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David Duchovny on His Debut Album, The X-Files

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David Duchovny on His Debut Album, The X-Files

Post by jade1013 on Tue 12 May - 10:08

May 12, 2015 12:42 p.m.

David Duchovny on His Debut Album, The X-Files, and His Dream of Carrying Gatorade for Tom Petty

By Lauretta Charlton


Photo: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

David Duchovny picked up a guitar for the first time when he was 49 years old, and according to him, he spent a good five years sucking at it before he decided to release Hell or Highwater, his first album, out today on ThinkSay Records. Inspired by classic rock from the í60s and í70s, on Hell or Highwater, Duchovny acts as a sort of roadside troubadour with a rusty voice busking for change off of Route 66. Even though heís not a trained singer or musician, he performs these songs with confidence, which gives each of them a charming sense of honesty. (Duchovny wrote all of the music himself.) Earlier this year, Duchovnyís debut novel†Holy Cow†became a New York Times best-seller; his character on The X-Files, FBI agent Fox Mulder, is one of the most memorable on television, and a reboot is confirmed for January; heís an accomplished television director; and later this month, Duchovny stars in the new NBC procedural Aquarius. What's more, he's playing one-off shows, including a set tonight at Manhattan's Cutting Room, in support of the new record.

Duchovny called in one recent morning to talk about the new album, X-Files co-star Gillian Anderson, and his dream of carrying Gatorade for Tom Petty.

Hell or Highwater is a pretty straightforward singer-songwriter record. Itís a well-worn sound.
Well, itís my favorite type of sound, and itís what came out. When I sat down to write the songs, I wasnít coming up with dance tunes and I wasnít hearing any drops. I wasnít composing any beats. I was really coming out of the music from when I grew up, and what Iíve always listened to my whole life. Thatís how I started playing guitar and singing along with the bands I like, and playing the songs that I like, and thatís kind of what comes out. If thereís anything, itís just whatís natural to me. I like songs that are lyrically dense, with depth, that are powerful. It was important for me to have songs that have words that were just as important as the music.

Youíre already an actor and an author. What made you want to release a record?
It was all one-step-at-a-time stuff. First it was learning guitar, and then it was, well, maybe Iíve got some melodies I could come up with, some chord progressions, and then lyrically, it always came naturally to me because Iíve always written, and then it was, ďOh, somebodyís interested in recording. Okay, Iíll try that. Iíll try to sing my own stuff.Ē You know, if you had said five years ago that this was going to happen, I would have said, "Thatís a leap," that itís never going to happen, but as I look back, step by step, it kind of made sense. It was one little step at a time, and now I find myself here with an album.

What other tricks do you have up your sleeve? Do you paint?
No, no, I cannot do anything. I cannot paint. Iíve tried to storyboard my own stuff when Iím directing, and my stick figures are illegible. So I donít think that will happen. Itís really, you know, I feel like Iím just trying to express the fact that Iím on the planet and that Iím looking around and thinking and feeling, and I hope that other people who are thinking and feeling will find something worthwhile in whatever it is or however I choose to express whatever it is Iím doing. I mean, Iím not making any kinds of claims for myself. Iím just saying, ďWell, hereís some songs, hereís a book, hereís a TV show, hereís a movie," or whatever. I donít see that thereís necessarily a difference. Weíre just human beings trying to express ourselves.

What are some of the bands you listened to growing up? What kind of music influenced Hell or Highwater?
Well, I grew up a while ago so, I grew up in the classic-rock stage of human history. You know, Beatles, Stones, Who, Zeppelin. You know, middle-aged white guy stuff. And I would think like Dylan, Lou Reed, Tom Petty, the Kinks, but then, on the other hand, I also like a good amount of í70s punk. Iím not in a good enough position to play it or to write it, but I hope to get there. Sly and the Family Stone to me is one of my musical heroes, both musically and lyrically. I pretty much love all kinds of music, Iím just not able to play or sing all kinds of music myself.

When you picked up the guitar for the first time five years ago, who was your teacher?
I didnít have a teacher at the time. I just thought, Well, Iíve always wanted to play guitar, and I didnít want any homework at this point in my life, you know what I mean? I didnít want anybody giving me assignments. I thought I would rebel against that. I feel like Iíve done enough homework in my life. So I thought, Okay, this is going to be a thing thatís just for me, and Iím going to play it when I want to play it, and Iím going to get as good as Iím going to get, and itís not going to matter, and any of that shit. And I wanted my kids, at the same time, to see me try something new, and be bad at something new, and struggle through the phase of being bad at it in order to get decent, in order to get better. Itís something Iím always talking to my kids about: Yes, worthwhile things are difficult to get good at, and thereís a long time when itís going to kind of be painful. So I wanted to put my money where my mouth is with them. I did that with guitar. I did it a little bit with skiing, too, which I had never done before. It was just like, ďHey, watch Dad suck,Ē was the idea.

Are there any veiled references to your work in television in the lyrics?
Just one. Itís in the last track, ďPositively Madison Avenue.Ē I say, ďChasing spooks on Fox I made my bones.Ē Thatís the only one, I think. Iíd have to go through it again, but I think thatís the only one. I generally donít really like that kind of meta, self-referential stuff, but it kind of made sense there.

Whatís your favorite song on the album?
It goes kind of cyclically. I donít know. Iím in the midst of rehearsing the album to play it live, so I donít know. The rockier ones are probably more fun to play live, but that doesnít mean I necessarily like them better. I couldnít say that I have a favorite one. Iím sorry.

Whatís your least favorite song on the album?
Probably ďUnsaid Undone.Ē It never quite became the song that I wanted it to be, although I think itís good. I donít know, maybe it needs a bridge. It needs something. I mean, I like the lyrics. Thereís just something not quite working for me.



You just finished a new show called Aquarius?
Yes, weíre done with the first season. Hopefully just the first season, and not for good. John McNamara, whoís created the show [and is] running it, has envisioned five or six years of 13-episode years for that. So, you know, I hope we can execute the fullness of his vision. We have 13 this year that we shot, and itís done, and weíll start airing on May 28 on NBC.

Charles Manson, a central figure in the show, was, like you, a troubadour. Have you heard his music?
I have heard his music. Music is an important part of the Manson story. Partly his inability to get going with his music career, I donít want to psychologize him, but it obviously led to a certain amount of frustration for him. I didnít make him murder anybody, but it didnít put him in a good mood either, Iím sure. And itís an interesting part of his story, like Scientology as well. These are things not a lot of people know about Manson.

Fox has just announced its new six-episode revival of The X-Files.
Yep. We start shooting in June. Itís something that weíve been working on behind the scenes for quite a while. It took a lot of planning to get the three of us ó Chris Carter, Gillian, and I ó to be able to commit to being in the same place at the same time for as long as itís going to take to do the show. This is something weíve all been talking about for a couple of years.

Do you think you and Gillian Anderson will still share the same chemistry?
The chemistry I think is good. I mean, we havenít done it in a while. Hopefully itís still there. Chemistry is something that I donít think you can create, and I donít think you can lose it. Itís either there or it isnít. Itís been said that itís there for us, so I imagine that itíll still be there.

In addition to filming X-Files, youíll also be going on tour in support of the album?
No. You know, Iíd love to tour. I think Iíd love to tour, but I havenít really performed live yet, so, I might hate it. I might pull a Sia and see ya. I might turn my back on you. So I donít know. If I had her voice, I could also turn my back. I donít think I can quite pull that off.

Youíre a Sia fan. What other younger artists do you listen to?
I am. Iím actually a Sia fan. Iím amazed at her voice, and her melodies are beautiful. I think sheís a really gifted pop songwriter. Theyíre catchy, you-canít-get-it-out-of-your-head-type songs. I like Ed Sheeran. See, I only know these things through my daughter. Sheís only 16 and she likes Hozier. I like Hozier. The Kooks. She likes the Kooks.

The who?
See! I didnít even get that one wrong. Thatís how hip I am. I like Alt-J. You know them?

Yep.
Theyíre interesting.

Do you ever listen to hip-hop?
I donít really. Iím kind of stuck on the pop side. My daughter does listen to hip-hop, but I only listen to it through the bedroom door.

If you could have any band open for you, who would it be?
Open for me? Oh gosh, I donít know. I think Iíd be opening for other people, but Iíd love to play with Tom Petty. He certainly wouldnít open for me. Iíd like to carry his Gatorade.


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Re: David Duchovny on His Debut Album, The X-Files

Post by sir on Tue 12 May - 10:21

Thanks.

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Re: David Duchovny on His Debut Album, The X-Files

Post by cmacmd on Tue 12 May - 12:24

Thanks
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