David J. from Novi Split was kind enough to take the time to talk with A Better Offer about his music, his love of cover songs, and his favorite musicians. We had so much to talk about, we broke the interview into two parts. And let me say, this is by and large the best interview I have ever conducted. David J. is just awesome and I hope you'll enjoy reading his responses as much as I did. Below is part one of the interview, and we'll post part two tomorrow--as well as the information about the Novi Split contest (free cds folks--free cds), so check back often.
ABO: Tell our readers a little about how you began to make music with Novi Split and how your experience with your former bands may have lead to Novi Split.
when i was about fifteen, me and a bunch of kids who all played metal decided to buy an old 1/4 inch fostex tape deck so we could record our bands and pass out tapes at school. all the equipment was always left at my house, so i would take whatever tape was left at the end of the reels to compose bad hip hop loops with a 1.5 second sampler that was in my friends guitar effects processor. then i would throw metal funk solo's over that and polish them off with really quiet vocals because i was scared of my voice. and thats just something i learned to enjoy. it helped me explore ideas that didn't fit into the sound of whatever band i was playing in. i was in a few bands growing up. at fourteen, i was in a band called 'your mom' that sounded a lot like the frogs. acoustic metal riffs with fuck word after fuck word improvised over the top. those were my glory days. with the exception of that band, i would always hit a wall with my writing. trying to write a collection of songs with a familiar tone bled me dry. i would get bored and turn to my 8-track and write a hot latin inspired metal funk song and i would feel like i was in the zone again. so i just kind of made the decision to live in that zone for awhile when dave jensen asked to put out some of the demo's i was working on. i thought he was crazy, but now someones interviewing me.
ABO: I've heard that the way you approach making and recording music is a little different than the typical artist. Can you tell us a little about how you write and record the songs for Novi Split?
the writing and recording process is a very spontaneous thing. a record i'd be listening to would skip and i'd record that and compose music over it then bang on a table, mumble some bullshit into a mic and you have a song. over the years i might have refined it a bit, but it always starts with a rhythm or a beat and then i put way too many instruments over it and then tear it all down but saving fragments of tracks i thought were cool and filling in the spaces. i do the same thing i always have but just put in about 10X the work. its natural to do at my age. its fun to see how far and stupid you can make your music sound. the performances are usually done in a couple takes. actually, everything but the rhythm tracks on this new record. i wanted a little more swing. i still dont know about mics or how to point them. it seems that the more expensive ones sound better and you point them at things you are recording. i wish i knew more about the tech side of all of this. ive just learned to manipulate signal into doing what i want it to do through EQ'ing and other avenues. i used to do a lot more 'field recordings' at different locations. now i just stick to places i think no one will be listening to me. solitude make for better recordings.
ABO: Tell us about the tour. What lineup are you taking on the road with you? And what are the setlists like?
the tour is something i booked myself. im not very good at it but i manage. i usually go out with a guitar. its hard to find a friend or two that would be willing to take a few weeks off of work to tour with my project. but for the east coast i found matt eckel a great musician who hates his job. perfect. he will be playing harmonica, piano, and drums all at once. its an experiment to see if i can get along with another person on stage. the set list usually include songs that i have written, songs my friends have written and a couple over covers that im obsessed with.