Davey Lane found fame and success as the lead guitarist in You Am I, but late last year he stepped out as a solo artist with his 22 minute EP The Good Borne of Bad Tymes. The EP was lauded and lead single You’re The Cops and I’m The Crime earned a lot of triple j airtime. Now Davey is back with a full length record, Atonally Young, and a trippy new film clip for lead single Komarov, chronicling the ride of a doomed Russian space voyage. Cam Warner caught up with Davey ahead of the release of Atonally Young.
As part of your Pozible crowd funding campaign you offered to make a fan a hand made guitar, did that pan out?
No nobody opted for that particular prize. I’m slightly relieved actually because I’ve built a couple of guitars before and it really is three months solid work.
How did you learn how to build guitars?
Well I’m a big fan of Brian May the guitar player from Queen, and his guitar the Red Special he built for himself when he was 15. So a few years ago I thought, I’ve been playing guitar forever but I have no idea what goes into making one. So me and a friend got together and built a copy of the Brian May guitar, it was a lot of work but well worth it. I got a pretty good guitar out of it.
Did you see Queen when they were out recently with Adam Lambert?
Yes I did and actually through making that guitar I met a friend who about 15 years ago restored the original Red Special. He’s a friend of Brian and when they played in Melbourne I was lucky enough to go backstage and spend about half an hour with Brian. As a guitar nerd it was probably the greatest night of my life. He was such a lovely bloke, they say don’t meet your heroes but Brian’s an exception to the rule I think.
When you started with You Am I gaining funding for an album would have been very different, this record is literally funded by the fans, how does that feel as an old school musician?
Well I was kind of weighing up my options before I jumped into the Pozible thing, one half of me thought that artists like myself are doing it by ourselves now and there are no record companies that will throw some money at you to go into a studio and make a record, so it is a great way to have people who like your music directly involved in the process. The other half of me kind of thought is it a little too presumptuous to think that people are going to give me money, they have no idea what the record sounds like. It might’ve ended up being a pile of shit for all they knew, but obviously I was going to try to make a record that wasn’t shit. The Pozible thing did turn out really well though and I was really happy, considering I don’t really have a fan base so to speak. Well you must have some sort of fan base if you got thousands of dollars to make a record. I think I’ve just got a lot of generous family and friends.
You’ve been doing this solo thing for about a year now, does it become easier with time or were you comfortable with it from the get go?
It’s something I’m into, I’ve still always had You Am I in my life and obviously that’s a completely different kettle of fish entirely. And I fronted another band The Pictures too, who were kind of a democratic band and another thing entirely again, so I am enjoying being able to spread my wings stylistically in that I’m not tied down to one group’s genre. There’s no expectation as to what a record with my name on it should sound like and that comes with a lot of freedom.
Komarov the first single off your forthcoming album is a dark, spacey, psychedelic affair, is the whole album in that vein or did it just aid the subject matter of the song?
I’m sure the subject matter lent to it, that song was always going to be like that. I was really into the Soviet Space project as a kid and the doomed mission of Komarov, I kind of had tunnel vision when it came to everything so I never went half hearted at anything. The record is a real mixed bag of styles though. There are a couple of other songs rooted in that psychedelic space-rock genre, then there’s one track that’s almost late ‘70s early ‘80s Talking Heads kind of stuff or Grand Master Flash. It was nice to dip our toe into a range of different styles to see what we could come up with.
The film clip to Komarov was done with Danny Wild of Zonk Vision who has done awesome work with King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and The Murlocs, is he as free thinking as his film clips lead me to believe?
I think so, I spent a bit of time with him and he just seems like a really switched on young guy. Aesthetically I love all the stuff that Zonk do, and I thought the song really fits it well with what those guys do.
You launched your solo career at Bigsound last year, what do you think of the festival?
To be honest anything that’s too industry focused it is not for me, I’m happy to live in my little bubble where I just make and listen to records. It’s a necessary evil, sometimes you do have to know the ins and outs of, I hate to use the word, industry. It’s fine, to me there are just too many record company dudes walking around with lanyons, it’s too business oriented and I don’t have a brain for that kind of thing. Last time I was there I got to catch up with some friends who were playing and that was fun. But I don’t put too much emphasis on it. If your music has a big sound scope it can be hard to translate when you’ve only got five minutes to set up. The sets are so short that by the time the sound guy is on top of everything and you get into a rhythm it’s probably your last song. But at the same time I like that pressure, it has its’ pros and its’ cons.
So when can we see you live?
I think I’ll be doing some East Coast shows late October early November, unfortunately gone are the days where you can get in the Tarago and tour for a month especially if you’re funding it yourself. We’d like to get over to Perth but we’ll see how the East Coast shows go. Atonally Young is due out October 3rd and you can expect Davey to announce a string of East Coast dates real soon.
In the meantime check out Komarov’s awesome film clip.