A founding member of late 90s guitar pop cult favorites, Gladhands, and lead singer/songwriter/guitarist for Chapel Hill- based The Stars Explode (2007-2017), DB Edmunds begins a new chapter in his musical journey, this time as a solo artist. Life’s Wild Ride, his debut EP, drops on 9/9/22!
What was the moment you knew you were on to something?
I’m not sure I’ve ever truly thought I was “onto something!” But I have always believed in the power of a good melody and great hook, so whenever I come up with those combined with strong lyrics, I’m happy.
How did this record come together?
Started it in the fall 2019, the Before Times, and like so many things these last two years, it evolved and mutated in the wake of the global pandemic. Intended to do the whole record in an actual recording studio, my old digs at Overdub Lane where I worked with Gladhands some 25 years ago. But alas, Covid forced me to finish it at home and via trading files with the very talented Brian Dennis, who fleshed all the tunes out with his brilliant guitar and keyboard magic.
The meaning of success has changed over the years. What would success look like for the new record?
Some airplay on key stations in various markets – which to my delight, has already started to happen, at WXPN in Philadelphia; some nice reviews in major outlets and online; people showing up at live gigs. I have very modest expectations. But I do keep waiting for the call from Harry Styles to open dates on his 2023 leg…ha ha!
How great is the urge to stay creative? To keep writing songs and lyrics?
I would die without being able to continue creating music. It is truly my lifeblood.
As an artist, you choose to show your emotions to the world. Is it always comfortable to do so?
Not always, but songs can be misleading – sometimes they are impressionistic in nature, not literal. Mine are a mix of both…but I’m not telling which songs are which!
You can pick 3 co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?
Wow, that’s a tough one. Most obvious choice would be my life-long inspiration Paul Weller. Secondly I would say McCartney, because, I mean…duh! Amy Winehouse would have run a close 3rd…or Bowie…😢
What’s the gig you will always remember? And why?
Playing the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco, opening for Ben Folds Five at the height of their success with my band Gladhands was a thrill. As far as seeing a gig, #1 might always be seeing Jeff Buckley live on the early leg of his Grace tour, December ’94.
When was the last time you thought ‘I just wrote a hit!’?
I have thought that a few times over the years and never been right! Ha ha! So I don’t wanna jinx myself on this record…
Playing music in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?
Look, I love recording and being in studios. But there is nothing quite like feeding off the energy of a crowd. It’s a communal experience based on mutual love of good music and creative expression.
Suppose you were to introduce your music to new listeners through three songs. Which songs would those be and why?
I honestly think the first three songs on my new EP are a great introduction to my music, the range of styles it encompasses, the focus on strong melodies and killer hooks.
If you could tour the world with two other bands, who would you ask, and why?
Definitely Paul Weller & his crew, simply because he’s been a hero and personal inspiration of mine since I was a teenager. Would have loved going on tour with Foo Fighters because I saw them on their first American tour in a small club and again in 2017 in an arena and just loved their energy and positivity. I started my musical life as a drummer, so Dave and Taylor have also been huge influences. Like many, I was completely gutted when Taylor died.
Those magical moments when you’re working in the studio. Which moment was the most magical?
Too many to mention since I’ve been making records for a long time now! But if I had to pick one from the sessions that produced this debut solo EP, I would have to say listening to playback of Side By Side – at a very high volume – after I had layered all the vocals on the choruses. My producer and I were pretty jazzed at how things were starting to sound at that point.
The record is done, the music is out. Is the best fun done now or is it just beginning?
Well, the fun is just beginning because the EP drops in a couple weeks, on September 9th! I can’t wait to share it with the world. That said, and as I mentioned earlier for the question about playing in front of an audience, as much as I love performing, I do think one of my happiest places is recording music and sculpting the songs in a real studio, not at home in front of a computer, but in a space dedicated to the art of making records. And yeah, I still call them records and still buy most everything on vinyl! Which is partly why the EP is available on gorgeous ocean blue 180 gram vinyl!