David D’Alessio and The World of This Far Apart
David D’Alessio and The World of This Far Apart
Introducing David D’Alessio, a massively talented singer/songwriter from the East Coast! This Far Apart is the name of his latest album, an introspective work of artistry exploring the vast complexities of love and relationships. Featuring standout selections such as Ain’t Looking Back, Crazy Love, and Throw Yourself In Front Of It, This Far Apart is sure to capture the attention of all types of music fans. Highwire Daze recently caught up with David D’Alessio to explore the vibrant world of This Far Apart. Read on…
What was the name of the very first song you ever wrote, how old were you, and what was that song about?
The only reason I know the answer to this question is because I used to have a recording of this song and we’d listen to it over and over. It was called “No Way, No More” and the band was The Deletes. And it was me, my brother and my friend Thorn and we just played drums and sang and recorded to a handheld tape recorder. I’m not going to tell you any of the lyrics because it was basically teenage boys spouting profanity. But we loved to listen to that because we’d actually created something and could play it back over and over and it sounded effing awesome to us. My mom would just quietly shake her head. But I’d say that moment, that recording, and hearing us organize the chaos of noise into a few bars of a song… that got me excited about making music!
Where are you based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
I’m in New York City. The words “robust” and “competitive” come to mind. I mean you can’t throw a stick without hitting a musician that will just blow you away. “Humbling” is another good word to describe being a musician in New York.
Is there any overall story or concept behind your This Far Apart album title?
I had written a collection of songs without a title and they were stories about meeting my wife, falling in and out of love and some of the more difficult moments of building a relationship. When the pandemic hit and the social distancing signs popped up everywhere, I kept misreading them as “This Far Apart” instead of “Keep This Far Apart.” And I had one of those moments where you’re like, what’s this title I keep thinking about? And then it dawned on me that it was my title. For me it feels like an unqualified measure of distance. I’m always exploring the distance between each other. Are we coming or going? Are we together or are we apart? So I liked that there was this ambiguous phrase that could be read a couple of different ways about the distance between us.
Select two songs from This Far Apart and what inspired the lyrics.
Ain’t Looking Back is basically the story of meeting my wife in Tucson way back when. The lyrics kind of read exactly like things went down, she was ready to move to New York the moment we met while I was on a semi-successful run with my first record. I had really started moving along in the Southwest music scene and her attitude was basically like, “well, good for you but I’m going to keep going with my life.” So that put me in a spot- should I try to go with her? I suppose, as they say, the rest is history.
Crazy Love is outside the chronology of the record, if you will. That is to say, it’s a story of “before we met, there was this one time.” And that’s exactly it- I was with someone who just wasn’t great for me. Maybe terrible is the better word. Honestly, I don’t like to get into the pointing finger game because we all make and own our choices. But let’s just say the whole experience scared me straight. And despite the fact that I knew I was better off without her, letting go of that thing that was so deliciously, seductively and explosively crazy– it was still really hard to do. It took a lot of therapy to get here.
What was it like to write and record This Far Apart in the middle of a pandemic and all of the social unrest in the world today?
Honestly it’s been hard to stick to the script. I wrote most of this record before all of the Black Lives Matter, social protests and upheaval just blew up around us. And I think racial justice, social justice, income inequality, environmental justice and climate change are on a collision course for a real ugly conflict in our country and world. I’m a thousand percent on the side righting all these wrongs ASAP. But I digress. See how easy it is? I mean while we’re here talking about this…and I don’t want to get ahead of this EP….I’ve been doing a lot of writing about these topics and I think they’re very much going to inform my future work. But back to your question- I think this record addresses another side of the pandemic, one which is more quiet and personal. Because of the stay-at-home orders and forced isolation, we all took a much more careful look at the relationships in our lives how it is to be close or far from each other. And that’s a lot of what I was writing about- proximity, want, touch. They’re the more internal side of the pandemic.
What could one expect from a live David D’Alessio show?
This Far Apart is a pretty big production but the basis of it has always been the words and music of the songs. And right now I can’t really afford to take a full band on tour so we’re playing more intimate set- just vocals, guitars, and piano with a little rhythm. It’s a closer and more intimate look at the songs. I love playing sets like this because I think if you like the record, you’ll love the new angle. And even if you don’t like the record, you can hear the craft more clearly.
Have you ever played here in the Los Angeles area and if so, what was the experience like?
It’s been a minute since we played LA but we’ve done WitzEnd, Room 5. I did a BMI night at Ghengis Cohen way back. Do they still do that? I think I played at Molly Malone’s on that tour too.
If you could open for one band or artist either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
I would open for Allie X in heartbeat. She’s fantastic and weird and so musical. I love her. But that’s like fantasy lineup stuff right? I mean Jeff Buckley is another hero of mine and damn would I get weepy just thinking about him on stage. We saw Jessca Hoop in 2019, last show of her last tour and I’m modeling my current act after hers. It was amazing. J, hit me up!
When you look back on your earlier recordings Some Girls and Songs To Undress Your Ego, what do you think of them now in retrospect?
I think I did everything I did with abandon. I never proceeded with a kind of like, should I, shouldn’t I attitude. It was always like, this is what I’m doing and I’m just going to go for it. I love both those records for different reasons. They’re two totally different sounds in a lot of ways and I don’t regret that for a second. For me, creating is probably one of that greatest joys I have in my life, on par with being a dad, and I’m just thankful I had the time and means to make those events happen. I don’t like to go back and critique old work because I’ve always believed in giving a thousand percent to what you’re doing at the time. So, when I look back, all I can really say is, I gave it my best at the time.
What’s up next for you?
I literally got a mix back this morning of a single I’m thinking about putting out this summer. We’ll see. Still excited to tour this record and find a home for some of these songs. So, I’m actively working on that.
Any final words of wisdom?
Yeah. You know how we talked about social upheaval in this country and the discord that seems to be filling up our lives? And how it’s time to break the wheel? I think music needs a big shake up too. I think our ears have been numbed by algorithms and influencers and playlists. I read somewhere that 70% of songs streamed last year were back catalogs. To me that’s just crazy. There’s so much great new music out there. And it seems to me what rises to the top of new music rarely bucks the apple cart. I think artists and listeners need to just feel more. And not just “I love you are you gonna love me back” shit. Music is a way to communicate and we shouldn’t be afraid to communicate complicated and hard messages. Like we should embrace the tough challenges of our times in our music. Growing is uncomfortable I want to hear music that makes me uncomfortable. I want to grow. I don’t need another Rocket Man. I need to know how we’re go to save the Earth from extinction. I want to know how I’m going to hand over an uninhabitable planet to my daughter without so much as a “I’m sorry.” That’s the kind of things I think we need to address. I’m ready.
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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