digitally do, so that definitely shaped the recordings. It was also -14oC when I arrived and was snowing. Nashville hadn’t experienced that kind of cold for years, so there was something different going on in the air. I’m not sure if it was the cold or the fact that we all got on so well or that the all happened to really like what we were doing, but every single person that was hired did so much more than they were paid to do, and they were offering to do it rather than me pushing my luck.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

I like to write from a personal perspective. The open track ‘Child Again’ is about my Nan who had dementia. Shoebox is about my parents clearing out their loft and making me go through all the stuff I’d left there when I moved out. Whiskey and Daffodils is a love song which was me playing with the idea of “life is what happens when you’re too busy making other plans.” ‘Devil In A Green Dress’ is a weed song. A lot of my favourite Americana artists have songs about a girl called Mary Jane and I wanted to do that, but then I got told that Mary Jane is slang for weed, so it’s about temptation and how easy it is to let something control your life. ‘Just Another Know One’ is about how I much I love doing what I do, and how grateful I am to those who inspire me. ‘The Last Man On The Moon;’ Is about an astronaut called Gene Cernan who is currently the last person to have stepped on the Moon. He died in January 2017 and there’s a great documentary about him on Netflix called ‘The Last Man On The Moon’ which I can’t recommend highly enough. ‘Who I Wanna Be’ is about self discovery and awareness. ‘No One Knows’ is a song about an ex girlfriend of mine who cheated on me, and I’m examining whether I had some part in the blame for that occurring. And finally ‘Demons’ is a shout out to all those people who I’ve met through doing this job that are going through tough times.

Any plans to hit the road?

Most definitely. Starting with the album launch gigs. I made friends for life in Nashville and the musicians all offered to fly over to play the album launch gigs and amazingly I’ve made it happen. We have a 4 gigs the week of the release. 6th November at The Windmill in Brixon, 7th in Rough Trade in Nottingham, 8th at Night and Day Café in Manchester and the 9th is sold out, but it’s at The Monarch in Camden. Then in the new year I’ll be doing another UK tour (solo this time), and I’m currently booking up a tour to Germany and considering a few things further afield.

What else is happening next in Dave Giles’ world?

I’ve managed to find the time to go on a couple of dates, is that what you meant? I’m so inspired by this album and what we achieved that I’m really just looking forward to getting it out and start touring it. The extra belief I have in myself and these songs as a result of everyone going the extra mile has really put a spring in my step. I’m already planning the next album and I can assure you that it’s going to be an even bigger achievement if I can pull it off.

Listen to Taken Too Soon on soundcloud here now

Find Dave Giles at facebook.com/davejgilesmusic, on Twitter at @davejgiles and at instagram.com/davejgiles now.

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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