Interview: DAVID BRAY
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I’ve been writing songs since I was thirteen. I would own an advertising agency where I could exercise my creativity, still make a living and work on my music.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I write and read poetry by Margaret Atwood, Leonard Cohen, Al Purdy and many others. It is interrelated with my songwriting.
How long has your band been around?
Most of the band members have been playing with me for twenty years. Similarly, my musical partner Lorraine Reid has been singing with me for 20 years.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Toronto. Canada has been the starting point for many great influential lyricists. This includes Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Cockburn, et al. Even Elvis Costello has moved to Canada.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
I am a solo artist.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Like Steely Dan I work mostly in the studio. I really don’t enjoy playing live.
What is your favorite venue to play in?
Revolution Recording Studios. Fantastic facility.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Bruce Cockburn or Joni Mitchell (when she was well enough) or Elvis Costello or Jesse Winchester (when he was alive). All are/were superb songwriters. I would also add Gladys Knight and her fabulous voice.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Make sure you have a related career which guarantees your income. Especially true if you want to have a family.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Perhaps “One Last Chance” from my “Crowded Isolation” album which deals with the passing of my mother and father as well as my dog Toby. He was the greatest friend any man could ever have. You can see them in the video on my davidbray.ca web site. I would also include “Speaking As One” from the “Land of Extremes” album. This deals with my relationship with my father and son.
“We share the same blood but we speak in different tongues.
You speak in father while I speak as son”
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I like playing all of the 48 songs from most recent 3 albums. Most requested song is always the latest single. Right now that is “Some Day” which is airing around the world.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
My music is inspired by life experiences as well as the work of various poets/ songwriters. As to the process, I am the producer and I work out the arrangements. I have had the good fortune to partner with some great players including Garth Hudson, Daniel Lanois, Jeff Healey, Kim Mitchell, Bill King, Gary Craig, Bob Babbitt, John Dymond, Justin Abedin. Chris Birkett, the Sweat-Soaked Horns, Lorraine Reid and many others.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
The lyrics cover a broad range of topics. My current trilogy covers “Crowded Isolation”…. all of the many challenges of urban life.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
The whole band is very agreeable. A truly great bunch of guys.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Spotlight is my new album “Land of Extremes”. I will just keep writing and recording.