Interview: David Baloche

May 15 2017

Artist and composer David Baloche, son of award winning worship leader/songwriter Paul Baloche, has released 'Labyrinth', his contemplative, scripture-based debut album. LTTM caught up with David to find out more about the album, and what it's like working with his Dad.

For those who haven't heard of you before, tell us a bit about yourself and how you started making music?

I grew up with musicians, composers, and songwriters, my mother singing harmonies in my ear at church, my dad playing the music theory game, realtime takedowns of songs. I started with piano lessons as a kid, transitioned to bass guitar, and took up French Horn in middle school. When I began producing and composing music after college, I built upon that foundation: my basic piano skills transferred to synthesizers; French Horn naturally led to trumpet, tuba, and euphonium; my curiosity and audacity led me to woodwinds like clarinet and saxophone. Equipped with a rudimentary understanding of music theory, a decent grasp of recording technology, an amateur-level proficiency in various instruments, and no burning desire to pursue a music career, I felt empowered and excited to follow wherever my heart and ears took me.

How would you describe the concept behind your 'Labyrinth' album?

When we first set out to create Labyrinth, the primary objective was to address anxiety - scriptures that speak to anxiety, music that soothes, &c. And while I hope these songs will offer comfort during times of chaos and despair, I don’t intend the music to be a salve or an opiate, a way to escape our problems; rather, the songs are a reminder that as we journey through life’s labyrinths, we are not alone.

Which is your favourite track on the album and why?

Tough choice, but I’ll go with Nothing Can Separate. I like the darkness and intensity of the verses and how it breaks through the clouds in the chorus. I like the crazy orchestration and juxtaposition of clarinet, synth, cello, and pedal steel. I like the hypnotic arpeggiator and the almost monastic repetition of “nothing can separate us from God’s love.” I find it very empowering.

Your Dad Paul Baloche was involved in the project too, what was it like working with him?

I’ve been working with my pops my whole life. All his songs are filtered through the gauntlet that is the Baloche family. We’re a tough audience. The tables were turned this time around. I enjoyed critical feedback from the whole family, trusting their instincts without compromising my own vision.

Who else in the music industry would you most like to work with?

Steve Reich. His compositions are hypnotic, transcendent, otherworldly, and despite the seeming complexity, astonishingly simple. I’d love to step into his sound laboratory.

How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?

I consider myself first and foremost a folk artist. That is to say, I call upon tradition. Before I sing a note, I ask, “Is this poetry?” If pop is a flower, folk is an evergreen: it doesn’t call much attention to itself, but it weathers winters and storms, it sustains.

My influences are extremely diverse, and it’s not unusual for me to touch on each of these genres/artists in a single day. Classical: Satie, Debussy, Dvorak, and Beethoven. Jazz: John Coltrane, Sarah Vaughan, Miles Davis, and Dave Brubeck. Indie/Electronic: Bon Iver, S. Carey, James Blake, Sylvan Esso. R&B/HipHop: Chance, Kendrick, D’Angelo, Kanye. Country/Americana/Folk: Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Gabe Dixon, Punch Brothers. Pop: Jack Ü, Major Lazer, Rihanna, Justin Timberlake.

How would you define success in your career?

Finding satisfaction and purpose in my bread-and-butter industry so that I create art without compromising my vision, sacrificing my life, or chasing that ever-dangling carrot.

What is your favorite album of all time?

Chet Baker Sings

You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your mp3 player. What track is it?

If I have no hopes of getting off the island, I’d say Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, Op.11. If there might be a chance at survival, One Headlight by The Wallflowers.

What does the next year hold for David Baloche?

Recording Labyrinth Vol. 2 this summer, teaching rhetoric to high schoolers, and applying to law school.

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