Interview with local musicians David Dunn
by Michelle Mann
David Dunn is a young band based out of Oklahoma City. Their manager Chad Davis describes them as “a versatile band, balancing a gorgeous acoustic sound perfect for small, intimate settings with an energetic, passionate, rock feel during larger shows.”
I met David Dunn at the Red Cup Café in Oklahoma City after an hour of “acoustic-y goodness.” Performing that night were guitarist and lead singer, David Dunn; keyboardist and vocalist, Nathan Mickle; and bassist and vocalist, Sam Holiday. Personable and friendly, the members of David Dunn are some the most down to earth entertainers I’ve ever met. After seeing their show at the Red Cup, there is no doubt in my mind that David Dunn’s new album will be well received.
Samples of their music and a tour schedule can be found at http://www.myspace.com/daviddunn.
VOK: Can you tell me a brief history of the band?
David: I started doing music in college. I put out a CD my senior year, then went to Africa for some micro-financing. I worked on some humanitarian projects. I’m actually a petroleum engineer by degree, which is obviously why I got into music, because I don’t really want to be an engineer. We have only been together about a month and a half, but we really want to keep it up.
VOK: What do you think about the Oklahoma music scene? Where do you think it’s going?
David: My experience thus far is that it’s a very untapped market. There’s a whole lot of people who like music here, but not a whole lot of people really doing it. There’s not many that do what we do. I mean, I’ve never met anyone that sounds like us. It’s either super hard rock or “cowboy.”
Nathan: Or really, really indie. I think Oklahoma is a very good place to base a band because it’s centrally located on the map. We would like to branch out more but stay based in OKC.
VOK: What advice would you give to fellow bands?
David: Honestly, once you get in the music business you’re basically a salesmen, so we spend most of our time selling ourselves… in a totally non-prostitution way.
Sam: The one thing I always say is that if one person likes our show and buys a CD, then it was worth it. If one person likes it and comes back, it was worth it. We love getting new people and new venues to hear us.
David: If ten more are there and like it, it starts the domino effect.
VOK: What do you think are some of the biggest obstacles for bands?
Nathan: Finding gigs and being able to book a place. You have to record a CD and play gigs, so we have distributed demos. So, get a high quality CD out there and get a following.
David: Yeah. The largest thing is distribution. We have a really good CD. Of course, I’m biased because it’s my own. When we come to places like this, we have to convince people that it’s high enough quality and not something made on my computer. We are competing with everyone. We are competing with Gavin Degraw because he has a good CD too, and its only $10 also. So we have to convince them that ours is worth buying.
VOK: Who writes the songs? What are they about?
David: I write all the songs.
Chad: They are mostly about girls that don’t know they are about them.
David: Yeah. I’m kind of a creeper without being creepy.
Sam: David writes all the songs, then shows them to us the day before we have to play them. Everyone else knows them except for us, the band.
David: In my defense, it was one of the songs on the new album and it was barely finished.
VOK: What are your goals as a band?
David: Right now it’s just name recognition. I want a third of all the students in this metroplex area and college campuses to know us within the next two years.
Nathan: Music is all I’ve got as far as life goes. This is the only thing that makes sense to me right now. I like to eat, and my goal is to make enough money to survive.
Sam: I’ve been playing in bands since 7th grade, and I’ve always wanted to go on tour. I think this music ‘s good enough that we can do it, and next year we’re going to give it a decent shot.
Chad: I just want them to be successful and humble.
VOK: What’s your outlook on the recording industry today?
David: Most of the record companies are going down in smoke in the next couple of years because they are losing money. I think a lot of artists sign record deals just because they want to sign a record deal. The record companies come along and say, “Hey, we’ll sign you and you book your own shows, you promote your own material, you put up your own recording costs and we’ll take half your money.” Really, you get no say in the record deal. The only way we would sign now is if they are marketing and pushing our material.
VOK: What inspires you to do what you do?
David: It’s what I love to do. I love music. Honestly, I like the attention. I like to interact with crowds. I’m dodging engineering.
Nathan: Music is my everything. If music was taken away, I don’t know if I could go on. If I never stop doing music, it would be a perfect world.
Chad: I like taking on other people’s problems and making them my own. So I really want to see them succeed.
Sam: If people are having a good time at our show, I’m happy.