Take That First Step: An Interview with David Boyd

Take a decade-long career of writing and playing rock music for mostly major labels, mix in the isolation of a global pandemic and with a pinch of fatherhood comes brand new music from David Boyd.

It’s difficult to articulate the excitement of a new project without sounding like your past experiences weren’t enough. How do you explain that you’ve loved your journey so far, but that it had its ups and downs?

“There's no right way to do it,” Boyd said. “You just have to have a vision, you have to love what you do, and do it wholeheartedly and take that first step. I think as you take steps you start to get answers as you go.”

Personally and professionally, Boyd is in an entirely different headspace than even a few years ago. Long gone are the days of living in Brooklyn with New Politics bandmates Søren Hensen and Louis Vecchio, and instead are days shared with his wife and daughter in Atlanta or Los Angeles. That doesn't mean that this is the end of an old project; this is another outlet to let creativity shine.

This project may seem brand new, and that is because technically it is. Boyd released his first single, “Stay or Walk Away”, this past June. His second and third singles, “Ambush” and “Waste Away”, were released in August but have origin stories that go back a handful of years.

Like many touring artists, there are just some nights where sleeping on a tour bus doesn’t come naturally. One night, Boyd found himself in the back lounge quietly strumming a chord progression he couldn’t get out of his head and whispering lyrics into the Voice Memos app on his iPhone. He titled that demo “Roses Are Not Red” and honestly never went back to it. It’s a perfectly normal occurrence as a songwriter, but stumbling across that phone a few years later proved to be yet another sign that it was time for Boyd to release music.

He played the demo for producer Cobe Jones who immediately felt goosebumps form. Boyd hadn’t even planned on playing the demo for him because of its overall quiet and incomplete manner, but that is exactly what Jones loved about it. Before they knew it, it became “Waste Away”.

“Ambush” was first demoed right before the pandemic and initially shown to his bandmates before deciding that it wasn’t a fit for the three of them. Vecchio, however, felt the same type of goosebumps that Jones felt on “Waste Away” and demanded that he play drums on the final track. It’s the perfect example of how the brotherhood is still as strong as ever, but a different type of strong than before.

Releasing music as a solo artist also gives Boyd the opportunity to dive into any genre. If we, as music lovers, can listen to playlists that span pop, rock, country, R&B, jazz and more, why can’t artists have that same luxury? Boyd sees this as his moment to reflect on who he is as a human being and all the experiences that have made him who he is today while also experimenting with all forms of music.

“Even though I'm two months into the project it's like I've got my work cut out for me,” Boyd said. “I've got this fire back... it's not like I lost it, it just got a little blurry. New Politics became overwhelming in a sense - not that it wasn't fun and that I don't love it and will want to do it forever - but I think this is the universe trying to put things in perspective for us to figure out in the future when the timing’s right. Right now it works; it's just working so easy for me to do my solo project. It's just naturally happening, there’s no effort.”

The pace and lifestyle of being a solo artist is what currently works best for Boyd. He is enjoying life as a husband, as a first time father, and can’t commit to the same grueling schedule of touring 360 days out of the year or having an open availability to be in the studio. It wouldn’t be fair to anyone involved to have to work around his schedule, so for the time being his schedule is his and his alone.

“I don't think I would have been able to figure it out without [the repercussions of the global pandemic] to be honest because the shutdown really gave me the space, isolation and time to put my thoughts down and figure everything out and come to these conclusions that I also feared to accept,” he said. “I'm starting to see this new light on everything. There’s challenges like I never expected would have come doing it independently but also I love that as well.”

In terms of being a solo artist releasing songs independently, challenge accepted. David Boyd has spent the last decade learning the ways of the music industry through the eyes of a major label, and in hindsight is using those experiences to try things his way. Sometimes it feels like juggling with one hand, but he wouldn’t change anything. This new creative outlet is exactly what he needed, and the journey ahead is just as bright as ever.