Though he’s already got four full-length albums under his belt, David Myles says that in many ways his most recent, Into the Sun, feels like his first.
“I feel like it’s uniquely me,” he explains enthusiastically, describing a songwriting and recording process that was far more intuitive and organic than in the past. “Before, I didn’t know the studio well enough. I wasn’t confident enough to take risks,” he says.
But with a significant handful of accolades now under his belt and experience playing to larger and larger audiences, Myles, who hails from New Brunswick but is based in Halifax, now stands confidently on his musical feet.
His 2010 album Turn Time Off won the East Coast Music Award for Folk Recording of the Year, while his song “Need A Break” was named Creative Group Single of the Year. In 2010, he won the Nova Scotia Music Award for Male Artist of the Year, and, in 2009, his song “When It Comes My Turn” won first prize in the Folk/Singer-Songwriter category of the International Songwriting Competition.
So when it came to making Into the Sun, Myles decided he was ready to try something different. He decided to avoid his folk and jazz inclinations and head into the studio with an eye towards creating something more experimental. Instead of having the songs pre-written and arranged, as before, he started to think in terms of how he wanted the album to sound.
“I’d been listening to albums from Brazil and West Africa from the ’60s and ’70s,” says Myles, explaining that he wanted to find a way to incorporate the same kinds of rhythms into his own music. He began working closely with producer Charles Austin, and the two started layering vocals and adding rhythms to his newly-penned songs, while staying open to surprises. “If you close all the doors before you go into the studio, you aren’t able to get that stuff,” says Myles, who’s very happy with the results of keeping the doors open.
“I think it’s the coolest thing I’ve ever done.”
• Myles didn’t begin to make music a career until 2004, after he completed a political internship at the Ontario Legislature.
• His 2011 album Live At The Carleton was made during four consecutive shows in Halifax, though at the time he had no idea they were being recorded.
• Myles wrote and sings the chorus on “The Day Doesn’t Die” by hip-hop artist Classified, who returned the favour with a remix of Myles’ “Simple Pleasures.”