Dave and Sabina
Guitar and ukulele - how did you arrive at this combination?
Sabina: I’ve always wanted to play guitar but could never quite stretch my fingers enough. Dave came home with a ukulele one day and I thought, I can play that! It’s perfect!
Dave: Funny thing about that day, one of my guitar student’s parents wanted to learn the ukulele, so she asked me if I could teach ukulele, and I said, of course! So, I went out that day and bought a ukulele and taught myself how to play in time for our first lesson.
Sabina: Dave got me a little soprano ukulele a couple weeks later and I fell in love with the sound and the fun of it. I picked up the basics pretty quickly, but helping it become an instrument that can hold its own in a band has been an evolutionary process all its own. I’m constantly learning new techniques and really interesting patterns that come to life when we pair them with the guitar.
Your first EP "a band of lovers" seems to be about being on the move yet feeling an impulse to settle down -- do you consider it a document about your current travels and adventures? How do you feel your current gypsylike existence influences your music?
Sabina: Traveling is something I’ve dreamt of for a while, and making music is all Dave has ever wanted to do, so writing songs on the road and performing as we go has sort of evolved naturally in the process.
Dave: Seeing a bunch of new places and meeting new people has been very inspirational for our song writing. For example, we were driving aimlessly through the Ponderosa Pines in Northern Arizona and pulled over to write a song about doing just that! It’s one of my favorites of the new tunes, and it’ll be on our full-length album.
Sabina: It’s given traveling a really beautiful purpose, to directly channel the experiences into music and lyrics. Each song has a home, and playing them brings us back to each place and the feeling it gave us, it’s an amazing through line to this adventure.
Dave: As far as the impulse to settle down bit, it’s more about being together. Home is when we’re with each other, no matter where that is. Like that Edward Sharpe song!
Can you give us a brief rundown of your musical history? How long you've been at it, interesting detours along the way, the development of your sound, etc.
Dave: Well, personally, I’ve been playing music my entire life. I started singing and playing piano around age 4 or 5, and I picked up the guitar when I was twelve. I started writing music around then too, and I’ve played in a handful of bands through the years. I went to school to get a degree in Music Composition, which is where I met Sabina. I ended up getting my master’s degree at the same school, mostly in order to stay near Sabina.
Sabina: We met freshman year of college and became close friends pretty fast. I’d always been a big writer and singer but had never picked up an instrument other than the flute in middle school band. I was a big fan of Dave’s music in college, and as we got closer I harbored a fantasy of working together on a musical project. Once Dave had taught me ukulele it was only a matter of time. It all kind of came together when we met back up in the fall after a summer apart.
Dave: Yeah, it was basically our first time away from each other in about four years, and on the day before splitting ways we wrote Tennessee, our official first song together. It’s completely based in fact but ended up prophesying us getting back together in California three months later --
Sabina: Which is exactly what ended up happening.
Dave: Writing that first song kind of sparked the desire to play and write music together, and when we met back up we were inspired and have been writing songs since. At this point we’re a song or two shy of our first full-length album, which we’ll be starting to record at the end of January.
Favorite band at this moment?
Dave: Together we usually listen to the Beatles, Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel, Steely Dan… you know, that kind of stuff. For the past year or so I’ve been listening to a British band called Field Music. They write awesomely weird sort of mathematical rock music with beautiful melodies and intensely cool arrangements. I love classical music too. My favorite piece at the moment is the orchestral arrangement of Ravel’s “Le Tombeau de Couperin”. It is an unbelievably moving piece with some really interesting textures and dynamics.
Sabina: I definitely dig a different style than Dave when it comes to modern music. I’m all about the way it makes me feel. Right now I’m really into Nahko Bear and Medicine for the People, and I have a permanent love and soft spot for Modest Mouse. They’re my comfort food of tunes.
Band you'd like to have playing during your funeral?
Dave: Man, I want to be playing at my funeral! I don’t want to die, let’s just do a show where everybody we love shows up.
Sabina: Yeah, but it all seriousness that does sound pretty perfect. Everybody will bring along an instrument, and there could be a basket of fun things to make music with for those that don’t. That’d be a beautiful way to celebrate life, if everyone you shared it with comes together and makes music and dances the love.
What's your current project, and your plans for your musical future? Are there any directions you haven't tried yet that you're interested in pursuing?
Sabina: The EP we released in the fall was our first attempt at making music together, and we’re really excited to parlay that into a full album. I’m really excited by the thought of building the band and finding like-minded people to make music with. The transition from ‘Dave and Sabina’ to ‘A Band of Lovers’ will really come to life when we find that dynamic within a group.
Dave: Just in the past few months of writing our music has taken a lot of cool turns. We’re covering a fairly broad range of musical ideas and it’s going to make for a really diverse and interesting album. The next big step for us is going to be adding other musicians to the band. Right now it’s just Sabina and I, but we’d really like to have an upright bass, drums, keyboards, and hopefully a small string section as well. We’re so focused on this current project that much further into the future is really unknown. Right now, we’re in a sort of folk/rock/pop grey area, but my songwriting is constantly evolving. I’d expect to hear us play all sorts of styles as we progress. I never want to get pigeonholed into one specific style, so each new project I work on is a completely new venture without genre limitations. !
Dave and Sabina are "a band of lovers, singing in harmony with guitar and ukulele. From a friendship steeped in music and love comes their stories, adventures, and passion shared in song." Visit here for samples of their new EP.and for more information on upcoming gigs and projects, visit their Facebook page.