Q3Ambientfest | Q&A

David Allred

David Allred is a musician, multi-instrumentalist, composer, songwriter and sound engineer based in Portland, Oregon. While primarily working and touring internationally as a solo artist, David has also released music under various collaborative projects such as Allred & Broderick (with Peter Broderick) and Good Enough for Grandpa (with Greg Eldridge). David has additionally appeared on works by Heather Woods Broderick, Lubomyr Melnyk, Masayoshi Fujita, Chantal Acda, Brigid Mae Power, Birger Olsen, Jung Body, St. Tsunami, The Beacon Sound Choir, etc.

Finding Inspiration

I usually draw inspiration from people and stories. Sometimes I make up stories and other times I’m inspired by real life situations, and sometimes I combine the two. Even when I make up a story entirely, it comes from a real place. I like to think that the imagination can be as vivid and real as anything.

Gain & Loss

I view this pandemic as a sad but necessary event for humanity. It has helped further expose major systemic flaws in modern society which feels like a step in the right direction for a more safe and stable future. It has also served as a time for self-reflection. It’s largely perspective. The limitations at this time are real but they’re also unique opportunities. And to those who have passed or lost a loved one to the virus, it’s a real tragedy. We are not all affected the same and I hope this also leads to a more empathetic collective consciousness than we had before it all went down.

Physical Stage

Virtual concerts and live concerts are very different experiences in terms of sound and the social aspects but in a world where live concerts are obsolete until further notice, virtual ones are a great way to connect for the time being and I’m sure it will continue to serve its purpose well after live concerts are happening again.

Studio & Workspace

I like to keep it relatively simple but also free of limitations. I’m always working on ways to develop myself as an audio engineer especially as I am helping out other musicians more with their projects. I typically work alone with my home setup but I also enjoy working in studios with other musicians when I have the chance. Another post-pandemic thing to look forward to. I also look forward to inviting musicians into my home studio for collaboration someday.

Daily Routine

I think I’m always more into the idea of a routine than the reality of it. It entirely depends on what I have going on but I can definitely get into a routine at times. These days I’m just trying to create diversity in my life which requires a lot of experimenting and trying new things which I find helps my mental health more than falling into the same routines.

Dream Collaboration

I would absolutely love to collaborate with Jon Brion! I actually wrote him a letter a few years ago and still haven’t sent it to him, yet! I haven’t been fully aware of his music for very long but these days I find myself diving deep into his film soundtrack work in particular and feeling a profound connection to it. Sometimes it feels like I’m listening to myself when I listen to his music which is kinda crazy because there’s no obvious correlation between his and my work, as far as I’m aware. I just feel like we somehow exist creatively on a similar wavelength and I think it would be very interesting to see what happens if we worked together. I’d actually love to help produce an album of his own!

Entry Points

I’ve always been a creative person but I wasn’t too drawn to music until I was in late middle school/early high school. Once I got an iPod where I could download music and listen freely as I went on walks in my early adolescence, the rest was history. I must note that I’ve had some hugely inspirational friends with eclectic tastes in music back in the day which largely catapulted the direction I went with music in my life. Shout out to my dear friend Greg Eldridge in particular! I also had a piano in my childhood home which I taught myself how to play and I took trumpet lessons for 7 years with an exceptional teacher named Dave Metzker who also played a big role in my understanding and appreciation of music. I went to schools with nice music programs where I studied jazz and classical music (shout out to Curtis Gaesser, Steve Roach, etc.) until I branched away from the academic world of music and into the real world. I have a decent amount of proper music training but I’m primarily self-taught as a composer and multi-instrumentalist. I enjoy experimenting and making music in my own way without following any particular tradition or trend in music.

Finishing Records

This is the big question. My main focus is to create without forcing anything or trying “too hard” to make something happen. I like to do it naturally and with purpose. However, I’ve been a perfectionist which is challenging on a personal level though I also embrace flaws (or character) in performances and production too. I’ve often felt a stronger personal connection to some rough lo fi recordings over some high budget studio recordings enough to realize that the magic isn’t always in the prestige but with genuine intentions. And those intentions will always come across/speak for itself regardless of how polished the sound is.

Health and Productivity

Well there isn’t a great distinction between the two in my case because I’m generally a private person anyway. So I don’t really have to strive for a balance when I’m naturally reserved. If anything, I might want to put myself out there more. I’m happy in my private life with my girlfriend but I also enjoy meeting new people and socialization. I’m a people-person but also very selective of who I accept into my personal/professional life, maybe a little too selective. I’m working on it. : ]

Background image by Michael O’Neal.