RELATION (one-man project previously known as RELATIONSHIP ISSUES) has just released a new record via Pinhead Records! Kentucky-based Dustin Davis is one of my coolest pen mates and I couldn’t pass up the chance to arrange another chit-chat with him. You can read it all below.
Summing up his latest musical endeavors, all you need to know is that in April, Pinhead Records released his first “LP”, “Places Are Everywhere“. The records displayed Dustin’s technicality and imaginative micro-melodies that had been seeking a release since RELATION‘s third EP, “Human”. In June 2014, RELATION released a collection of B-sides and ‘C-sides’, “On an Unrelated Note“. Since, Davis has been working on a second LP entitled, “Dreams Within Dreams“. Two songs from “Dreams Within Dreams” hit the Web 5 days ago via Pinhead Records:
Mr Davis! Long time, no see! It’s been over a year since our last talk! What’s up? How are you? I bet many things have happened since then, haven’t they? :)
Long time, no see indeed! I’m so glad to get the opportunity to speak with IDIOTEQ once again!
I’ve been well in this last year. A lot of working and a lot of studying though. Can’t say that I have maintained my typical annual musical output this year, but what I did release makes up in quality what I’ve lacked in quantity!
In April 2013, Pinhead Records released RELATION’s debut LP, “Places Are Everywhere”.
In June, I self-released a collection of RELATION’s B-sides entitled, “On an Unrelated Note.”
Since then, I have been working non-stop on RELATION’s second LP, “Dreams Within Dreams”.
Oh, and Pinhead Records is releasing a single from the upcoming LP on January 10th! The single will be entitled, “It’s a Nightmare”.
On both the B-sides collection and the new single, my very talented and very good friend Ethan Gilstrap supplied the artwork. I’m forever indebted!
How is the winter treating you on the other side of the pond?
Very well, Dustin! My wife gave birth to my lovely daughter, Sophie, so it’s all about her since December 17th. It’s really exciting and I can’t find the words to describe it. She’s my first child you know :)
So how was your holiday?
That’s wonderful! I’m very happy for you and your wife! I’m sure you both are super proud.
My holiday was great, although I’m definitely back to work now. Had Christmas with both mine and my girlfriend’s families. She went all out this year, as she bought me the surf-green Fender stratocaster I’ve wanted since I saw those 90’s videos of Tom DeLonge playing his. I must’ve been in seventh or eighth grade. Aaaand of course, she got a beautiful set of pearls.
Nice one bro! :) I was just about to ask you about this sweet Fender Custom Shop 1960′s Stratocaster you mentioned last year!
Alright, getting back to RALTION(SHIP ISSUES) :) How come you decided to change the name? I remember your saying that ‘if the name becomes extremely familiar, it’s gonna stay the same forever’. Come on! You did become popular! What happened ;)
Oh yes, I was super stoked! When a girl gets you a stratocaster, you’ve found a winner. Haha.
As far the name change goes, it was really spur of the moment thing. I believe it was March 2013 when it got changed. I had nearly completed “Places Are Everywhere” and I really felt that the band name “RELATIONSHIP ISSUES” *didn’t quite fit the ultimate plans for what the band was to become. I shortened the name to simply, “RELATION”.
I think the previous name had some quality to it that didn’t fit the major themes that I write about. Though I have written a lot of love songs, I’ve got a few more things to talk about! The name “RELATION” doesn’t carry any room for preconceptions to the first-time listener.
Luckily, RI fans didn’t get confused. :)
Ok, so RELATION is having a release via Pinhead Records very soon. Are you still about crossing the boundaries of what ‘is’ and ‘is not’ punk on a rather traditional punk label this time as well?
Ohhhh yes. My upcoming LP, “Dreams Within Dreams” and it’s first single, “It’s a Nightmare” (out January 10th!) you’ll see just how eratic my songwriting has been. Pinhead Records is a great organization with a lot of talented bands from around the world and I’m eternally grateful Pinhead Dylan is letting me put out my work on his label.
No plans to break up with him? ;)
I believe it’s a match made in heaven! Ha! No way!
You stated that being 9 months since your last release, this is the longest window of production on an album the band has ever had. Well then what have you been doing all these months? :)
After releasing “Places Are Everywhere”, I had gradually built up an arsenal of new recording gear. New mics, headphones, interfaces, software. I had started the sessions for “Dreams Within Dreams” in the middle of aquiring gear, so many songs have and keep getting reworked to fit with the new recording capabilities. The final versions of the LP sessions are just now starting to surface, so AFTER BEING TWO MONTHS LATE, it’s almost done!
What software are you mainly using right now, when you’re making music? And in regards to the production process, are you still doing it all by yourself or is there a small team or a professional producer behind you now?
I actually use Mixcraft 5.2 to do almost all of my recording work. The first DAW software I became familiar with was Garageband. It was in a class in highschool. Up until that point, I recorded everything on an old four-track cassette recorder, the same one my older brother and his band would record with in 1995! After high school, I wanted software with an interface similar to Garageband. Mixcraft was perfect. I’ve been using it ever since. I keep learning new tricks with it, so I feel no need to do a complete switch to protools or anything quite yet.
As it always has been, every studio session has only three people present: me, myself and I. I write the words and music, perform instruments and vocals and try to achieve the best mix possible. All RELATION/SHIP ISSUES’ releases were produced in my home with pretty much zero collaboration. That doesn’t mean I prefer it this way. I would still like to find bandmates, but for right now, I think this lone-cowboy approach is best. I have a lot to say on these next releases.
Alright Mister, but what about your live shows? You can’t become pregnant all by yourself!
Exactly! Since I have no band members but myself, I have to ‘sterilize’ my live shows. It’s usually just me and my acoustic guitar performing simplified versions RELATION/SHIP ISUES songs and Bob Dylan/John Lennon covers. My live performances are sparse as of late and usually involved with community events so I don’t get to sing the songs I really wanna. Haha. Someday all this will change though!
Any specific plans to evolve?
I do seek to find band members after I finish my studies. I want to start playing shows up the American east coast. Possibly the midwest as well. This will be in 2015 though. I do have two side projects with my friends. A folk duo with a lady friend and a ‘LIGHTNING BOLT‘ type thing with another fella. Neither of these projects are near completion yet though.
As far as finding members for RELATION, thats gonna be in 2015.
Ok Dustin. Let’s forget about the music for a while. How’s your fascination with science and computer technology doing? How’s your education? :)
Alongside recording the new LP, I have been studying for a lot of vendor-neutral certifications in the network security field. Looking to land my dream job sometime this year. I probably spend thirty hours a week studying, so it has definitely cut into the music-making time. I have many loves and they are all equal to me.
Really? So when will you finish your Master’s of computer science? :)
I’ve actually abandoned the university route of education (after receiving my Associates) and have pursued getting IT certifications. They show expertise in specific areas and can help you find a job more quickly. And it’s much cheaper!
So what are your predictions and wishes for music technology in 2014?
That’s hard to say. We can listen to any song we want, anywhere and at anytime, as long as you have a smartphone and Spotify installed. Well, and 4G. Music is everywhere. I dont believe DIY groups have ever had such opportunity as they do now. Also, modern digital technology has allowed us to do so much more with music than ever in human history. I can’t say that I’m excited for any new technology, but I CAN say that I am excited to see where we go from here. Every chapter in the history of rock and roll or popular music has had its own distinctive identity. What comes next?
The grand return of cassettes and walkmen! ;)
TAnd how about your personal goals for this year?
My personal goals this year are simply to make music, get my certifications, and to continue to learn and grow as a person. Not too much to ask, right?
Not too much, indeed :)
Dustin, thank you for another interview! Thank you very much for giving us more insight. Is there anything you would like to add?
It was my pleasure!
In closing, I’ll leave with this. Keep your eyes peeled for the single, “It’s a Nightmare” and it’s LP, “Dreams Within Dreams”. You might just like it!
Also! Ethan Gilstrap provided the cover-art for “On an Unrelated Note” and “It’s a Nightmare”. He’s an very talented cartoonist/graphic artist from my area, a cool guy, easy to work with and extremely imaginative. He is just starting up in the world of commissioned art and is eager to work with anyone out there who needs a good album cover!