INTERVIEW: Davis & The Love

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

–  I’ve been good, all things considered.  Lucky enough to be healthy and keeping to social distancing.  I’m also trying to stay busy by learning the piano, staying creative, and catching up with old friends and family.

Can you talk to us more about your single “Song For You”?

–  It’s a couple different things for me.  Not only is it my love song to music, and fans of music, but I also wanted it to be a shoulder to cry on when things get tough.  Hopefully, it’s something that people find uplifting when they’re going through a rough spot in life, or played when they want to celebrate getting through something difficult.

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

– I wouldn’t say any one event in particular.  I’m inspired every time I hear a great song, or any time I’m doing a performance that resonates with people.  There is a healing power in songs and the way it can change our moods, and I just wanted to write a song with the purpose of doing that.  The world can be overwhelming sometimes, even before this crisis which just adds to it infinitely.  We all deal with expectations and pressure, money worries, personal failures, body issues, anxiety, the obsession with social media, and I just wanted to write a song to let people know that they are good enough and that there is always someone there to listen. I also wanted to celebrate music and the power of the song.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

–  The video was very spontaneous and a little crazy because we shot the New York footage in February, about three weeks before the coronavirus and we were in a packed Times Square, so to see pictures now where it’s empty is surreal, and we felt we needed to put that footage in to remind ourselves of what we will eventually get back to.  The Nashville footage was shot the day before a tornado ravaged the city, so it really gave that footage and the message in the song a deeper meaning.  The last piece was going throught live performance footage because I wanted to show how much joy I get from playing and the energy and affect that music has on a crowd.  I wanted it to be real and honest to not only show the large performances and big stages, but also the shows in the bar scene and where I’ve came from.

The single comes off your new album Future Retro Love Story – what’s the story behind the title?

– Well, the Future Retro part is there because I wanted to put something out that had a retro feel to reflect my love of Motown and soul music, but have the songs still fit into the modern pop landscape.  It has elements of 80’s pop, some 90’s hip hop influences, a touch of EDM, and a lot of soul.  Also, in the future, my album will be considered retro, so it just sounded like a cool way to put it. The love story is reflected in the songs and how they are ordered on the album to have a narrative throughout, going through the process of falling in love and what comes along with it; the doubts, the fears, the passion, the acceptance, and the selflessness that comes along with it.  There are two love stories happening at once.  The obvious literal love story between two people, but also my love story with music and all of the influences that continue to inspire me to this day.

How was the recording and writing process?

– It came together really fast.  Jordan Hawley, who did the majority of the production had just finished his Northside Collective studio with his brother Matt, in the basement of his house.  When I went to check it out, he had a lot of tracks that fit the vibe of what I wanted to do, and we just immediately started working.  The lyrics and hooks just flooded out.  It felt like everything that I had done before musically, had led up to this album and this moment, and there was a real cathartic feeling when we were finished.  I was also lucky enough to have some really great relationships with some uber-talented musicians who I was fortunate enough to collaborate with and they came in to add their own flavor to some of the songs.

What role does Indianapolis play in your music?

 Indianapolis is my hometown and where music really became a big part of my life.  I had a group called The Franchize that had some success and really led me to believe that there was a place for me in music.  My Mom and Dad are there as well, so I go up as much as I can to visit, which hadn’t been much around the time that I went up.  But, I was looking for time away to figure out what I wanted to do next, and there’s something about being home that allows you to really reconnect with who you are and where you came from.  I also have a lot of friends there that are really supportive and that’s how Jordan and I started working.  He had been a friend and a fan of some of my other projects and I didn’t even know that he had been producing music.  But, he had a catalogue of great stuff and understood who I was as an artist and it just clicked.

What is it about the 80s and Motown sound that you found fascinating?

Well, the 80’s to me had the perfect fusion of the analog and digital world coming together.  There were still a lot of live instruments, but also heavy synth and electronic drums.  Some great pop songs were written in that decade and there was just such a great energy about it.  With Motown, it’s just how incredible and timeless the sound is.  It’s extremely raw and soulful and honest.  It also just shows how great love songs can be for the soul, and still be stuff that you can play at parties, as well.  The music is so uplifting, even though it was made during such a dark period in our history as a nation.  But it really brought people together and that still resonates to this day.  It’s timeless and will be around forever.  Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder will be up there throughout musical history with Mozart and Beethoven.

What aspect of love did you get to explore on this record?

All different aspects and kinds of love.  Love for your significant other, love of self, the love of the journey, and the love affair that I have with music and as a fan of music.   Also the things that come along with love like regret, rejection, and heartache.  But, the most important theme is the celebration of love.

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

Every day life experience.  Bill Withers had a great line that said “I write about whatever I’m able to understand and feel,” and I really think that was the approach to this record.  It’s personal, but also wanted it to be able to resonate with people because heartache, passion, love, jealousy, pain, and healing are emotions that affect all people and hopefully there is a song on this record for any mood, and that you walk away after listening to it feeling better than you did going into it.

Any plans to hit the road?

I absolutely cannot wait to hit the road.  I was gigging three or four nights a week before this, and I miss it terribly.  I definitely prefer the stage to the studio, although I love them both.  But I’m a performer, and I love the immediate feedback from a live performance, the interaction with the crowd, as well as the improvisation and the passion that comes with performing.  It’s what I live for.  So, when this is all over, I’m definitely going to hit the road as I think we will need music to heal and it will be important for us as a society to come together and be together when it’s safe.  Human beings need and long for connection to one another, and music will play an important role in bringing that back.  I look forward to playing a part in that when it’s time.

What else is happening next in Davis & The Love’s world?

I’m just going to keep exploring my sound and trying to make good music.  I’m really trying to get my chops up on piano as well, because I don’t want to ever be stuck in a moment where I can’t create or share a song with the world.  It’s too good of a feeling.  And, as long as there are people to reach with music, I’ll keep going.

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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