By: Amanda Epstein
Wesley David just released his Album Never Late Than Better in September of this year. The title of the album comes from a play on words and speaks to the fact that it is better to do something later than expected, than not at all. After spending years on the road, he realized that wasn;t the lifestyle for him, and used the time home during this pandemic to truly create something.
Interviews take on different forms now, but I had the chance to meet with Wesley over a Zoom call and talk about his music and his past.
When talking about his early musical influences, he mentioned a range of music from classical Vivaldi to video games. He used to fall asleep to old cassettes of classical Vivaldi and Beethoven. To add to the exclic mix, he threw in 90’s Disney like Lion King and Aladdin. His musical past included clarinet and then drums in a rock band through church, though he didn’t know how to play drums at the time. Then he learned the guitar, and can now play all of those plus bass and piano, and harmonica (albeit badly he says). One thing he hasn’t learned, that interests him, is the violin. “Once you play one string instrument your fingers have the calluses, so I think I could learn”.
His past is a colorful background. Growing up in a “cult-like religion” shaped how he grew up and gave him a unique set of views of the world. As a creative child, he says that he used to make up companies, video games and was the class clown. Though, on the flip side, he could be very reserved and nerdy as a kid. Those two sides of Wesley shape how he writes his music now. His teenage years saw him writing “prolific” music until he got out of that religion. Now, his music is more existential and working through all of the healing and learning he has had to do since. Lyrically he explores the topics of “why am I here” and “what am I doing with my life”. He mentioned that his music would be “more bland” if he had a different childhood.
He compares his writing to that of Smashing Pumpkins and RadioHead, in the way that they are abstract. He would write more generally and try not to be very specific about his past in the writing. This is his first album that has been put out. While he has other songs, this is the first time he has put them together into a cohesive product. Songs touch on religion, faith, social media, modern life, and his childhood. He draws inspiration from “deep experiences” and that “extreme experiences are a well of inspiration for artists”.
As a child who was considered the class clown, he had the aspirations of being an actor, comedian and professional golfer. Those roles land him in the spotlight in one form or another, proving that Wesley was born to be a performer and “had a theatrical side”.
He’s most proud of two of his songs. Post Life is about feeling like he had two likes, “life as a kid and then the post life, or after life” while in college and finding his own path. While this song has yet to be recorded, it sounds like it will be a great metaphorical song lyrically. On this current album, though, he is most proud of the track Beach Day. It’s a “positive song, but it came out of a very heartbreaking experience. It hits a lot of the angles for me, as far as the writing and the melody, and the particular experience it came out of”. It has a theme of “letting go” when people come and go in your life.
When asked to describe his music in 3 words, he chose “playful, warm and epic”. His songwriting process usually starts off with a chord or melody, and just “noodling around on the guitar”. A sound will get stuck in his head, and the lyrics usually come last.
Collaborations can be dreams come true. If he could collaborate with any artist, dead or alive, he chose John Legend. His music was “more experimental” and he was a “genius”. Chris Cornell of Soundgarden was another dream as Wesley stated it was “the second worst rockstar death” he’s gone through.
To end the interview I asked him to tell me what he would want to be known for when it comes to his music. He said he would like to be known for “the melodies”. “Ultimately you write music that makes you feel something. 90’s style writing, how the verse can explode into the chorus, would be a nice thing to be remembered for”.