Marked by a desire for directness, David M. Western reflects on “On, On & On”

With a strong dose of minimalist charm, & down to earth goodness, we talk to David M. Western about creativity & On, On & On

If his latest single drop ‘You Remind Me of a Friend‘ is anything to go by, David M. Western’s awaited sophomore release, “On, On & On,” is set to be a pure distillation of minimalist indie folk at its finest.

Hailing from Heywood, Victoria, his music reflects the town’s quiet simplicity. An average day finds him lost in daydreams and garden melodies.

David M Western

In this album, youth, love, and the journey into adulthood take center stage. Influenced by musical greats like John Prine and Big Thief, Western weaves vivid narratives of introspection and growth.

Tracks like “You Remind Me Of A Friend” and “Wrong” resonate with universal experiences of parting ways and longing for a different reality.

Recorded in bursts of solitary inspiration, the album retains a raw, unvarnished quality. The process, marked by a desire for directness, reflects Western’s vision of an authentic sonic experience.

“On, On & On” is a musical companion for those navigating life’s twists and turns, offering a comforting guide through its chapters.

With minimalist charm and down-to-earth authenticity, we chat to David M. Western about his “On, On & On.”

Happy: What are you up to today?

David: Today I have been mowing the lawns and shaping the hedges of the elite and esteemed. 

Happy: Tell us about where you are from? What’s the scene like in your neck of the woods?

David: I am from Heywood Victoria. Heywood is a puny country town in the South West farming region of the state. I would describe the scene in that neck of the woods as quiet, simple and patient. 

Through my many years of watching films and reading books I would love to imagine it as having a dark underbelly however I think what you see with Heywood is what you get. Comfortable and lovely. With beachy paradise not far away.

Happy: Describe an average day? 

David: An average day is day dreaming, pensive and pretty mundane, but in a good way. I’ll probably be listening to an audiobook at work or singing to myself while doing some gardening. I try and play music for a couple hours each day. 

At writing this, I’m currently in the midst of organising a tour across the country so an average day at the moment comprises of a mind numbing attachment to my gmail.

Happy: What did you listen to growing up that fueled your passion for music?

David: I discovered Bob Dylan around 13 or 14. There was no looking back from there. Any further fuel came from discovering the world of Elliott Smith. 

I had some friends in highschool who were always a few steps ahead of me on guitar as well which spurred me on constantly. Anything they could play or whatever they were listening to was my oxygen.


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Happy: Can you share some insights into the creative process behind your forthcoming album “On, On & On”? What were some of the key influences and experiences that shaped its sound?

David: It was a time of reflection, excitement and humility. I am a writer who works in bursts, and I remember at this time I knew that if I sat down I’d be able to write a song no worries.

I’d then record demos in my shack in my backyard (pictured on the front and rear covers of my album).

At the time I craved being alone. I would work alone all day as a gardener then bolt into my shack with a six pack and play guitar and sing and write for hours, then do it again the next day. 

This process lasted maybe 3 or 4 months then before I knew it I was sending demos to my mixing and recording engineer who’s also one of my best mates Gormie. 

We started having conversations of ‘looks like we’re ready to hit the studio’. 

We wanted a rawness, and a directness in the sound. I wanted it to all be played live and sound not dissimilar from Desire by Bob Dylan. 

I needed everything to facilitate the words going straight through the listeners skull and cut through the crap. 

There’s not much fat on this album, everything is to the point and concise.

Happy: The album explores themes of youth, love, friendship, and adulthood. Could you elaborate on how these themes resonate with your personal experiences and why you chose to delve into them in this project?

David: It was the only stuff that was coming up. Nothing in this album was a choice, I saw what I wanted and knew the exact steps in between that could lead me to that result. 

It was a time of direct understanding of who I was and what I wanted musically and thematically.

But I couldn’t explain how it happened, I’m just lucky and proud that I gave myself the world I had at the time to express myself so intimately about things that happen to everybody.

Happy: Which specific tracks from “On, On & On” do you feel particularly connected to, and why?

David: I feel deeply connected to ‘You Remind Me Of A Friend’ and ‘Wrong’. I think there is a universality to those songs that everyone can dig something from for themselves.

 ‘You Remind Me Of A Friend’ talks about two people going separate ways, but not realising until something triggers a memory of that time. 

And ‘Wrong’ is interesting because we always try so hard to be ‘in the right’ but sometimes when it comes to heartbreak, we wish that our reality was completely different, and what we know to be true we wish was wrong.

Happy: Drawing inspiration from musical legends like John Prine and Big Thief, how do you navigate the balance between paying homage to your influences and creating something entirely your own?

David: I think about it as little as possible. If they’re an influence they’ll come up whether I like it or not, and I think that’s how I create something entirely my own. 

The only time I ever draw inspiration is usually a musical idea. Maybe a fingerpicking pattern on a guitar, or a cool idea for a harmony, but that’s about as far as I take things from other artists.

Happy: We love the visualizer for “You Remind Me Of A Friend”? How does it complement the essence of the song?

David: It just emphasises the familiarity of friendship and love. You’re basically hanging out with me for a day doing what people do. 

But it’s shot in a way that seems nostalgic, like its something in the past, so you’re straddling past and present. 

Happy: Reflecting on your dreams of a vibrant future and a life well-lived, how do these aspirations manifest in the musical landscape of “On, On & On”?

David: They shine through in the moments of thankfulness and clarity. There’s lots of lessons from the trials and tribulations that I sing about, but then there’s also the groundedness of my childhood, my friends and family, and new loves and new beginnings. 

The album is rarely bogged down in a woe-is-me mindset. If the listener gives this album a listen they’ll hear parts of their own past in the songs, and know what they took from those times into their future. That I can guarantee!

Happy: Are there any standout moments or experiences during the creation of this album that you’d like to share with your listeners?

David: During the recording of ‘Wrong’, there was this tropical, apocalyptic thunderstorm. It made it impossible to record vocals so we just did the band and decided to do vocals later. 

What happened was that as we were going through this take this storm went to another level.

I should mention at this point Gormie’s (engineer) studio is basically a glorified soundproofed tree house, and it was just shaking, like rumbling.

It was freaky. But we were nailing this take at the same time looking at each other in astonishment at the sound we were making, then to see Gormie huddled over, furrowed brow, closed fist but for an extended pointer finger rolling around as to say “do not. Stop. playing.”

We got through the take and sat in silence for about ten seconds afterwards in silence. It was that crazy of a storm. 

Then we listened back for the first time and just laughed. I think we actually captured some thunder which you can hear if you listen really really intently.

Shoulda called the track Bottled Lightning. 

Happy: As listeners embark on their own coming-of-age journeys, what do you hope they take away from the experience of immersing themselves in “On, On & On”?

David: I hope they find a voice of comfort and understanding. I would hope that this album serves well as a companion to someone trying to find their feet after a lot of change – a bit of a travel guide.

Happy: What makes you happy?

David: Creativity baby.