David Shayne Q&A

If you've been hanging around, maybe reading some of my modest appraisals, you'll remember I offered some impressions of David Shayne's music. To recap, the four tracks he's released are instantly accessible, pop music filled with the grief of relationships living on the tipping point. A feeling we can all relate to.

Now that I've become invested in his music, it was time to learn a bit about the person behind the music.  When David appeared in my Twitter followers list (a small enough number that I notice comings and goings), I listened to and enjoyed his work, and then had to know a bit about him.  Only natural, right?  Know the artist then understand the songs has always been a belief.  Anyway, his bio was spartan, maybe we can say economical here, just his name and a description of his music -- sulky noise.  It was if he dropped a CD at my door, rang the doorbell and ran, testing the waters.  I'm glad I answered the door.      

Since I couldn't find much about David, this weekend I reached out concerning a Q&A session and he agreed.  Before we jump into David's Q&A session, I want add to my earlier sentiments.  David's best gifts are his harmonic voice, as evident on the emotionally conflicted track Rust, and he exhibits an enviable trait many singer-songwriters would love to own -- the ability to report his misery from the darkness with undeniable clarity.

And now it's high time we found out a bit about David, here's what he had to say:

Who is David Shayne and how long have you been making music? Did you grow up in a musical family?

I was born in Redondo Beach, California and raised in Orange County. I've been making music since I was a kid. Grew up in a very musical family. My dad and my uncle taught me how to play guitar when I was really young.

Who and what has influenced your art?  Any influences outside of music?

Oh man. Influenced by so many different artists. The first tape I ever bought was The Jackson 5 just before I started kindergarten. I was dead serious about KISS for a couple years in elementary school. I recently found out that Elliott Smith and Chan Marshall loved KISS when they were kids too. I feel less dorky now.

Dove head-first into punk rock when I was a teenager. Was really into bands like The Germs, Minutemen, TSOL, Black Flag, Minor Threat etc.

Became obsessed with Bob Dylan in my late teens. Heavily influenced by folk music.

I love movies. I’ll often write a song immediately after a good film.

Do you have any other creative outlets besides music?

Not really. I draw a little. Would like to start painting.

How do you approach the songwriting process?  Do you have set times you write or do you write when you feel inspired?

The best songs surface when I feel inspired, but If I go too long without writing a song I’ll lock myself in my basement until I create something. Songwriting is something that i need to do. It can be fucking hard at times, but it’s addictive.

You describe your music as sulky, do you need to be in that mood to write/compose?  Did you draw your inspiration from specific experiences?

When I’m really, actually depressed I won’t leave my bed and I’ll watch The Office on Netflix all day. I never get anything done when I’m bummed. I do vent in my journal a lot. So, when I’m in a good mood writing a song, I’ll flip through the pages and draw inspiration from my bad moods and unfortunate experiences.

How do you know you are finished with a song? How do you feel when you release it for the world to hear?  Any apprehension?

I never feel like a song is done. I have to force myself to stop tweaking with it and just release it. I’m always a little apprehensive. Putting a song out there for people to judge is trippy. But nothing feels better than when someone you've never met who lives 2000 miles away tells you that they dig what you do. I guess that’s why I do it. To connect with people.

So what's next? (new music, live shows, etc)

Working on a bunch of new songs right now. Planning on releasing a full-length album this year. A tour will follow.


So there you have it, that was David Shayne in his own words.  Thanks to David for taking time out of his weekend to answer my questions.  We see his musical education has been wide and varied, how he approaches songwriting/composing, and that new music is coming soon.  Now, folks, go listen, buy his EP, listen more, share it with your friends, say hello to David on Twitter, Facebook too, and beg for more music, maybe even a Sulky Noise T-shirt.  Be a fan!

For more information on David and his music: