Catching Up With: David Tanklefsky

I met David Tanklefsky how I meet most musicians…at a show. However, something he did was different than most. Sure, he was genuine and sincere in person, but he then followed up just to say hi and that it was great meeting. Thats what stood out to me about this gent. He has a new record out and some shows to support it…read on up about it all below!

1975024_688127334573484_2050183775_n1) For those that are unfamiliar with your music, how do you describe your songs, who are your influences?. What kind of vibe to expect, the sound, the inspiration?

DT: It’s folk music with elements of indie rock, electronic music and a little bit of West African guitar. I’m very inspired by songwriters who are constantly evolving and taking their audience down unexpected paths, working within traditional constructs but throwing some nasty curveballs. Paul Simon is the greatest on that measure and he’s a huge influence. The Band too. I’ve always loved the songwriting of The Grateful Dead and Nada Surf. More recently I’ve been influenced by a lot of underlying songwriting beauty in louder music, a lot of punk-infused stuff like Titus Andronicus, Team Spirit, Los Campesinos. There’s an energy there that I aspire to  even in music that’s much quieter.
2) So your new record is being released, tell us about the recording process. It seems that different artists have different ways of getting their songs out there. Some prefer all live takes,  some prefer to really layer a record with rich sounds to make it an experience while others like to make it bare bones and let the lyrics speak on their own. What camp do you fall into?

DT: With this record, we did a lot of layering and experimenting with different sounds and instrumentation in the studio. We did the basic drum/bass tracks in a few days and then really got into layering and building songs piece by piece. When I play live, I do a lot of solo shows with just me, an electric guitar, a ukelele and some programmed beats. On the record, we really stretched the songs past that fairly basic instrumentation. But I think they stand up well in both environments. We recorded a lot of it in Brooklyn, so going back and forth from Boston was challenging but also good in that I didn’t really have the luxury of getting too bogged down in the reeds and had to just follow my intuition. Things like knowing when a mix was done or even the track listing, it just felt natural at each point. We made decisions and moved on Just kind of followed my nose and trusted my instincts.

3) Is there a release show planned? When, where, who? All the details.

DT: At the end of this week we’ll be doing some full-band CD release shows. The local show is at the Middle East Upstairs on Friday April 25th with two of my good friends’ bands, Frances Cone and Craig Martinson and the Heartbeats. Doors are at eight. It’s eight bucks and people will be able to pick up the record there. Then I’ll be on the East and West coasts this month doing a bunch of solo shows.

4) What inspires you as a songwriter and a musician? Where do the songs come from?

DT: I am inspired by my group of friends and their creative pursuits. I have been very lucky to have wonderful friends who continue to inspire me to grow and push myself as an artist and also just as a person. Lots of tunes on this album came from (!what else!) failed relationships, lost love and the way things change over time in our connections with people, the sands shifting under us. That is a constant source of re-visitation, trying to make sense of our history. I’m also inspired by Beatles Wednesday. This occurs when my roommate and I are both home on Wednesdays and we make bacon ‘n egg sandwiches and sit in awe of basically every moment on every Beatles record from Beatles For Sale through Abbey Road. It’s always nice to go back to what got you invested in music to begin with and realize it’s still as amazing now as it was when you were eleven.
5) Boston is known by its musicians for its community and being more supportive than its counterparts when it comes to “band envy” and competitiveness. How has that affected you as a locally based musician over the years?

DT: There are definitely moments of my musical experience that are defined by being in this community. Getting to play places like Club Passim and the Middle East are thrilling because those are places I grew up hearing about and seeing bands I loved at. And there are certainly people in the music world here that have provided me with opportunities I’m very thankful for. But for the most part, I appreciate the local music here more as a fan than anything else. There are so many talented people and seeing them is so easy. It’s a night-by-night thing. That accessibility to great music seems like something that sets Boston apart. If you dig around just a little, this whole world opens up to you as far as being exposed to great music.
6) Anything else you want to plug, go for it!

DT: New record, “Be Brave” is coming out April 22nd! Middle East on the 25th! Tour dates at!