Contactmusic caught up with David Gray as he gears up to release his latest album 'Mutineers'.
David Gray is set to release his new album 'Mutineers' later this month (17 June 2014) but, as the title suggests, it wasn't all plain sailing. 'Mutineers' is Gray's first album in four years, following 2010's 'Foundling'. One of the main reasons Gray has taken his time with his tenth release is because he chose to do things differently with this album.
'Sometimes, you're staring up at the creative mountain and I was just bored of myself', he admitted, speaking about the record recently to Contact Music. 'I knew all the things I didn't want, but I didn't know what it was I was looking for, so I had to perform a sort of creative traverse, I had to go across the mountain. I was trying so many different things that 'not knowing' became my process.'
Continue reading: David Gray On His Voyage Of Rediscovery With Latest Album 'Mutineers'
David Gray conquered the UK charts for the first time in 2001 with his 'White Ladder' album and has remained high up there ever since with several more albums of mature pop such as 2002's 'A New Day at Midnight' and 2005's 'Life in Slow Motion'. He kindly gave up some of his time to talk to us about his new album 'Mutineers', new relationships, how he finds the song writing process these days and the pros and cons of working independently.
Contactmusic: Hello David, your new album 'Mutineers' is coming out in June, what can you tell me about it?
David: It's a big record for me; I feel I've returned to the source in terms of my writing and my passion for music. I've rediscovered myself on this record so it has a power and it has something extra. I think there are record cycles, but then beyond that there are bigger cycles and if you see the first in my career as starting at the beginning and finishing with before 'White Ladder', then 'White Ladder' being the start of something else, then almost everything subsequently has been post-'White Ladder'. This now feels like the start of a new era and a very rich one creatively. Sometimes, you're staring up at the creative mountain and I was just bored of myself. I got off the road, I was physically and mentally exhausted, and I knew I wanted to do something different, I just didn't know what it was. I knew all the things I didn't want, but I didn't know what it was I was looking for, so I had to perform a sort of creative traverse, I couldn't just keep ascending, I had to go across and take the mountain from a different angle. I was trying so many different things that 'not knowing' became my process; I started writing in a backwards way.
CM: What was it that was 'backwards' about your songwriting?
David: Normally, I'd write melodies and chords first and then find the lyrics to go with it. I began to write from lyrics back into music, taking other people's words as well and using them as a starting point for songs; so, a poem was responsible for 'Gull' and then a short story was responsible for the track 'The Incredible'. It was like putting on those prism glasses and everything's upside down. It takes a little while to take a few steps forward and know that you're not going to fall over, I was just using my instincts to build the songs in this way. 'Birds Of The High Arctic' was another one, 'Snow In Vegas' came out of a lyric I'd had for a long time. Once I began to realise there was real strength and also a nuance to this new approach. I went with it and then when we got to the studio to records, I found that was a further layer of challenging my ideas about how it should sound, how it could be arranged, how I went about recording it. Creatively my producer Andy Barlow played a huge part in that.
Continue reading: David Gray - Interview
David Gray has called for greater examination of the playing of loud music - including his own song Babylon - during torture at Guantanamo Bay.
Suspected terrorist detainees are repeatedly subjected to loud music during interrogation at Guantanamo and other US bases with a wide variety of songs used, from heavy metal acts such as Metallica and Rage Against The Machine, to hip-hop stars such as Eminem and Dr Dre to novelty tracks such as the theme song for Barney the dinosaur.
But speaking on BBC Radio 4's World Tonight programme, Gray called for greater public discussion of the matter.
"Only the novelty aspect of this story gets it noticed... Guantanamo greatest hits," he said.
"What we're talking about here is people in a darkened room, physically inhibited by handcuffs, bags over their heads and music blaring at them."
"That is nothing but torture."
He continued: "It doesn't matter what the music is - it could be Tchaikovsky's finest or it could be Barney the Dinosaur.
"It really doesn't matter, it's going to drive you completely nuts.
"No-one wants to even think about it or discuss the fact that we've gone above and beyond all legal process and we're torturing people," he added.
The charity Reprieve, which was associated with the recent Meltdown festival curated by Massive Attack, has created a petition to encourage artists to ban their music being used in the situations discussed by Gray.
Continue reading: David Gray Warns Of Music Use In Guantanamo Torture
David Gray Featurette
In November 2007 David Gray returns with a new single, a Greatest Hits album and a six date UK tour. The single 'You're The World To Me'- released November 5th - is featured on the album along with another new track - 'Destroyer' - both produced by legendary Pink Floyd/Sex Pistols producer Chris Thomas - and are the first new releases from David since 2005's Life In Slow Motion album. Greatest Hits is released through Atlantic Records on November 12th and will be the first compilation to feature songs from throughout David's recording career, a period that covers seven albums, three record labels and eleven million album sales.
Continue reading: David Gray, Featurette
Date of birth
13th June, 1968
Sound checking in Antwerp at the @DeRomaVzw. Times for tonight - Doors: 7:30PM // David Gray: 8:30PM https://t.co/d4XQkjrtId
Today's mission in Antwerp before soundcheck....#TheBestOfDavidGray #Antwerp https://t.co/Zya6GnMR4s
Last night's setlist. No time for nemo unfortunately. Beautiful venue, great gig. Danke Berlin. X Photos:… https://t.co/RZFEG76h96
RT @ForbesShowbiz: .@DavidGray: "You've got to be brave. If you bow to the audience, you’re just making a trap for yourself." https://t.co/…
Europe leg of the tour starts tonight in Berlin at the Passionskirche. Times - Doors: 7PM // David Gray: 8PM https://t.co/61LgDPi5wz
RT @Bandsintown: Read our review of @DavidGray's two-hour set in NYC, which featured the most intimate songs. cc @ApolloTheater https://t.c…
RT @FallonTonight: Tonight Show Music Break: @DavidGray performs "Babylon" for Studio 6B https://t.co/QyEYiwmb3w https://t.co/yJbDvlieAR
Watch David perform 'Babylon' live on @FallonTonight @jimmyfallon: https://t.co/ScskaQPzLz
RT @FallonTonight: Tonight on the show: John Goodman, @alexisbledel & music from @DavidGray! #FallonTonight https://t.co/6bK3o8Ny22
Getting ready for @FallonTonight @jimmyfallon. Watch from 11:35 pm EST and on NBC tonight. https://t.co/gEhK5dvLcb
RT @jimmyfallon: Tonight on the show: @FINALLEVEL, @alexisbledel, and music from @DavidGray! #FallonTonight
I've started the last 2 shows with an accapella version of a song I wrote some time ago, 'One Fine Morning'. Video: https://t.co/6whoH20PWk
@iBodyFit sorry to hear you can't make it, but thanks for letting us know Franklin. Could you confirm your seat numbers please? ^dghq
Great gig last night in a beautiful theatre - thank you LA. Here's the list. X https://t.co/sGLCXjVjWU
RT @SXMCoffeeHouse: all weekend long hear a special Thanksgiving edition of Coffee House Live featuring songs from @DavidGray's newly relea…
Really special gig last night, beautiful sounding room. Loved every second. Photos here: https://t.co/W1c5R8ShF6
@RussMogell @ScottishRite1 here you go - https://t.co/0NndwccfLs