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Interview: David Pearce of Mr Primitive
(Published: October 27, 2019)

Under the name Mr Primitive, David Pearce has recently released a stunning new album, Winter, which is perfect listening for the icy months ahead.

Q: What are the earliest memories of music you can recall?

A: My earliest memories are of my parents playing their records when I was small, no more than 5 or 6, groups like the Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul, and Mary, Dave Brubeck, Ramsey Lewis. And the radio was always on in the car and in the house, so I heard all the music from the early '60s on. As a matter of fact, I can't remember a time when music wasn't playing.

Q: Do you recall a strong musical community in and around where you grow up, which is where, actually?

A: I grew up in Arvada, Colorado, which is a suburb of Denver. I don't remember there being a strong musical community, but music was offered in school and that's where I first got into it. Later, after I got out of the Navy in the early '80s, I spent time in the local Denver music scene and with musician's such as Jill Sobule and Bruce Odland. I found it to be a quite stimulating and creative time and I wrote and recorded quite a bit of music through the '80s because of it.

Q: Winter was originally conceived in the early '80s. How did it evolve since then, and what challenges did you face?

A: Winter was meant to be a band album, unlike a lot of what I did at that time which was more DIY. Unfortunately, the people I wanted to work with in the '80s on the album had moved on to other places so I basically shelved the album and worked on other material. After I got back into recording in 2015 and was able to work with more than 4 tracks-which nearly all of my '80s output was made up of-I started to go through some of that material and decided to give Winter a look and I found I had the tracks and instruments to make it the way I heard it in my head. I think my evolution as a musician over those years allowed me to make a better more intricate album than I could have made at the time the songs were written.

Q: Would you consider it a personal record? Why or why not?

A: I do. At the time, I was coming out a rather lonely period and along with Desperate Mothers - the album written before it - I focused on the nature of relationships and how they change and change you for the better and worse. Lyrically, I tried to take my experiences and make them a little more universal. I wanted to try to say that while love can hurt and isolate you, it can also invigorate and excite you but that because of past experiences, you'll never quite see it the same or be the same, but that's how it goes.

Q: Did you study music in school?

A: I did. I played the trombone from the 4th grade through high school and was in every band imaginable from the marching band to the jazz band, pep band; you name it. It was a great experience and informed how I looked at organizing and arranging my songs when I got into writing and recording.

Q: Which musicians have inspired you and how?

A: The artists who have influenced me the most, certainly with Winter, are Steely Dan and Peter Gabriel because of their merging of genres such as jazz and pop and rock. Most of the music I do is a blend of those genres. At the time I wrote the songs for it, I was listening closely to how they put their records together and the sound they got and I think you can hear those influences in it. The sound of it came from my love of the records I listened to in the 70's that had that SoCal sound: clear, lots of headroom and space for the instruments and voices to be heard.

Q: Are there any artists who influenced you to change your approach to music and how?

A: I don't know that any artist changed how I approach music, but I know that many informed what I write and how. I'm basically a musical child of the '70s, from the beginning of the decade to the end and I absorbed from all the great music that was produced during that period from the rock classics to the jazz fusion that was going on whether it was Return to Forever, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, or what Miles Davis was doing at that time. I think the thing that affected me the most was that the song structure could be what you wanted, that it didn't have to follow any specific order as far as verses and choruses were, or whether you needed or wanted a bridge or any of that. I like that it can be a little loose and free form. For me, the more you listen to, the more it informs your music and I think that's a very good thing.

More Information: http://mrprimitivemusic.com

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