Caught a case of the postmodern blues? Common symptoms: a pit in the stomach feeling that you'll never again hear anything that really sounds new, a hint of nausea cause even your favorite contemporary musicians are just the re-gifted wine bottles of yesteryear's radical visionaries. (Want more hyperbolic cultural studies mumble jumble? Hire my Pretentious Art School Kid services, I do cocktail parties.) Anyway, before you shed tear drops all over your vintage record player, come shake off your existential artistic woes with a little antibiotic dose of Lifejackets
, the project of new kid on the NYC block David Hoon. David took some time to talk with us about his first album, his hardcore past, and the bright-lights razzle-dazzle of his first eight months in NYC.
David's buzzing with excitement; he just dropped his first record
. The album has a familiarly humble Genesis story: a dude and his guitar in a bedroom pissing off the neighbors. (Deal man, were makin' art.) But the product is catch-of-the-day fresh. It makes sense that David doesn't sound like anybody else; his musical background is a sort of schizophrenic's playground. He explains, "I grew up playing jazz, then got into heavy rock music, after that I played in an indie band so I guess that's where the kind of r&b and heavy rock stuff comes into one." The album fearlessly zigzags across moods and genres, probably a result of its patchwork quilt conception: "I had a bunch of stuff lying around from previous bands and started just recording them with my free time" David recorded by himself, playing every part on the album. "Then I just realized why not keep going?"
Why not, indeed. Hardly a famewhore, David is used to taking a backseat on stage as a drummer. He confesses that, "It's a little weird to be a front man, I've never done that." He grabbed a guitarist and a bassist to flank him at shows. He sings, plays guitar, and handles all the electronic triggering. How's that for multitasking?
Understanding the smorgasbord of influences he's rocking is vital to making sense of his sound, which is equal parts of the familiar and the green alien. Basically, David's appropriated the hardcore mentality that flicks off expectations by writing songs with "no real song structure" Then, he's mashed it with a pop flavor that seduces its audience. The result is easy listening that consistently catches you off guard. During his hardcore band phase, David was always "the voice on one of the shoulders pushing" for slightly more "sing-a-long parts." Unashamed of his perennial quest to please the listener, David describes this break from a screaming, drum pounding past as an "overindulgence" of his pop sensibilities. And he creates music that's pleasant and accessible, without condescending the ear or minimizing his own superb talent.
If music is a "survival of the fittest" battle, David's definitely learned how to evolve. Not partial to the shoegazing, lackadaisical head bopping concert vibe, he's been working to remix some of his slower tracks into pulsing electro-club his. He reasons "people wanna go to a show and dance" and hes making sure he gives you something that you can shake your hips to.
With those deep wells of creativity comes an endless cycle of inspiration, David's quest for the next song never ends. His process isn't anything radical, he explains, "As you walk the street, you hum a line you like right now, and maybe you record it on your cellphone." That restless artistic energy is the fuel for his fire on this first album, rife with sampled spoken words and unexpected musical meanderings.
One total cliche David doesn't mind buying into? Being an artist completely electrified by the energy of New York City. He credits the culture and music of Brooklyn especially with giving him "the motivation to write and the boost to really try to put something together." Judging from his album, we'd say the city suits him just fine. Now, hop out of your sickbed and check out these two tracks "Slugs" and "This Kid I Know," as well as Dave's promotional video. Then, listen to the whole album
. We're betting you'll be cured.
Life Jackets Promo from David Hoon Newman on Vimeo.