10 Questions With David Thomas Owen

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Today we have an interview with David Thomas Owen! He just released an awesome record of rocking tunes that span a wide range of rock styles that he tackles skillfully and creating a great tune through out all of the diversity. I first heard the songs almost a year ago and they still get stuck in my head on a regular basis. DTO cut his teeth on the road with Lovedrug for years and witnessed a lot, including the pains of major labels. His debut record IV was released this week on kick ass indie label Esperanza Plantation. After the jump we have an interview where he drops great knowledge and you should pay him back by checking out his tunes, since after you do you will be really glad you did.


1. What is the biggest mistake your group ever made?

Making
mistakes is easy in a band when your hyped on all your new musical
ideas you want to share with the world!  Occasionally this can lead to
a lack or for sight regarding important details such as a vocalist
asking himself…..”will I be able to pull these vocals off live?”. If
I would pick a mistake that I let slip by during the making of my
current record it would be not asking myself that question.  I tend to
get pretty excited with expressing myself vocally in the studio.  Going
for that extra note that only Jeff Buckley can pull off….. Hind sight
always being 20/20 I would have change the key of a song or two
allowing myself more room to work with the vocals live.

2. What is the smartest thing your group has ever done?

I
would have to say that the smartest thing I have done with my music as
a solo artist was pick the right label.  After a good bit of experience
with past bands I have learned that going with a big label is not the
fastest way to musical success.  The best way to ensure success for
your record is to really take your time and research each label
interested.  I was lucky enough to find one that isn’t in it for the
big money per say and is more art focused.  Someone who understands
your music is much more willing to financially support it then say a
guy with a label trying to make a quick buck off you and your band.

3. What advice can you give for a group looking to improve their live show?

In
regard to the live show. I think first and for most make it interesting
for yourself.  If your not interested in your show there is little
chance a crowd will be.  Ask yourself what you love to see in a
performance and make that a starting place.  Mean what you say.  Mean
what you play.  Leave the pretenses at home, people can see through
them.

4. What advice can you give for a group to build up a buzz?

In
my experience the first and foremost essential ingredient to building a
buzz is the music.  The music has to be great.  In these modern times
there are more ways than ever for your music to be herd.  That being
said there are ten bizillion musicians and bands plastering themselves
across the net.  If you want to stand out, your music has to be really,
really good.  If you have good music then its time to play as shows,
but not just every show.  The right shows.  Show placement is essential.

5. What is the coolest piece of gear you have come across recently?

Man,
I just picked up and old harmony acoustic for I would say the late 50′s
to 60′s.  I spotted on the side of the road while driving home from
dinner with my girlfriend.  It was a random garage sale on a busy
street and it just caught my eye.  Its a great old guitar with a
tobacco sunburst and f holes.  Real old country blues lookin’. 
Something Son House may might play.   Love it.

6. What is something you should bring on tour that most people may not think of?

My biggest “little secret” on tour that I always had with me a good set
of ear plugs.  Not just for the obvious reasons (loud bands).  For
little reasons like your stuck in a van with three other dudes you see
day in day out.  Need a break?  Toss the ear plugs in, close your eyes
and it all disappears.  And vwala, a nap.  If your lucky you’ll dream
of say….a beach in Hawaii.
    
7. Tell us something you learned from your last recording experience?

One
of the more important lessons I took with me from my last recording
experience and what I hope to apply to the next one is “Less is more”. 
I learned that creating a strong dynamic doesn’t always mean adding
more instruments.  Taking things down to the bare bones can be a strong
way to get across a strong lyrical phrase or musical moment.  I hope to
write better songs for my next record and record them a bit more
stripped down, letting the strength of the song speak for itself.

8. What is a piece of equipment you can’t live without? And Why?

Honestly
I can’t live without my Mac computer.  This thing is the alfa and the
omega of my song writing.  The program Garage Band is so intuitive and
I can spend more time capturing a magical musical moment with out
having to worry about trying to figure out how to bring up a new
track..  Plus its all in one.  But in recording program, built in mic. 
Its all I need.  That and a beer or two.

9. What is the dumbest thing you see other groups do?

Haha,
I would have to say buying a tons of musical gear, a new van and
trailer right out of the gate.  Don’t way yourselves down with tons of
debt right in the beginning.  It creates too much pressure to succeed
right from the start.  Take it slow.  Don’t stress yourself out!

10. What have you learned songwriting wise recently?

You know, I
think the main thing I have been trying to hone in on is just the
quality of the song.  I have been trying to slow myself down, really
push myself to take the time needed to make it really special and worth
listening to.

Jesse Cannon is the editor of Musformation. He produces records at his studio Cannon Found Soundation. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseCannonMusF. For more info please visit his website.