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David Dino White

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Interview by: Jessa Laframboise | 2022

Dino has released 3 singles from his forthcoming album 'Staycation' and a fourth is on it's way this Fall! This is band leader David White's third time releasing original music and his first time releasing songs under this new, pared-down artist name, Dino (formerly David Dino White). With help from his band mates, life long friends and fellow North Bayites Ben Leggett, Andrew Sowka and Mackenzie Proulx, the group has assembled a collection of 11 new songs for Staycation, each with it's own unique flavor and texture. This is written in an interview style based on a conversation between Jessa Laframboise and Dave Dino White.

Jessa Laframboise: Tell me about yourself. How did you become a musician?

David Dino White: I inherited a drum kit from my father when I was 13 years old, and that was the first instrument that I ever owned. I started taking drum lessons from one of my mom's friends from high school, who was an incredible drummer and teacher. And by the time I was in high school, I was trying to start bands. People would come to my house all the time because I was the one who had drums, and they would leave their gear there. In the evenings, when I couldn't drum, I started picking up guitars, just to kind of scratch that creative itch that I had. I ended up playing guitar in a metal band in grade twelve. When high school ended and I moved on to University, the band dissolved, but I wanted to keep performing. I wrote a couple of songs, and two years later, I stumbled on to the Furnace Room Recording, which was Ben Leggett’s first recording studio in North Bay. I booked him to record one song with me, and it was really fun. We stayed in touch, and I recommended him to other people I knew who played. That slowly snowballed into me actually playing shows. And then, I connected with Cole Fournier, another singer-songwriter from North Bay. We decided to record an album of the songs we were writing together: comedy-esque, punk, rock, and party songs. I ended up booking Ben at the Furnace Room to do a full ten-song album. And that project was called White Coals. White Coals was the first time I felt like I was a musician who could perform a full show.

JL: What is one thing you think people should know about the music you create?

DDW: The most important thing for people to know about my music is that it’s extremely authentic. If you're listening to my music, just know that I did it because it was what I felt that I needed to do. When it comes to my solo project, I am just making the music I want to make. The music that inspires me the most is not necessarily for everybody. Still, I connect with it because of that authenticity.

JL: What do you hope to express through your music?

DDW: Every song tells a different story or reflects on an emotion. Some pieces are a little bit easier to interpret than others. But for the most part, I try and keep it pretty nondescript and just focus on the emotion. My music will cover everything from change, making tough decisions in life and having to live with those decisions, to relationships and romance, aging and starting to feel your age, trying to make make the most of every day, and the struggle of doing that in a world where there are other commitments and other people and other things that matter. So there's really a lot of subject matter being covered. Still, every single song is rooted in an experience or some reality. Sometimes I am speaking to a collective experience, and I am trying to express to listeners that these experiences are not inherently unique. We all struggle.

JL: What is it like to be so open and vulnerable through your music?

DDW: It's not hard at all. I feel really fortunate to come from a family who always encouraged me to express myself and be myself. Making my art in the way I am, being open and authentic, is about inspiring others. Hopefully, if they can feel my authenticity, they will see something inherently good about being yourself. Anything I can do to create a safe space for people to be themselves, relax, and be okay with who they are is really huge for me.

JL: Can you give us some insight into your creative process when writing new music?

DDW: Everything is very organic. And some of the songs on the new album I wrote in one night. And then there's actually one song on the album that I have been writing for almost ten years. It's a massive song with many parts, and it has evolved over the years. I am very patient with the creative process, and for me, I combine lyrical ideas and musical ideas in whatever order they present themselves or in whatever capacity that feels right. It can be as simple as hearing something, seeing something, or even saying something myself. I just keep a bunch of lyrical and musical inspiration in one spot. I have a bunch of voice memos of me just strumming the acoustic guitar at night or playing the drums. And I just wait until I feel like something in this big collection of tools clicks together, and then I start going through everything else, trying to put it into a song. With the number of things that have accumulated over the years, I’ve created a toolbox for myself that keeps getting bigger and bigger.

JL: What is the biggest difference between this upcoming album and recent projects?

DDW: The biggest difference with the album that I'm putting the finishing touches on right now is that I spent a lot of the money getting myself set up to create and record at home. In doing this, I was able to do some of the vocals, backup vocals, guitar playing, and other stuff like percussion and even the bass all myself in my bedroom. That was a game-changer because when you're in the studio and pay for time, you often play the song, and then it's done, you know, you have a couple of hours to get it done. What you get is what you get. But this way, I was able to spend a night working on vocals for a song and then listen to it later and decide whether or not I could do the second half of this song better. This gave me a lot of control and allowed me to make sure I was capturing good performances and push myself to get stronger vocally and get stronger on my guitar. Everything is a lot more, just dialed in.

JL: What is something you wish you would have known the first time around after doing it a few times?

DDW: The amount of small things is really unfathomable. I wish I knew so many little things the first time around. But one particular thing that I wish I knew when I started playing guitar ten years ago was that there is no replacement for experience. If you want to make albums, the only way you get anywhere is to just do it and get the experience. Your first album could be your best album ever, or it could be the worst album ever. Either way, if you like what you are doing, do it again and do it again. Just keep creating.

JL: Are there any other kinds of creative projects that you work on?

DDW: I love working on other people's music and helping them bring their ideas to life. When it comes to the artwork for my music, I like to hire other artists to try and showcase their talents. But I still try really hard to have a big hand in all of it. I love using Photoshop and doing video editing. I actually shot and edited a lot of my own music videos over the years. I just love the entire spectrum of things that need to get done around music. I admire the artwork and even simple things, like the layout on the back of a CD. I feel like I am scratching my creative itch just as much when I'm sitting down on my computer to do some graphics work or whatever as I do in any other aspect of performing.

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