All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Serving jazz worldwide since 1995
All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource


Alana Davis: Can You Hear Me Now?

By Published: March 17, 2005

AAJ: I think some people have the theory that it kind of phased of with be-bop when people stopped dancing as much as they did (to swing). When the groove became less apparent and other things took precedence like the soloing and stretching out and the tempos went through the roof and musicianship took precedence and it became more for musicians and listeners.

AD: Mm. Right, yeah. I think it was more ego-less art.

AAJ: Yeah, maybe so, the whole attitude about it. When you write your own music what is the process that you go through like? Is it difficult, cathartic, easy, neccesary or what?

AD: Yeah, It's all of those. Sometimes I feel I just have to get it out and not have anyone judge it. Like it's a conversation, so I have to find a way to get it out. It's a personal thing. Sometimes I have to put my Introspective lyrics in there. And there are a lot of ways to interpret it. An open chord is a chord and a melody is anything that you want It to be: a certain riff to nail down a friggin' lyric and that's the way it goes and ahhh! And at that point I just want to move on to the next thing. My favorite song is always the one I'm writing? You know?

AAJ: Yeah, for sure. You're the most involved with that one.

AD: Yeah, (laughs) but the point where its done? It's a process, for me. I don't have a formula for it, I guess.

AAJ: So this all sort of ties into a philosophy of music and life. It's all one thing.

AD: I think so. And I like to think it's a part of life. All my songs relate to anything I do (laughs). There, there, look. People talk about color. Everything's a color. If you want to pick it up, everything could be a song.

AAJ: Yeah, just about. If you have that attitude everything seems limitless.

AD: Yeah, that's what I hope it is. It's a balance. The artist in me wants to make a record that's as whack as it can; more strange, more tempo changes. But then the producer part says, "Ok, you know what? You're not making this record for Martian's", you're making It for you and hopefully other human beings will be able to appreciate it, so you don't want to alienate yourself. Don't alienate yourself because you like wacky stuff.

AAJ: Like too many cooks, you have to shuffle them out of the kitchen.

AD: Yeah, exactly. And I have to do that myself. Multiple voices and hands. But if you have enough time and room with anything you can find your multiple hands and voices (laughs). Its like what you were talking about...that ego thing... wow, look at what I can do, wow look, I can play that too.

AAJ: I know and we've gotta get past that. Everybody's guilty of that at some point.

AD: And I think I have to exert a little of that. I get so tired of being lumped and compared with people that I feel don't have anything to say. I'm a little bit of a feminist but not really, you know, but I don't have a bitterness about how boys are treated like this and girls like that, but I do see things a little like that. It's not all about sex. I do actually have more to offer.

AAJ: Sure. We still have the roles and everything somewhat.

AD:Yeah. I do have to define a little more of that so I'm not put in with those people. But that's it. At the point where humility is gone the ego's blown it.

AAJ: But the way you express yourself through your writing is so poetic and honest at the same time. It's very powerful.

AD: Oh man, that's so sweet of you to say. I work hard at it. I'm actually one of those weirdo's that thinks there's responsibility, you know what I mean?

AAJ: That's taking a lot on your shoulders for a musician.

AD: It is. When you're In front of all these people it's an important job. I know how many labels have blown me off so I know. I mean let others define it, but it is that. I've never found anything like it.

AAJ: So is this why you came up with (the new label): Tigress' Records, to have more creative control?

AD: Yeah, call me crazy but I had a thought that if I got away with doing this record I would love to become a label for other artists. I think that'd be fantastic. I think it's such a shame that most young artists, what they want is to get signed and the moment they sign they're natural journey kind of detours.

AAJ: Right, It really does change things in ways that they may not even project.

AD: Oh, yeah. I don't think they know. I've seen incredibly beautiful, raw talent come through the doors of Elektra and the doors of Atlantic, at Virgin—and they're around, they find them, man—but I don't know why they don't allow them to have this journey. I don't know why you go and find somebody and then go and try to turn them into John Mayer.

AAJ: I guess it's just about what's going to turn top dollar (for them).

AD: Right, and commerciality's the key. I get that. I can appreciate that and I'm not mad at anybody. I'm thinking of me first and you're thinking of you first and there has to be a point where you have to have a little integrity about what you're doing. It kind of affects me when someone has beauty and ideas and they don't even know how to define it and to blow it by trying to put it into a particular box.

comments powered by Disqus