When a debut album comes in the form of a 28 track well presented CD curiosity is piqued if maybe intimidated at the size of the introduction. When the quality of music, imagination, and invention is so impressive and high it can only be talked of as one of the best debuts from a rock solo artist in recent years. Thru Eever-Ending Black from composer, writer, and producer David J Caron is quite simply outstanding, a wonderfully infectious and persistently compelling slice of creativity. With great pleasure we had the chance to find out much more about the album and music by asking the man himself to take us into his musical world.
Hi David, thank you for letting us spy into the world of David J. Caron
Hi Pete, Thanks for the curiosity and thanks for the great album review. :)
Firstly tell us about the man.
I was born in Italy and lived there until I was five, Irish Mother, Italian Father, one brother. I was fortunate to grow up and go to school in England, where my extra-curricular musical schooling and development took place, in terms of musical Influences through friends, going to gigs, listening to many albums etc. My family moved back to Ireland some years later and County Donegal became my main home ever since. All that, doesn’t really answer your first request, I know, but hopefully the following answers will help to slightly unravel its complexity .. possibly :)
What was the trigger or inspiration which led you into music, performing and songwriting?
One day when walking to school football practice with some friends, I heard “Let’s get it up” by AC/DC on the radio and was totally transfixed by this sound as the song played. I had never heard anything like it before that point. It changed me at that moment and knocked me onto a different path, with new desires and aspirations. I wanted to find out more about this kind of music, I wanted to play guitar, without realising immediately that I would have to spend years learning of course, but I soon worked that out!
Music has always been a part of or in your life from a child?
Before that day at school, I was always aware of and listened intently to music and lyrics. My Father would play tapes in the car a lot and records in the house as I grew up. The Shadows, Elvis, Johnny Cash for example, even Classical and Country! My Mother had a Piano and I would mess about on it. I even had to go to guitar lessons at school with the typical high-action, finger-hurting, anti-progress, classical guitar, but I had no Interest then. I would hear pop music on radio and TV, some of it was attractive and was a way of socialising with friends, and getting to know cute girls..but it wasn’t life changing! That all changed when I discovered the deep magical well of fantastic Rock music, classic and current at the time, that I immersed myself in and searched for from that moment on. Growing up near London was also a definite musical personality shaping bonus, with all the great Rock bands you could jump on the train and tube to go and see for the evening at Hammersmith Odeon or Wembley Arena, every weekend. I was fortunate to be bought a decent electric guitar and amplifier by my Mum and Dad, and I spent all my time learning every riff and solo I liked, until I could play them note perfect. I’m still learning..that’s the never ending beauty of it. I do remember starting to compose riffs, ideas and lyrics, very early on, as well as recording them in simple form on a basic 4-track machine.. I still have all the tapes ! Some riffs of which can be heard on many tracks on this album.
You have just released your excellent debut album Thru Ever-Ending Black but what is your musical history up to this point?
Thank you very much. I am very proud of every compositional aspect of my album, which is the culmination of many years of song-writing work. Some tracks have been around in some form, recorded many times in different formats, changing slightly each time and hanging around in various versions, while some tracks were written during the recording of the album. My musical history has really been waiting to burst into life, in a decent, professional , noteworthy fashion, in a way that I can be completely satisfied with, in control of and proud of, as it has now. This album is really the big bang of my musical Universe and all else that I hope and plan to follow it with, starts from now. To me, in this case, the previous to it doesn’t matter . I have played in various bands obviously, but nothing that has any real relevance or affect on the songs that make up this album. Many artists may have a history playing with this band or that one, whether good or bad, and include it in their bio, maybe to embellish their product a little, but I don’t think that would necessarily guarantee or have any bearing on the quality of the album you release at some later point in your life. It certainly doesn’t for me. I know precisely what kind of songs I wanted to create, I know what I am capable of, I know exactly what I like to hear , and I have done exactly that, irrespective of any previous endeavours or associations. I do hope to let the songs on this album create a musical history from this moment on though, and hopefully some meaningful bonds and collaborations with others, in terms of building a band around it. That’s the way I’ve ended up doing things anyway! :)
How long was the album in the making?
I decided at the start of 2010, that I needed to record all the tracks that I had hanging around for years, properly, once and for all,. I always thought they were great songs with such a unique style, that I had to record them and see if anybody would like them as much as I did, and as much as I thought they could be. I think they have great potential. Recording started in June 2010 and finished, 28 tracks later, in December 2012, so about 18 months, including many returns to the studio to re-arrange little bits here and there, until I was completely satisfied with everything
Was it a project with tracks being written and composed simultaneously or was it a one song at a time process?
I started off the recording process with no real expectations of it even being an album. I just wanted to record the music to all my songs as professionally as I could with the facilities and finances available to me. I initially planned to put vocals down purely as a lyrical and melody guide for a decent, better singer to come along later on and have a complete song to learn from. But as the vocals started to come into shape, they started to sound not so bad, so I just left them on, for the time being anyway. With the help of co-producer Rob Mancini I somehow managed to bring out the best in myself vocally, from somewhere I never expected.
I started with about 12 tracks to record. I then resurrected 7 un-finished instrumentals during recording, writing lyrics for them, and while this was going on I kept waking up in the early hours of the morning, with new riffs and melodies going around in my head, that I had to get out of bed, half asleep, in order to work out what I was dreaming, musically. I could actually hear them while asleep, which never happened to me before. These ended up being 9 new songs, totalling 28 in all. In the end there was only enough room, annoyingly, for 27 and a half, on two CD’s. (“Final Bell” is only available as a free download if you buy the CD, or included in the digital download). So I was forced to omit 1 track and I chose this one purely because it had seemingly the darkest subject theme, although in fact the song is about something entirely different.
Which of the songs were the initial dozen written before the album?
The first 12 songs were : Memory Magnetic, Feels of Fire, Frozen Ice, Dark of Night, Too Much Little Time, The Knights, Who are you, Wall of Life, Beam the Ray, In me, One by One, Irreplaceable. The 7 Instrumentals resurrected with new lyrics were: Still Just One Moon, Escapin’ Back, Unlock it Apart, Final Bell, Has to be, I am your Shadow, The Tree that waits…The rest were the new ones that woke me up !
How do you bring songs into life from their first seed?
It always starts with the music for me. Either on guitar or sometimes with layers of synth composition, that I leave room for guitar parts to drive. The initial idea and everything that attaches to it has to be catchy musically, to me at least, with harmony and melodic hooks that you want to hear repeat. If it isn’t then there is no point in me continuing with it. It has to interest, grab and move me and be at its best at every moment of the song from start to finish., as well as being stylistically unique to how I compose. It has to be musically purposeful with a style and attitude that transcends genre requirements and makes it ever-lasting. It can be made up of many layers and components that combine in a way that results in it being different to how any other piece of music has existed before, in quite the same mixture, to make it unique. On top of all of this there has to be as catchy and perfect an original vocal melody as I want to hear. But with all these elements, the underlying philosophy is never to take the obvious, expected, overused, clichéd Rock path. I like to mix in some random, quirky unconventional aspects to both music and lyrics. Any part I may come up with that doesn’t satisfy all these conditions, has to be rejected and replaced with something that does. The lyrics always come last, and have to also follow my rules, of timing, rhythm and sometimes multiple rhymes and double meanings. It has to all fit into a secret stubborn musical mathematical formula, that only I know, when I hear it.. Occasionally in fact Rob would turn to me in the studio and say “ What the **** are you on about”? lyrically, or “ Are you sure you really wanna do that”? musically.. which is often exactly what I like to hear.
The album as you said is a 28 track epic which obviously was not your intention initially when starting out on the album.
I didn’t plan 28 tracks anyway. The word “Epic” conjures up images of an enduring, impressive, meaningful voyage full of great achievements and courageous heroic events. I think there is a note-able lack of meaning and integrity in a lot of current music, the lack of which is so easy to accomplish. Whereas it is a definite requirement in my style of writing, so I would have to say that to have my album described as being epic is both a welcome complement and an intention achieved. So thank you.
Did you have any qualms about putting out such a large release?
Not really. I know it’s unheard of to have a 28 track debut double album, but following convention is not my style in anything I do, just as it isn’t in my music. The only thing that came into my head was people thinking ”Who does this guy think he is”? But if the songs are all good, and it costs much the same as a single album, then a double album to me is a bonus and tells a bigger picture, leaving a bigger impression, especially for a debut. I had a few reasons. Firstly I had all these songs recorded at the same time as a project that seemed to belong together. I didn’t want to separate them from each other. I thought they were all equally good enough to belong as a collective. In fact they seem to follow on from each other on the discs as you listen, like pages in a book, as if destined to co-exist. I also wanted to be rid of them and release them all from me, to go out into the world and be finally heard, since some had been with me for a long time. I also wanted to be able to start totally afresh with new ideas for my next album, without re-visiting old tracks yet again. And on top of all this, I like to do things a little different to the standard. I thought that if it’s too much for someone to listen to, then they can just listen to half of it if they want..(if they can )! ;)
The tracks seem quite personal is that the case?
Yes, a song has to have some personal element or connection with me, although it is often disguised in a way that could be interpreted in many different ways with no direct obvious meaning. Some tracks that seem to mean one simple thing in fact mean something more intricate and some tracks that seem to be un-decipherable are actually about very simple, obvious themes. I like to keep the listeners thinking and guessing about Lyrics. I don’t see the point of writing about anything that has no personal attachment what-so-ever or that is void of any significant meaning. I think an audience can connect better to that which comes from inside, rather than hearing repeated, the same thing they’ve heard a thousand times before. There’s a lot of blandness inherent in popular music lyrics that has no purpose. Maybe I’m too much of a thinker, but the intrigue-less and un-imaginative has no stimulation for me and it doesn’t suit my style.
Is there an element of releasing demons or the songs bringing a kind of closure to things?
I never seem to write a song about just one idea. It’s always a collection of thoughts from many different experiences and fantasies that relate and connect with each other to mix and form into a particular theme of a song. These can often include demons that we all have and a certain closure to some un-resolved, un-explained occurrences and personal experiences. Lyrically it’s essentially a way to express my feelings , thoughts and observations in a way that paints images into the mind of the listener in order to get them to try and figure out what meanings my particular combination of words visually suggest to them. That makes it a more personal experience for them too. But I have referenced certain of my own demons in this album, in places, as a way to release them from me in a positive way, to empty myself for future chapters to fill me. The title of the album is also purposely misleading. It is actually an optimistic collection of very confident, positive and logical thoughts.
Musical though the album is melodic metal it does have a wonderful diversity to it taking flavours from varied subgenres, what are your biggest influences which impacted on your songwriting the most?
I grew up listening to many Heavy Rock and Metal Bands, as well as many other bands and so-called genres, but I wouldn’t call anything on this album Metal. It always amuses me slightly how some people, especially some dj’s, reviewers and music connoisseurs often can get into a slightly confused and unresolved state trying to work out what genre to place it into, because it seems many people have become obsessed with trying to categorise every artist they hear into a particular pre-named type, era and direction of music. I have always either liked a song, or I haven’t. To me it’s as simple as that and that’s all that should matter. It doesn’t matter to me what “genre” it’s told to be. When I started writing the album people asked me, “Oh, so what kind of music is it that you write”? I replied “It’s just my own music.. The only way to describe it, is to listen to it”. I have never tried or been interested in wanting to try and sound like any other band or type of music, even though there are many bands that I admire. Too many great bands to even attempt to try and copy. Usually when artists are asked who their influences are, they recite a long list of artists that affected them or that they listened to or aspired to be. I could have a very long list too, but I believe that everything you ever hear, good and bad, influences your musical mind and creative work. It certainly does to me. If I listed 100 influences here I would be omitting 100 more. All the best bands that have ever been just sound like them-selves and no-one else sounds like them. They are instantly recognisable. Then there are all the rest, who start out by trying to sound like their favourite band. It just doesn’t interest me. Only I can write exactly as I write, and I am proud of that. Nobody but oneself can write their own original style of songs, but anyone can copy someone else’s songs as their style. It’s easy to get a big bowl and throw in a certain combination of a little of some of your favourite bands, like mixing up a recipe, and then calling it your own. It’s a lot harder and more rewarding to just invent something that doesn’t sound like anything else. That’s what I like doing. I don’t care if it fits into what is supposed to be current. I am glad of it. To get on the radio, or to get promotion, or to submit a track for a TV/movie licensing deal, it seems the industry is programmed to search for artists that sound like other artists all the time. ”Who do you sound like” is a question I am constantly asked and not able to answer because I don’t sound like anyone.. This seems to be a problem to some, but I am proud of it. It’s the way I am designed and the way I’ll always be.
Every aspect of the album is you except bringing in Robert Mancini to co-produce. How much frustration and emotional intensity did this bring upon you whilst creating it?
Rob had the studio facilities, and engineering knowledge to produce all the technical engineering side while I was free to concentrate and produce the writing, performing, arranging and deciding how I wanted everything to sound and come across, with his suggestions. Every creative and compositional decision on the album was my own, so there was no frustration at all brought on by working together. In fact it was the opposite. Rob is a very patient, talented and enjoyable to work with Engineer/producer without which I would not have ended up with quite the same finished album. He would ask me what I wanted to do, and he would work with me until everything was exactly as I envisaged and wanted, however fussy I was for however long it took. We are both perfectionists in slightly different ways, so between the two of us I think we managed to make sure nothing would slip past our high standards of technical, performance and compositional quality control. I think we both learnt a lot in the process as well as having a lot of laughs a lot of the time.
How did you link up with Robert?
Rob is a good friend and in 2010 he offered to record some songs with me in his studio, although neither of us knew then it would turn out to be 28 tracks over 18 months.
He was the objective ear which all music needs to some degree?
It was great to have his musical background and knowledge to consult with throughout the production. Rob like myself has an un-biased professional approach that always has the best interest of the song at heart and of the production quality in mind, regardless of his own personal preferences or style.
Tell us about the elemental and space type themes you brought the emotion and songs hearts through.
Well it’s mostly all inventive symbolism, disguising simpler basic emotions and everyday feelings through the use of more fascinating and perplexing imagery. I have an interest in all things that are mesmerising and interesting, but anyone who thinks I am actually writing about meteorites in “Look Out” for example, is not reading the clues and missing the point entirely. Nearly every sentence of every song is disguised as something to decipher and discover. Writing blatantly obvious lyrics is not only too common, but also far too easy, un-challenging and un-rewarding. I am as proud of my lyrics as I am of my music. The whole package is important and it keeps me entertained. There are some recurring motifs that pop up now and then throughout all songs, which connects them. Dark and Light, Time, Integrity, Wisdom, Wit, Strength, Love, Truth, Courage, Pain, Reason… amongst others…basically most of the important elements in Life.
When you write a song what is the predominate spine of intent you try to bring forth?
To create what satisfies my own standards of compositional perfection, so that I love every part of the song and wouldn’t want to change any part of it in any way, when it’s completed. Also to make the listener not only enjoy it but take notice and listen as opposed to just hearing. To create something unique in style that connects with you, moves you, leaves you fascinated and intrigued, has attitude, purpose and meaning, as well as remaining in your memory as something you have gotten to know well, are fond of and that gets even better with each listen. That’s what I strive for and work on until I feel I achieve it.
Tell us about the videos which accompany some of the songs on the album.
What videos ? ;) I don’t have any official music videos available as yet apart from the moving graphic lyrical videos for a few of the tracks(what we meant :)). I do plan to shoot some professional music videos at some point, although with me they will have to be something fairly unique also. I would love to have full length digital animations to interpret all the symbolism in the songs but that takes a lot of time and money. (If anyone is interested please let me know through my website)!. I do believe there is a very devoted fan somewhere who edits some pretty interesting and visually fascinating movie clips to the audio tracks of some of my songs, which gives another dimension to the music. They’re quite entertaining actually. I like the fact that often the chosen edited images don’t attempt to have absolutely anything to do with the theme of the song. Sometimes this can work quite well instead of trying to recreate the lyrics with images. There is no need obviously since the music speaks for itself and is perfectly capable of planting images in the listeners mind, as it is. But it’s something cool to look at while listening to add associated impact.
Have you or will you be presenting the album live at any point?
At some point in the future, I plan to get a band together with individuals who would be as committed to the philosophy the music is built on, as I am myself. I would love to take it live, in the right environment and I believe the songs have great potential for a bigger live setting at some time, with many elements that could be incorporated resulting possibly in a spectacular production show, not only as a live gig. The possibilities and potential are limited only to a lack of imagination, which thankfully I don’t have. I need to recruit the right team of talented and like-minded people around me I think.
What is next for you?
I am working hard promoting my album. It’s getting good reviews and airplay in different countries. It’s getting featured with exposure in different magazines. There will be a couple of tracks issued on 10,000 sampler CD’S each in UK and Italy next month. I am currently looking into licensing opportunities for Film and TV. The music business has changed dramatically with the digital revolution creating so many new possible directions and I intend to pursue and take advantage of as many of them as I can for the time being to get my album around the world to as many ears as will be interested in it. I am gaining fans daily and have many elaborate plans for the future including a live show, new music, music videos, animated feature films, even ideas for computer games based around my music. ” Beyond the realms of possibilities we’d be arrivin’”! as someone once said… ;)
Once more thanks for chatting with us David.
Your welcome and Thank You, Pete.
Find out more about David J. Caron @ http://www.davidjcaron.com/
Read the Thru Ever-Ending Black @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/david-j-caron-thru-never-ending-black/
The RingMaster Review 28/06/2012
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