David Place’s third studio album, ‘Rollercoaster’, is out — complete with the title track, and its music video, discussed below. Speaking to TruthExcites.com, David explains how life and being lost have forged his romantic, immersive art, through a compulsive explorer’s restless liberation.
Celluloid shadows float us behind memory, from footage found online: a reminder of the web’s influential energetic creation of consciousness-centres from connections; as predicted by George Tesla, whose birthday fell earlier this month, in his prescient anticipation of a cyber Jungian universe.
The track is ‘Rollercoaster’, and the video draws us up to a skylight of nostalgia. A backview of guitar-playing frontman, David, invites us to share his music-borne feelings. We ride the rollercoaster’s rickety lift beyond gravity, to a stone-grey, imbued with hot brightness by clear shadows in dimmed frames. This is the primordial playground lived by his daughter, Emily, as she makes a model rollercoaster from coloured bricks — ‘red, blue and grey’; wielding and feeling shape, colour and styling: the physical detail that charges structures with their form’s emotion, and a gallery of the imagined, which — like twilight bedroom curtains — awaits the artist and the dreamer with nightmares, bliss and beauty.
Observed not experienced, Emily’s hyper-reality shimmers on the fanfare of her senses, and David’s dreams. It is a euphoric monochrome, its colour drained by time’s and viewpoint’s displacement. A French levity skips through simple frames with halcyon grace — the font of the descant of cooling notes that twinkle in a street’s noon, and voice its dappled life.
The rollercoaster alternates with the grey sunshine of the band in a garden: blending, visually, with the utopian fairground, and its impossibly generic joy, and keeping prominent the process of observation, and the empathic voltage between dreamer and dream — a gap spanned by this song.
‘I used to see her in the morning … with the blocks red, blue and grey’
Pre-vocals, a chill trumpet-lullaby hints at seaside puppet tragedy in its mellow querulousness, through which David’s voice then walks, thinking aloud; the more resonant for its unstylised spontaneity, in a movingly bare revelation of new fatherhood’s enhanced insight, his words passengers on melody. Repetition of ‘rollercoaster’ chants gentle enlightenment; percussion-teased along trammels, and immersed in the trumpets’ rising sea which — like all sound, as opposed to point-source light — envelops us profoundly from all sides. The trumpet, in particular, echoes his Bari neighbours’ Sunday morning soundtrack, which serenaded his new life there.
!!! CROWDED HOUSE !!!
We are sitting on a small balcony, late on a Saturday morning, having just drunk some perfectly prepared, cap-insulated coffees, conjured from the empty reception area of his ‘Olive Tree’ hostel. It is a few hours before the weekend check-in rush, yet he is relaxed and gives his all to the questions.
When did he start playing the guitar?
He tells me, to my surprise, that he was 23. At home in Australia, his teenage younger brother had been the musician, leaving David to express himself through football.
Did that play a part in motivating him?
“Yes”, he says. “I envied my brother — I envied the fact that he could sing …”
Coming to Europe gave David the creative privacy to make music his language, too — ‘locked in his London room’. Perhaps it emerged from the same sensibility that made angles and spaces in soccer, through ratio, dissonance and consonance?
Does this, third album have a theme?
He explains that it is simply autobiographical. 6 years in the making, it is an expressive interpretation of his life’s progress in the round, not seen through an isolated element.
“I tend to write a lot about depression and addiction … I have suffered both.”
Springing from that dark emotional reservoir must have made for a rich ascension: replacing black lethargy, and introverted quickfix-craving, with an equally compulsive — yet opposite — quest to explore, understand, and create anew — from the energy within.
The album — of which ‘Rollercoaster’ is the title track — is diverse. It features banjo jazz in places, and is largely without electric guitar, apart from ‘Roundhouse Blues’ (his favourite). It comprises the best — and so perhaps the most deeply felt and story-relevant? — songs of this transition; from London’s deep concrete and its spherical thought-freedom, to the demanding summer-strobe of establishing, and multi-tasking in, his own hostel — nearly every day.
!!! ROCK OF THE NEW !!!
After a while he ‘can’t listen to the music that he has written and produced’. Old imperfections irritate his progress-hungry drive; and even more, like Soul Asylum’s poignant and ultimately exploratory ‘Runaway Train’, he needs novelty. Curiosity is fuel amidst the joy of controllably navigable adventure — a heady post-perdition philip.
Like the track ‘Rollercoaster’, the nostalgia of which was refracted from new life, David’s song is borne of listening, not dreaming: of exploring experiment, rather than theory. Perhaps listening’s attendant empathy — discernible in his ego-free openness which sought to acquire, and not dismiss, his brother’s musical language — fuses creativity with the giving inherent in his hospitality business?
His easily dovetailing subconscious and conscious minds not only juggle incoming ideas with daily business, but also promote his music efficiently — letting those ideas rise for the world. His hard graft in online genre-matching draws hundreds of YouTube clicks per day for ‘Rollercoaster’ alone.
!!! WHAT NEXT ???
A constant flow of gigs will make way for a tour of Europe next summer, playing with his valued bandmates: double bassist, Umberto Calentini and guitarist, bassist and percussionist, as well as producer, Tullio Ciriello.
As regards new music genres, he is open to exploring everything with emotional resonance — ‘anything that can evoke’. He will promote ‘Rollercoaster’ as much as possible, helped by a publicist friend.
Despite love of experiment, he still ‘tends towards the sad song’. His tour partner from some UK concerts last year praised his true gift for melancholia, yet suggested he could ‘cheer up’!
“ ‘Lost’ and ‘Roundhouse Blues’ (his favourite) are both perfect examples of my being a loner, and trying to find myself”, he affirms.
“Every three or four months, I try to find new music — my tastes change”.
His use of ‘find’ instead of ‘create’ again suggests a live explorer, who, having found himself, now interprets the world — at the instant of discovery.
Have there ever been any random things that have inspired him?
He describes meeting a New Zealander, on a Conticky Tour around Europe. Repeated group requests to play ended up outing a spectacular, yet relaxedly self-effacing and human talent, which inspired and encouraged, deeply.
“He was a big motivation”, continues David, who prizes modesty and humility as well as artistry. Is that humility liberating, removing the ego’s display-pressure, and enhancing outward vision?
!!! MUSIC OF THE LIGHT !!!
The authenticity of ‘Rollercoaster’ makes it beyond genre.
The focus on selfless parental love, in a sector of music where romantic love often dominates, reminds me of the shear emotion of melodic rocker Kim Wilde’s 1988 ‘You Came’ dedication to her niece.
The tint of halcyon-playground construction-in-the-sky reminds me of the fine art film ‘Spiral Jetty’, documenting Robert Smithson’s 1970 earthwork sculpture in Utah’s Great Salt Lake, where a summer’s day, and humming camera-plane, are heat-dazzled witnesses to a semi-unseen superstructure.
Life is both questing David’s music source, and the context that blows it to us — upstream, through a chain of sight, as we watch him observing his offspring, through the vintage shade that invites extrapolation — and adventure.
As George Tesla would have noted, his only way is forward.