This Saves The Day interview took place on October 12, 2007 in Richmond, VA. The interview was first started on the third floor of Alley Katz, but due to the noise, was taken outside the venue. I would like to thank David for taking the time to do the interview and being such a nice, easygoing person. It’s refreshing to see a great band that is doing everything for the right reasons. Make sure to go to one of their shows whenever they are in your area. Also make sure to pick up “Under The Boards” on October 30th and get ready to be blown away.
– State your name and position in the band.
My name is David Soloway, I play guitar and sing back up.
– Give a brief history of the band and the original goal for starting the band.
It’s hard to give a brief history, haha. Briefly, Chris and I started playing music together with some of our old friends a long time ago, in 1996, 95ish. And we’re still doing it. We have a lot of fun, we’ve made a lot of records. That’s about as brief as I could be.
What was the original idea for starting the band?
Oh man. Well, We were just kind of the kids in high school that didn’t really have a whole lot of friends and we found each other and like, you know the drill. Why does anyone start a band? They need somewhere to belong and they can’t really find it. Maybe they don’t get on the fucking football team or whatever. We found each other and there just happen to be the right number of kids to play in a band together. That’s pretty much how it happened.
-Why the decision to do an acoustic tour right before the new record comes out?
There are a lot of reasons why we did that. I say the biggest reason is that Chris and I have been playing music together for more than 10 years now and we’ve never done anything like this, just the two of us. We’ve had so many people, as I’m sure you’re aware, come and play in the band and leave. It’s been over 10 people in as many years come through the band. It just kind of seemed like the right idea to kind of like, re-center the whole thing, you know? It’s not that we don’t love playing as a full band, but we saw it as a way to really get back with our fans, which is what it’s all about in the first place. To be able to play smaller venues and do this kind of slightly more intimate thing, be able to play some songs that we haven’t played in a long time, like some of the mellower songs on some of the records that we really love but it didn’t really fit into a rock set necessarily.
And then also to reconnect with each other on a musical level on stage, as opposed to the writing process, which we will do together, and the recording process, but that shit gets really tense sometimes and it’s a lot of hard work. Sometimes at the end of the day, we’ll hang out for a while, like play Halo or whatever, but sometimes you just want to go to bed. So it’s been nice to get back in a van for the first time in a while and just chill out, you know? It’s been a long time. So I think those are the two main reasons right there.
Do you think it’s going to have an effect on the new record since the tour ends a day before it’s released?
Yeah, you know, I don’t know. I didn’t really think too hard about that. We don’t really;.like obviously we care greatly about how this record does like any record, but we’re much more interested in the big picture. We’ve been through the high points and through the low points and we’ve done it all again. We really have a lot of faith in the fact that if we really just follow what it seems to be right for us to do, regardless of what whether it seems like it’s a smart business decision or whatever, then it’s all going to work out for the best in the long run and that’s the goal. We would love to have a radio hit and like whatever, but we’re not going to give anybody a hand job to get it to happen, you know? That’s just not us.
– What are the pros and cons of doing an acoustic tour, as opposed to a regular tour? Which do you prefer?
Well let’s see. I say the biggest difference is just, we don’t have volume on our side with this acoustic thing and we kind of have to really be good. Like if I’m not singing on key, you hear it, you know, that kind of thing. If the guitar is out of tone, you really hear it. So that was one of the other motivations to do the tour, it’s a nice challenge. Like we actually have to really play well, not to say that I don’t think we usually sound good because I think we are a pretty fucking tight band especially with Manny and Durijah now, but it’s a nice challenge. So that’s a pro and a con. A lot of these shows are selling out kind of quick, I don’t know how this one is doing or did. You know there are a lot of kids that couldn’t come that wanted to come, so the smaller rooms I guess have their pros a cons as well. But really, I think it’s all a good thing. Just like we’ve never made the same record twice, we’re just trying to do as much different shit as possible and that’s just fun for us.
– How do you think fans will respond to the new record, musically and lyrically?
Well let’s see. I can say this is probably one of our most diverse records. A lot of people that have heard it, have you heard it yet?
No. I haven’t gotten it in the mail and I don’t download music.
Yeah, I don’t even know if it’s available. Have you seen it?
No, I haven’t seen it anywhere.
Yeah, I don’t think it’s leaked yet, not that I mind if you did. There are a lot of people that we’ve played it for that have said that it feels really long by the time it’s all done. And it is the longest record we’ve ever done, but only by a minute and a half. It’s still like 36 minutes or something like that, so it’s not a long album by any means. But there is a certain diversity of music and sort of lyrical content or what have you that does kind of;it’s dense, I guess I could say. But then all that said, some of the catchiest shit I think Chris has ever written is on this, some of the best hooks I’ve heard him come up with. There are some songs that we wrote way back right after “In Reverie” came out that are on this record. Some stuff that we wrote for “Sound The Alarm” that didn’t end up on that record for a number of different reasons, but ended up on this record. But it all fit in to this greater storyline that we’ve been working on that began with “Sound The Alarm” is continuing with this one, which we call our Empire Strikes Back, just to make it simple. Then we’ll end with the album that we are already a third of a way into writing that is going to be called “Daybreak”.
When is that going to be released?
We hope to have that one out in about a year from now. I think we’ll probably start recording it like early summer next year like we did with this one and get it out. Who knows, maybe it will be October 30th again.
– If all the feedback for the new record were negative, how would that affect your own opinion on the record?
Well, not much to be honest. We’ve learned enough at this point that at the end of the day, if we are happy with it… we have to be happy with it before we say it’s done.
Yeah, you can’t support something that you aren’t fully happy with.
Exactly. And beyond that, I’m not going to say it wouldn’t suck if all of our diehard fans, with whom we do not exist without, hated it. If they all hated it, we’ll be fucked. That would really be bad.
Then yet again, if you lose all those, there could always be a new group of people that will love it.
Who knows. I can’t say for certain, but I’m sure that every time we put out a new record some kids don’t like it and they are like “Ah! Screw those guys, I like when they did XYZ.” But then there are some new kids that are like “I didn’t like that one but I like this one.” So whatever, really at the end of the day, musically speaking, we are primarily out to satisfy our own creative motivation. Once we have done that, then the record is done. And then anything else that happens is out of our hands. All we can do is tour and do interviews and do whatever we can do to try to let people know that we have a record. And then we just hope that at the very least;the thing I would say is that we are not a first listen band. In some songs we are, but for the most part, you need to hear these song a couple of times. I think that is true with most music. I think it is especially true with us. You have to give it some time.
There have been a lot of records that when I first listen to them I am not really into them. And then I pick it up a month later or whatever, and I’m like “Wow, this is really good.”
Yeah exactly, that’s true for me too. I’ll listen to something once and I’m like “Ah, later with that.” Even I should know better, but even me, I’m in a band, I go through it, I am on the other end of it. And still I react the same as the prissy fan that is like “Man, I want it to sound like this!”
-What is your opinion on bands that evolve musically throughout the years and bands that keep a similar sound on each record?
Um, whatever makes it work for you. There are some bands that just have a thing and they do it really really well. They can make an entire career and be completely satisfied sticking with the specific sound. And there are other bands that are different. It’s whatever gets you going. So long as the guys in the band are;. the only thing I really object to is when anyone makes a musical decision that is based on something other than music.
Yeah, like labels and what people want.
What people want, what’s cool right now, what’s whatever. That’s when things start getting polluted. The unfortunate result;the thing that this is all about, as far as I’m concerned;I love our older fans, like I know that even any of our fans that are in college or out of college or however old they may be. I’m 29 and I remember very clearly how much music meant to me, music still means a great deal to me. But I remember specifically the emotional reaction I had when I was 14, 15, 16 years old. It was like life saving back then. The thing that really bums me out is that there are bands that will do this kind of thing I’m talking about, where you kind of write what you think is cool and you don’t put your heart into it. And then a bunch of kids who are looking for something to grab on to, they might notice it because someone decided to put a lot of money behind it and try to sell it, you know? I will never begin to go naming names, but I don’t need to. And then what ends up happening is these kids have a lot of heartfelt emotions and they are trying to attach these emotions to something that isn”t necessary real. And that’s sad to me.
And not even the band backs it up. They are just doing it because that’s what the record label tells them or whatever is popular.
Exactly, exactly. Whatever it is, you know? And that’s their prerogative too. I can’t say that I fault them for it, I just wish it didn’t happen. Because it would be a simple thing for there just to be awesome, honest, heartfelt music out there. There is plenty of it, and there is plenty of it that no one will ever hear.
And that’s the best kind. You listen to a record, you can tell by the way the person sings it or whatever, that they are really into it.
You actually hear the emotion put into the song and you are like “Wow, this person put everything they have into it” and then you start appreciating it more
– Is it more important to have meaningful lyrics that relate to people or lyrics that are vaguely put together and have no true meaning?
That question answers itself. At the end of the day, all lyrics have some meaning whether they were intended or not. You can find meaning in anything. I mean, there is meaning in this fucking plank of wood we are sitting on. But, you know?
– If the band decided to call it quits in a couple of years, where do you see yourself ending up afterwards and what would you take away from the experience?
First off, I don’t think that is ever going to happen because we are having such a great time doing this. In many ways, we feel that we just now hit our stride. But I am just really into knowing a lot about the world, like I try reading the newspaper a whole lot. I wouldn’t mind going back to college some day, I don’t know what I would study. I love biology, I love bird watching, and I love all sorts of things. I don’t know, go save the whales or something like that. Lots of things, lots of different things. I would never stop playing music, that’s for sure.
What would you take away from Saves The Day?
I guess the thing I take away from it the most is this is the first thing in my life that I’ve ever stuck with. You go through high school and you try all these different things out, different subjects, different girlfriends, different whatever. When it stops working for you, you kind of move on. I’ve been doing this now for about 10 years. There have been plenty of times throughout the process where I didn’t feel like I had the energy to keep going with it. I just told myself, “Look dude, just stick with it. You have something to learn here.” And I did and then I did learn something and then I had a new reason to be in the band. It’s a lot about learning that I have more willpower than I ever thought I did. Learning a lot about what honesty will bring you if you are true to it.
– What is your opinion on the music industry and Radiohead’s decision to release their record online and let fans decide the price they pay?
On the music industry like where we are in this scene or in general, the whole industry?
Oh ok, let’s see. I’ll answer that question first. The industry is the business end of things, it’s not called the music business because those guys like sit around and listen to records all day. It’s called the music business because they like to sell records all day. We wouldn’t be here without them, that’s the truth of the matter. So I’m real happy they’re there. I’m real happy that there are guys out there that like music enough to at least;the kind of guys that are good at selling things, which I don’t claim to be, I claim to be good at playing things, you know? That’s what I do, so it’s good to have someone out there that are good at selling things that want to sell what it is that we’ve got. Cause otherwise no one is necessary going to know about it. That’s the reality of it, you know? If there wasn’t a music business, we’ll all have day jobs too and we wouldn’t be able to put all our time into this and it wouldn’t necessarily be as good as a result.
Now all that said, those guys get real wrapped up in themselves sometimes. Especially right now with all these major record labels folding and record sales tanking and downloads getting more popular. There is a lot of scrambling going on right now. I’m very excited to see when and what the change will be because something is going to change. I read a quote of Rick Rubin, Rich Rubin is at Columbia right now, they hired him as co-president just cause he knows what good music is, he doesn’t claim to be an executive. There is an article about him in the New York Times Magazine about a month and a half ago, did you read it?
Well anyways, it’s worth checking out. You can find it in the New York Times archive probably online. He said something;ah;what was it; something to the effect of, either the labels are going to figure out how to do this right on their own or we’re all going to get bought by Microsoft and Apple because those guys know how to sell things. They know how to do it, they know where the figures are, they know what to do. They are all ready to do it, all they are doing is waiting for the price of labels to go down low enough to buy them up. And they will because most….when we signed with DreamWorks back in the day, in large part because they didn’t have shareholders. They were a huge record label, but they were still technically an independent company. At a certain point these shareholders are going to go “You know what, we don’t like these profits we’re seeing. Time to sell the company.” And then who knows what is going to happen.
On the Radiohead end of things, I wish to death that Saves The Day could afford to do that, but the fact of the matter is we can’t. Radiohead is fucking huge.
Have you listen to the record?
Yeah, a bunch of times. It’s great.
Yeah, it’s incredible.
It’s really good. I’m really happy that they are taking that leap and from what I’ve heard, it’s paid off since they have that $80 deluxe package thing and they already sold out of it. They are still making money doing what they are doing.
It’s just the fact that they are doing it and people are still willing to pay. It shows that people are actually willing to pay.
Have people been contributing? Do you know?
Yeah, they have been. I’ve read on websites and forum of people that have paid like $20 for it.
It’s just the fact that they are getting the attention out there and people are choosing to pay. That just shows the dedication a lot of people have out there for music.
And in theory, in a perfect world, we’ll all get to give our records away and somehow still be able to be a full time band. I would love that to happen. It doesn’t work that way right now. Saves The Day, we need our measly $1.50 or $2.00 we get from what we’ve recouped. That’s the thing, no one should kid themselves into thinking a band like us is getting rich off of this. That’s just not true. I’m homeless. That’s just not by choice, well probably by choice since I’m touring a lot of the time. I can’t really afford an apartment and you know, I’m happy with that because I’m doing what I love to do.
– If you had to revolve the next record on one issue or topic, which one would it be and why?
A whole record?
Like write a record on a specific topic?
Yeah, just revolve the lyrically content and the musically feeling of it.
Well that’s actually what we are doing right now, that’s actually what we’ve always been doing. Chris has written every word that has ever been in any song and it’s always been about nothing more than his struggle to be alive, just like anyone else. These are universal emotions and I think that’s part of what people are attracted to about our band. So that’s my answer. The everyday holy shit like, “What will I do? What is this, you know? How do I deal with this? How do I deal with that? This thing makes me feel weird, what does that mean? Where do I go with it?”
Questioning things and not falling into the whole system of “Ok, well this person said it so I’m just going to believe it.” You have to suspect everything.
Yeah, exactly. It’s all about exploring that independent mindedness thing.
– How would you describe each record and how do you think the band has evolved from when the band first started to present day?
First and foremost, we’ve all gotten better at our instruments. Learned more chords, learned different scales, learned different ways to structure a song. Learned different methods of writing a song. Sometimes we’ll start a song with a riff and sometimes we’ll start a song with a melody and sometime we’ll start a song with a lyric. Just generally evolving, you know? Developing our palette just like a painter might learn to mix colors better as he got older.
– What is your opinion about bands focusing their lyrics on religion/politics? Should it be done in moderation, not at all, or in heavy doses?
That reminds me of;have you seen;what is it called;it’s called like “No Direction Home” I think, the Bob Dylan documentary that Martin Scorsese did.
No I haven’t.
You should check it out, it’s on PBS every once in a while. I don’t know if you are a Dylan fan or whatever. But “Blowing in the Wind” and songs like that, people picked him as the political poster child in the folk world for this whole counterculture movement and civil rights. Like, that was the song. He never has claimed to be a political guy, he’s like “I don’t know what you guys are talking about!”
So that said, some bands care a lot about politics, I personally care a lot about politics, but we’re not a political band. I mean, Chris and I were just talking about this today on the drive down here. We feel very strongly that there is something you can sort of get from music that in the end might really lend itself towards developing your strong sense of politics or spirituality or whatever. And really what it is about is accepting yourself. That’s the big challenge. Like, where does war come from? Where does people arguing in the Senate chamber come from? It comes from people going like “Ah I can’t look at this ugly mole on my face. I’m going to point out your mole!” If everyone could just go “Alright, I have a fucking mole!” That’s just the way it is, I think there would be a lot more happiness in the world.
I think the bands that do the whole political approach correctly, in a sense, are the ones that don’t really claim to do it. There are a lot of bands out there that are like “We’re a political band.” And I think they use that for marketing to connect with people that are into that kind of thing. The ones that are actually doing it and are doing it because that’s what they’re into or speak about;you ask if they are a political band and they say “Not really.”
I think there are so many things out there that people use as marketing tools.
Yeah, and in theory, in a perfect world, the politicians would do that too. They would just talk about what they felt strongly about talking about and everything would be great. But that isn’t what happens unfortunately. They have to get reelected and blah blah blah. Whatever, we’re not even going to get into that cause that’s not the name of the game here.
– Which moment in the band’s history did you realize that this is what you want to be doing?
It was in the weeks and months after we had a really bad van wreck, back in 2000. I kind of, almost died cause I was touring in a van and trying to make it. Talk about perspectives, you know? We kept going. We got back in the van only like a week later, my face was still broken open and we kept playing shows. Every single night I go out and there and like, “Oh, wow! I guess I must really love this.” Because I just didn’t run with my tail between my legs and go home back to my parents’ house or go back to college. There must be a reason. Ever since then, that’s the daily process for me. None of us in this band are taking this for granted. One iota, we are very mindful of what it is we are doing and why we’re doing it and what the goals are. And the fact that, if we’re not really committed to doing this, like truly committed, then we shouldn’t be here. We should step out of the way and let one of the thousands of other bands that are committed to doing it but aren’t getting the exposure that they probably deserve take our place. And I think every band should do that.
Which moment pushed you to doubt being in the band?
There was a long time after “In Reverie” came out, not to say that no one liked that record because I know lots of people liked it. We still sold plenty of copies of it and we were very proud of it and we still are very proud of it. There was a long time where Chris had some real bad writer’s block, there was nothing new coming out. And there was just a lot of waiting going on, a lot of “What are we doing? Oh man, this is dragging on and on.” And it was kind of getting to the point for me where, thankfully it all turned around. Chris and I had a strong enough connection as friends first. I mean I got passed my point where I’m like “Look dude, the band must continue, we gotta write a record.” That kind of thing. Once that part had worn off, which it did at a certain point, I could be like “I love this guy. He’s my friend, he’s going through a really hard time.” He took it harder than the rest of us. They’re his word. He’s always been dealt the brunt of whatever antagonism, whatever criticism. I get to kind of stand off to the side a little bit. It’s hitting him every time and every time anything comes out. And I kind of got to remind myself of that, “I need to help this guy. I need to do what I can do.” But that was it. There was a long time like while we writing “Sound The Alarm”, while we were recording it even, where I was just like, “I really want to get this record done. I am committed to getting this record done, but I don’t know for certain where I’m going with it.” But thankfully it all worked out and here we still are, two years later.
Yeah, it’s tough. When I write…I’m currently writing a book.
Oh cool. What is it about?
I’ll let you know after the interview. There are times when I’m writing and I feel like I can’t come up with anything new. So I start doubting myself. When I am writing something, I want to make it the best thing I could write. I get so critical of myself.
Let me give you the advice that changed everything for us. It was the moment when, I don’t remember exactly who suggested it. I think Chris was reading, actually Chris was reading a book, I don’t know if it was a writer, well obviously it’s a writer that wrote the book. But it was some book about the writing process, I think it must have been a novelist or maybe a poet, I can’t remember if it was a he or she. But he or she said something to the effect of when you’re feeling like you don’t have anything good to write, the worst thing you can do is try to wait for something to come. You’ve got to be willing to write crap. You’ve got to be willing to write it and look at it and go “You know, that’s crap, but at least I wrote something.”
Yeah, and then you can go back and change it and edit it.
Yeah, or maybe you are just going to write crap for like 6 months. But if you are full of crap, you have to get the crap out to get before you get down to the good stuff. It’s like that whole cold diamond metaphor.
– When looking at other bands, what things do they do that anger you and what makes you support them?
Well, any band that has integrity. Any band that is being true to what they believe in, I will always respect no matter what it is. I don’t care if they are a bunch of Nazis, not that I support that, but if they feel really strongly in white supremacy, then God bless them for going for it.
As long as they are sticking to what they believe in.
Exactly, exactly. You know, I’ll say that music is about music. We all spend money on taking good pictures of ourselves and making expensive videos every once in a while when we can afford to do it because that’s part of how you get the music out there. I get a little bummed out when I see bands relying too heavily on the image of what a rock band is. At the same time, image is incredibly important. This is based on a certain degree of younger people wanting to emulate these guys. We’re on a stage, I get it the whole thing.
At least have an honest image.
Yeah. At least be true to it and don’t bank on it, bank on your songs.
– In one hundred years, do you think a new style of music would evolve and what would be different about music in general?
Oh my god, so much is going to be different in 100 years, I couldn’t even begin to answer that question. When we were mastering the record, we mastered “Under The Boards” with this guy, he’s been in the business forever. He does the Rolling Stones records, he does Tom Petty, he does all, you know, people that have been around forever. He was kind of joking with us and he kind of spun around in his chair in the middle of doing his thing, and he’s like “So are you guys ready to start writing ringtones or what?” You know, that’s the next step. We’re not even going to be writing songs sometime, we’re going to be writing hooks and then people are going to be listening to them in between phone calls. And that’s already happening. We’ll see where it goes, but music is music, like songs will change.
Way back in the day, rock songs were 2 and a half minutes long because that is all you could fit on a little 45. That’s it and if you wanted to fit anymore then it wasn’t going to sound good. And then when we started getting LPs, LPs were about 30 minutes long because that’s all you could fit on two sides of an LP, if you wanted to sound halfway decent. If you wanted to put more music on, then you were going to lose a bunch of fidelity. So people started making double LPs and then the CD came out. What happened? People started making 70-minute albums because they can sometimes, not saying everyone did it, we didn’t. But it’s all changing constantly. What I’m trying to get to is with the internet, with storage being such a simple thing now, information storage, you know? Now with these two terabyte hard drives, that are like $500 or whatever. It’s amazing how fast this shit is changing. And the medium will like it always has been, the medium will dictate the change.
It’s like, way back when the Triborough Bridge was built in New York City, they built this bridge and they were like “Alright. We are going to spend a lot of money on this bridge. Let’s make it extra big because that way we won’t have to build another bridge.” You know what happened? They build the bridge and did all the mapping, they did all their research and they were like “Alright we built this bridge, it’ll be 20 years before we have to build another one.” They built the bridge and within a year, there were traffic jams on that bridge, just because they built it that big. So that is how it works.
I always wonder about different times and how there was always a new genre that emerged. So I am just thinking of what is going to be the next thing. I’ve thought about it and I listen to a lot of different kinds of music out there, and I wonder about what is going to be next. There was a time when people didn’t know what rock was and then it came out. I’m just trying to think about what is going to be next and what is it going to sound like.
Yeah, the sky is the limit, you know? I’m not even going to try and speculate. Everything will happen at some point. That’s for sure.
– Anything else you want the readers to know?
Our record is out October 30th and we hope you like it. We like it. We’ll be on tour, the whole band, the beginning of next year. You know, that’s it. Listen to good music, avoid the bad stuff.