A few words with Dave Ward. The singer and multi-instrumentalist behind JustDave.
Leicester Bangs: Tell us a little about yourself.
Dave: I was Born in Southport, Merseyside, lived my formative years in Auckland, NZ and am now living in Harlow, Essex. I have been playing guitar since I was about ten, actively writing songs since I was fourteen and fronting bands since I was eighteen. Most of the bands I have been involved with have played predominantly original tracks and I have always been responsible for writing a large percentage of those sets. The bands I have been with, 9 in total–8 in NZ, have had varied degrees of success although nothing spectacular but a couple of them have given me the platform to perform in front of several thousand people, at times.
LB: How did you start out making music?
Dave: I had always fancied myself as a bit of a guitar hero and played air guitar along to hard rock tracks from a fairly early age, until I convinced my parents to buy me a guitar at the age of ten. It wasn’t quite the Les Paul I had hoped for but it did the job for learning the basics. Although, most of my learning has actually come in a rehearsal room (and occasionally, unfortunately, in front of a crowd). I didn’t really start recording in a studio environment until I was with my second band when we recorded some studio demos for promotional purposes. After that, I was unstoppable - I bought a four track and a Roland D-20 and started to learn the craft.
LB: Who did you grow up listening to and how do they influence what you’re doing now?
Dave: I guess my first loves were Queen, Kiss and Genesis but I wouldn’t say they had any particular influence on what I do now. By the time I was writing I was listening to The Smiths, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Cure, Lloyd Cole and The Psychedelic Furs mainly. The Smiths and The Furs left the biggest mark on me, but again, I am not sure that there is that much of them in my current music (I live in hope though).
LB: Tell us about your latest release.
Dave: “Well I Never...” Is a project I started three years ago (2006) when I realised there was still more in me than playing in a covers band. I had a couple of songs that I wanted to demo and I got the bug again and started writing more. Previously I was tending to record songs that were mostly finished and had a set form before I put anything to tape, but this time I used the studio to develop the songs and the arrangements as I went along. It was never intended to take three years to make, but sadly my father passed away in 2007 and, needless to say, that caused me to take a significant break in the project. As it turns out, what is on the finished album now was predominantly recorded in 2008/9.
LB: Do you get out and play your music live, and if so, what can an audience expect at one of your shows?
Dave: At the moment I don’t get out and play my stuff live as the album has taken so much of my time that I haven’t moved it on to the next logical step yet. It is my intention to put a band together for 2010 and start gigging the songs but I still need to find the right musicians (I have a couple in mind but it remains to be seen if they will get on board). Regarding what people should expect from my live shows though, I have a hell of a lot of live experience and having always been a front man. When I do get this on the road I can guarantee that I will have a solid band that can hold it all together while I get to act up and do all of the rock star stuff with as much energy as I can find at every show.
LB: What aspects of playing and recording music do you most enjoy?
Dave: When I’m writing or recording I love working on a song, which I thought was heading in one direction only to find that half way through it develops into a new and better version. Playing live I like nothing better than knowing you have just banged out an original song with more energy and feeling than ever before and hearing the audience show that they appreciated it too.
LB: Where can people find (and buy) your music?
Dave: It’s available on my own website, but it’s also currently at CD Baby and iTunes (other digital retailers including Amazon and Rhapsody will follow over the next couple of weeks). Links below:
What the World is saying about JustDave.
Interview with Leicester Bangs.com