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David Duchovny explains how new LP ‘Gestureland’ was created

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We know David Duchovny best as Fox Mulder, the E.T.-obsessed FBI agent on nine seasons of “The X-Files,” and as the classic tortured writer Hank Moody on seven seasons of “Californication.” The actor, producer and director has also authored four books, including the novel “Truly Like Lightning,” released earlier this year.

In 2015, Duchovny entered the world of music by releasing the self-composed alt-rock/folk album “High or High Water.” He followed it in 2018 with “Every Third Thought” and is about to issue his third with “Gestureland,” due on August 20. The album’s second single, a ballad titled “Tessera,” was released last week.

During the following interview, which aired on BIG 104 FM, Duchovny reveals what the title of his new record means to him. He sheds light on how he decided to give music a go after teaching himself how to play guitar about 10 years ago. He discusses a few of his formative musical influences and explains why he likes to make his live shows feel like a party.

The Maine Edge: What can you tell me about the title “Gestureland?” What does that refer to?

Duchovny: We’ve all been pretty isolated for the last year and a half. Most of our experiences have happened virtually since we haven’t been able to interact personally with one another. I was in an apartment in New York for most of it, getting my news and most personal experiences through the internet and television. I was struck by the fact that everything was becoming very gestural, that people had to make an impression with a T-shirt, a hat or a phrase. Everything was quickly consumed, signals were being sent, and I just felt we’d entered almost a virtual world, so that’s what “Gestureland” means to me.

The Maine Edge: Did you collaborate with the same musicians that accompanied you on your previous albums?

Duchovny: Yes, I’ve worked with the same musicians since the first album, Colin Lee, Mitchell Stewart and Pat McCusker. I feel that this album is really more of a band album and less me coming in with songs and them trying to figure out the best way to service them. Even though it’s my name on the record, this was really a collaboration, it feels like a real band album.

The Maine Edge: Did that collaboration extend to the songwriting?

Duchovny: Yes. In the past, I would more or less come to them with a song that was mostly complete, or at least with verses, a chorus and a bridge, and they would make it better. This time, Colin might come in with a melody that I would write lyrics for, or Pat would come up with a riff and I would try to come up with words and a melody. It was really kind of back and forth like that with this record.

The Maine Edge: So many writers have different methods of songwriting. How did you come to write your first song?

Duchovny: I’d been teaching myself guitar by looking up chord progressions of songs that I like on the internet. I was paying attention to the chord progressions in rock and roll. They say three chords and the truth or whatever, so I had some chord progressions that I liked and I started to hear a melody and put some lyrics to it. I remember it was springtime and I was walking around New York kind of humming this little melody and it became “The Thing” that’s on the first album.

The Maine Edge: Who were your favorite artists and songwriters when you were growing up?

Duchovny: When I was a kid, I didn’t have limitless funds to buy anything, let alone music. When I got my $3.99 together to go to Free Being Records on 8th Street and Second Avenue, it was a big deal. I mean I had to make the right choice. I had to want that album so badly, I would think long and hard about it. I would always buy greatest hits albums so I could get all of the singles. The Beatles were first … well, Motown was important to me first, then The Beatles. Elton John was an early favorite of mine, then I got into YES when I was in high school. That was an interesting diversion (laughs) and certainly not the kind of music I’m capable of playing but I loved it.

The Maine Edge: I understand you plan to announce some live shows later this summer. Two of my co-workers were in the crowd during your concert in Boston a few years ago. They said it gets a little wild during your shows and they still talk about what a great show you gave them.

Duchovny: Yeah, I try to make it fun. I’m attached to the lyrics but when you’re performing live, it’s a party, right? You just want to be the MC, be the host, and lead the way. Until I do like an unplugged thing, we’ll keep it rockin’ that way.

Last modified on Wednesday, 28 July 2021 08:07

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