hmv.com talks to D/C @ The Great Escape
We caught up with rising star D/C ahead of his show at Brighton's Komedia at the Great Escape to chat about writing for his first album and how studying in America helped shape his music...
So where are you up to with the debut album, have you started recording it yet?
"Well, I’ve spent the whole of the last year just writing material for it, I’ve got nearly 70 songs. I’m still kind searching for those crisp singles, you know? But yeah, it’s been good, I’ve got plenty of stuff there, now we’ve just got to put it all together and make it sound like a whole thing, give it an identity. It’s too easy to just follow someone else’s path, you’ve got to do your own thing."
What artists have been an influence on you? You mentioned earlier you’re a fan of D’Angelo…
"Yeah, I grew up listening to people like D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Anthony Hamilton, that kind of stuff. But also I was pretty big into the UK Garage scene when that came around. That cover of DJ Luck and MC Neat that Kimberly Anne did earlier just brought back floods of memories of being drunk in a field, playing it off a phone!
"I also listened to a lot of jazz growing up, so I loved people like Dizzy Gillespie. I was classically trained on the piano, classical and jazz. When I started producing it was when James Blake was coming through, he had this really fresh sound and it just clicked with me. I wouldn’t say he’s an influence exactly, in terms of style, but I was definitely inspired to try and create something fresh like that of my own.
"I went to university in America which also proved a big influence on me, I was in Portland, Oregon. It’s the trendiest town around. Musically there’s so much going on, the indie scene is incredible and I did so many internships in studios and stuff, working with a lot of house artists. That was a good education for me."
You play all the instruments on your records, don’t you? Even all the strings?
"Yeah, exactly. I play cello on there along with everything else. There’s additional guitars from my guitarist Patrick as well, he brings a little something extra. I was in a choir as a kid too! You wouldn’t know it, I know… little cherub, can you imagine?!"
Have you got an album title yet?
"Not yet, but I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately actually. The word ‘distraction’ keeps floating around my head so I might do something it with that. I think it’s mainly because when I’m writing I completely go into a zone, no distractions. I don’t sit at a piano usually, I’ll just be in complete silence kind of humming a tune to myself in my head, that’s usually where it starts."
What has it been like working with Cam Blackwood as a producer?
"He’s been amazing, he really brings out the best in me. if he hears something good he knows straight away and gets me to focus on it. It’s been incredible, and sonically he just knows how to get the right sound for me. I mean, I produce a lot of my own stuff, but he’s really helping me take it to the next level."
He said he was having to rein in your drum fills…
"Haha! Yeah that’s true actually, I keep wanting to throw in these really funky things all over the place so he keeps me in check, keeps me focussed on doing the simple things better. I always have to tone down the jazz chords!"
What’s the rest of 2014 got in store for you?
"Well the album probably won’t be out until early next year sometime, but I’ve got a new single called ‘Trouble’ coming out in July that I’ve done with Audio Monsters, it’s on a kind of old school garage vibe. Then I’m going around doing some of the festivals, but I’m focussing on writing for the album."