David Gray embraces ‘old school’ recording techniques on latest album, ‘Draw the Line’ | – cleveland.com

David Gray embraces ‘old school’ recording techniques on latest album, ‘Draw the Line’

By John Soeder, The Plain Dealer

March 18, 2010, 11:25AM

davidgray.jpg“I crave the human elements — speeding up, slowing down, out of tune, the whole thing,” says David Gray, whose latest album, “Draw the Line,” was recorded mostly live in a studio.

If this singer-songwriter thing doesn’t work out, maybe David Gray could build you, say, an excellent chair.

“It’s just like making furniture, you know — making music,” he said.

“You either make good furniture that’s going to last for years, or you make stuff that falls apart after five months.”

From all indications, Gray’s music career is built to last. The British troubadour — who first made waves a decade ago with the hit “Babylon” — is on tour behind “Draw the Line,” his eighth album.

“I stuck to my guns with this one,” Gray said, reached by phone at home in London.

“We went back to old-school-style recording, live in the room. It was seat-of-your-pants stuff, and it’s so much better for it. There’s no point in me pulling it apart — other people do that for me. I’m delighted with it, really.”

Gray, 41, has been known to embellish his folk-rock songs with electronic touches, although lately, he has been getting back to a simpler sound.

PREVIEW

David Gray

When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 21.

Opener: Phosphorescent.

Where: State Theatre, Playhouse Square, Cleveland.

Tickets: $35-$45 at the box office, or charge by phone, 1-866-546-1353 or 216-241-6000.

“Maybe I’ll make a record using MIDI [musical instrument digital interface] and everything else electronic in five or 10 years, but at the moment, I crave the human elements — speeding up, slowing down, out of tune, the whole thing,” he said.

“The less fussy you can be, the better. When I listen to [vinyl] records at home, they sound so much better than anything on CD or MP3. Particularly MP3 — it sounds so hard when you turn it up, compared to a record, where you hear the warmth of the process.”

In a digital age, Gray is an analog kind of guy. Still, he isn’t above embracing technology during the recording process.

“Ultimately, the gist of the music is all that matters” he said.

“My most successful record [1998’s ‘White Ladder’] was made in my bedroom. It doesn’t sound like a million dollars, ’cause it was made for $1,000.

“It doesn’t matter how it sounds, just whether or not it has character. If someone makes a home recording on their laptop, and they capture something or some essence is there, it doesn’t matter which mike they used or how they mastered it or whether any analog was involved.”

When it comes to dashing off lyrics, Gray prefers pen and paper over a computer.

“I’m very backwards in many respects,” he said.

“I just like to scrawl. Having said that, I’ve got an iPhone, and when I’m out and about, it’s very handy for taking notes on the note paper they give you, the digital note paper. If there are words or phrases I want to remember, I can just put them on there, than I’ll have a catch-up and transcribe than all into my proper notebook for further scrutiny.

“Every couple of days, I’ll put down something. Most of them are dead ends. But I might see a phrase — for example, ‘a good problem to have’ — and I’ll think, ‘Oh, that could be a good song title.’ Sometimes it leads to more stuff.”

Posted via web from The LP Revival Blog

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~ by lprevival on March 19, 2010.

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