Chicago Singer/Songwriter, Dave Tamkin, has called Boulder, CO his home for the last 8 years. He has created his own unique style of rhythmic-acoustic sounds that’s based around a fresh musical vision. His shows vary from intimate solo acoustic performances to a full band experience (Decibel Sound Company) encapsulating a mixture of personal lyrics and skilled songwriting set against a high-energy percussive backbone.
He’s shared the stage with Guster, The Samples, Rusted Root, Donavon Frankenreiter, Butch Walker, Freddy Jones Band, Eric Hutchinson, Willy Porter, Daphne Willis and Peter Mulvey to name a few. Tamkin has a style that’s hard to resist. His lyrics are unabashedly honest and his passion for playing is undying. This EP is a reflection of Dave’s passion to explore new arrangements and define himself as a songwriter. He recorded with Cedar Rapids, IA producers Dick Prall (DICKIE), Timothy King (Four Star Fate) & Boulder, Colorado’s composer and producer, Elliot Hunt (Alchel & Hunt). Expanding on his acoustic roots, Dave Tamkin takes his unique storytelling to collaborate with new orchestrations of back beats, electronic soundscapes, organic violins, percussion and acoustic guitars.
All online sales of the song Love Hope Strength will be donated to lovehopestrength.org. Songs on this EP are written and performed by Dave Tamkin along with a talented cast of songwriters and musicians. Cedar Rapid musicians, Dick Prall, Timothy King and Tyler Stuck. Chicago’s Kristina Priceman, Kevin Mileski and Gina Gonzalez. Colorado’s Chris Webb, Elliot Hunt and Kip Kuepper. Along with New York’s Saturday Night Live resident drummer, Shawn Pelton. We got to know Dave a bit better, and heard more about his journey while writing and recording his new EP. Enjoy our interview with Dave Tamkin right here on Entertwine!
Tell us about your upcoming EP release! What went into the making of this work? I started recording these songs with Dick Prall and Tim King in Cedar Rapids, IA last April. I live in Boulder, CO so I probably logged over 10,000 miles throughout 2016! Dick Prall made a fantastic album with his band DICKIE and Tim King two years ago and I wanted to emulate some of the sonic textures that they so brilliantly put together.
We started with the song Mary. I don’t think any of us were excepting it to turn out as haunting as it did. The lyrics tell a story about Mary, who haunts the location of her house that burnt to the ground. As we started to record each new song, Mary continued to make her presence known as we cultivated sonic elements of her song throughout the EP.
As more musicians entered the studio you could really see that music was being made, not just played. We took our time and made sure that everyone was heard when it came to innovative ideas. Demons and You was recorded second with the importance of it having to sound uplifting with lyrics that focused on a serious situation for the characters in the song.
Love Hope Strength is a song that hits close to home for me as I had recently lost my father in law. The non-profit of the same name connects people from all over the word in a single database for bone marrow transplants. I wanted to honor the cancer survivors, fighters and the families that stand by their loved ones when they are needed most. There is large cast of characters that not only helped me write this song but added their talent and expertise. I will forever be grateful.
Caught in Amber sounds like nothing I’ve ever done before. I brought this song to the table with different lyrics, tempo and melody. By the time, Dick and Tim had made their suggestions and turned this song upside down, I had to bring different verses to the table as the three of us hashed out a chorus that makes me feel good every time I hear it. This was a completely collaborative tune that has sections that could be used in our first EDM remix.
I wrote Rollercoaster years ago. As I’ve watched my music career, my friendships, my relationships and overall view of life, take their individual ups and downs, this song is more prevalent to me than ever. We slowed this song down so hopefully everyone could enjoy the ride.
Every musician on this album came from very different schools of songwriting and music in general. The collaboration of all that history and lack of ego is what really made this EP work in my opinion.
What is your main goal for this EP? What are you most proud of? My main goal was to expand the foundation of my songwriting from the last 15 years. I wanted to collaborate with someone who had a completely unique style that contrasted my own and agree that we wouldn’t finish a recording until we were both completely happy with it. I wanted to walk away from this project proud regardless of what others might think of it. I accomplished that with the friends that helped make this EP possible. I’m most proud of the song Love Hope Strength and that we can donate all the online sales of that song to www.lovehopestrength.org.
What would you say was the most challenging part of writing and recording this EP was? The most challenging part of recording this EP was getting out of my own way. I’m comfortable on a stage. I don’t feel the same in the studio. I play guitar very percussively and that is not always called for in a studio session. I had to take a step back and hear the music differently as Dick Prall took a conductor/producer roll on three of the songs. There were many times that I didn’t like the direction we were going but loved the destination. Dick Prall built beautiful orchestrations that I would have never been able to come up with on my own. Tim King is inspiring as a multi-instrumentalist as he is an engineer. The two of them made this project worth every mile!
Besides the release, what is next for you in 2017? I have a few dates in London and Dublin this summer and more dates are being added weekly. I’ve never been over the pond and I seriously can’t wait to get there.