For David Rosales, the word 'sleep' barely seems to exist in his vocabulary. A self-proclaimed 'workaholic,' Rosales is coming off the release of his sophomore solo release, Along the Way, along with balancing being a father of his two year old daughter and a devoted husband. We had heard from Rosales earlier in 2013, which he embarked on his duo journey as a part of David & Olivia, and with his debut solo release in 2012, entitled Smile. However, now, the California-native is back with Along the Way, a 7-song EP that epitomizes Americana folk, country, and blues. During a brief stay on the East Coast, David Rosales spoke with Examiner.com's NY Music Examiner, Alexa Spieler, to discuss his latest album, the creative growth he's experienced, and how being a father has positively affected his musical creations.
AS: The big thing for you right now is Along the Way, which was released a couple of days ago. How was it transitioning from your solo record to David & Olivia and back to solo music?
DR: I feel like life is a big transition [laughs]. As long as you’re moving forward and growing, everything is good. So, I feel like that’s where I am, right now. I’ve just been growing a lot. For my first release, my solo release in 2012 – which was ˆSmile – I didn’t really know what I was doing. I had just written these songs that really weren’t meant for anybody but family and friends, really. They weren’t for mass consumption: they were just for me. Then, David & Olivia came about and I had written duets and I had a beautiful voice singing with me, with Olivia. I just love that I’m able to write with different genres – for duets or solos or whatever. With this one, it was really like, “Okay – I’m gonna write whatever comes to mind. I don’t care if it’s crap; I don’t care if it’s amazing. I’m just going to write and whatever’s going to come out is going to come out.” So, I gave myself that freedom and permission. As an artist, you’re always fine-tuning and knit-picking every little thing and usually if it’s not an amazing song, you’ll scrap it. This time, I would just record everything, because you never know when a horrible song is going to lead to the next best song you’ve ever written. I know a lot of authors and head-writers do that, so I took that mentality with this. I found a lot of growth within my songwriting. I didn’t just stick to one genre. I kinda went to indie rock and dream-folk to blues, to a bunch of different Americana genres. I really loved the opportunity to do that. I think that this is just really about freedom and growth.
AS: Do you think the first two projects helped you get to that point?
DR: I think that everything does. Yeah. We’ve went into this…as in, who are you inspired by or influenced by or sound like? I sound like everything that came before me and then mix it all together and filter it out through me. Of course, you learn something new about yourself with each recording process and I can’t wait to see what comes out next. I’ve already been writing songs.
AS: Do you ever stop or sleep?
DR: I sleep – sometimes. You know, I have a two-and-a-half year old, but she sleeps pretty good through the night. So, I do get my sleep. I’m a total workaholic and I love writing. I feel like, the more I write, the easier it is. It’s like…the more times you lift a weight, it just becomes easier and easier. It’s a beautiful thing and coming very easily and naturally to me. There’s better quality stuff coming out.
AS: You mentioned having a two year old. How do you balance it all?
DR: I don’t know! It’s crazy because my wife is a teacher, so she works during the day, and I work mostly at night, singing and playing. My parents will come out and watch my daughter, when I’m out on tour and help out. But, I’m a dad during the day. So, I’m the one going to story time and taking her to the park, and stuff like that. I think that it’s helped me immensely because there are a lot of dads who would love that opportunity – to be at home with their daughter. You mentioned it before, I don’t get a lot of sleep [laughs] because I do work so much. It’s like, I’m working two jobs, in a way. For instance, I wrote a long “Amelie’s Song” and it’s not your typical first verse, first chorus song. I just let it flow. But, it definitely builds up and there’s some lyrical content that I wouldn’t have been comfortable with five years ago or I wouldn’t have even had known how to written it, five years ago. But, now I feel like I’m at a place in my life as an artist, where I just don’t care. I come from a punk rock / rock background, so it’s almost like that punk-rock, DIY spirit. It’s like, “I don’t care and I’m gonna do it.” I don’t care what you say: I’m a dad.
AS: It must be also be nice since you don’t have someone to answer to.
DR: That’s the difference between being in a band, where it’s all equals. It was an amazing experience and I’m glad that I had that. When you’re in a band, it’s a very intimate thing and it’s like you’re married to all those guys. You’re dealing with a range of emotions and everyone’s baggage. Now, I don’t have to deal with that and I can do whatever I would like to, when I want to, and quickly. I like to work quick and I like to decide things quickly.
AS: I noticed that you’ve had a release come out every year for the first three years. Does it just come naturally to you?
DR: Yeah, like I said, going back to that – I think it’s become a bit easier. If you listen to my work prior to my solo stuff, it was a really hard-rock band thing, and I love writing like that, too. But, with ‘Smile’ it just came really easily. I had my daughter come along at that time, so it just opened this emotional well that I didn’t know was there. I’m going to write this stuff. Sure, a year ago I was writing about sex and death, but now I’m going to write about love and other topics, but it’s all very natural. I think that the human individual is a very complex creature and I think everybody is. So, these range of emotions and styles of writings, I think are beautiful. I mean, The Beatles didn’t stick to one writing style. Why should I?
AS: Let’s say 10 or 15 years from now, your daughter turns to you and says ‘I wanna get into the music industry.’ Will you be okay with that?
DR: You know what? She already sings really loud and she’s got a great scream. So, if she wanted to do metal or anything, pop star…I would say yes, definitely. Go for it. I just want her to be happy. If she wants to be a roller-derby girl or if she wants to be a big time lawyer, I just want her to be the best at whatever she is doing and be happy. That’s what I’m doing. I was a business major when I came out of school and I sat in an office and it just wasn’t for me. You know, I’ve done music from a really early age; throughout junior high and high school, I was in bands. I just decided that that environment, working in an office and putting out a product, was not my own. So, now, everything I put out, I put ownership over it.
AS: You mentioned California and growing up there. I noticed that this new release is very relaxed and laid-back. Do you think that’s very influenced by California?
DR: I think there’s no getting around that. I surf – a lot. Born and raised in Southern California and I’m from Los Angeles. I live at the beach now. So, there’s no getting around that surf-culture. Where I live is 90% of the surf industry – Orange County. You know, it definitely influences the way that I write. Like I said, I’m a build up of everything around me, so that’s around me a lot, so I’m probably going to have that vibe. The Eagles had that laid-back, California-country vibe thing. It’s like, if I were from here, New York, there would be a different kind of vibe in the music. I would love to do that – I would love to live in New York a little bit, down the road, and see what comes out.
For more on David Rosales, visit his official website.