PropertyOfZack Interview : : Davy And The Gods
Davy And The Gods is a brand new band that formed on last year’s Warped Tour that consists of Tommy Simms (Automatic Loveletter), Chris Gaylor (The All-American Rejects), Andy Jackson (Hot Rod Circuit), Ryan Metacalf (Automatic Loveletter), Shane Schuch, Drake Sweet, and Spencer Bradham. I was lucky enough to hop on the phone with Tommy to discuss the new band, how it’s different from other music out there, their first EP, a second EP, touring, and a whole bunch more. Read up, this band is going to catch a lot of people off guard!
Most people know you as the guitarist for Automatic Loveletter, but you’ve started a new band called Davy And The Gods. How long ago did you decide to start the project?
We started it on Warped Tour 2010. It was Chris Gaylor, from the All American Rejects, Ryan, and I. We actually just conceived it into a baby band, we just wanted a project, and then it kind of became real over the past few months.
Who else is in the band in terms of who recorded instruments in the studio?
It was everyone except for Chris. It was Andy Jackson, myself (Tommy Simms), Ryan Metcalf, Shane Schuch, Drake Sweet, and Spencer Bradham.
Was there a particular reason for you guys to start the band, or was it just good Warped Tour hangouts and the desire to start a project?
Actually, I put out a solo record and it did really well amongst our fans, but I don’t necessarily want to be a solo artist and never really wanted that. So we decided because Automatic Loveletter isn’t always keeping as busy, and really does do tours by themselves and solo stuff here and there, let’s put a project together that is primarily the guys of Automatic Loveletter and whoever else so that we have something to do on our off time. Then it kind of grew into something we all really loved. We didn’t what the songs were going to sound like or anything, but it kind of clicked and just came to a point that everyone was so stoked on.
Can you discuss the type of music that we should expect to hear?
It’s cool man, it has all of the pop elements that kids are really into, it’s got really catchy choruses and stuff like that, but there’s a little bit of a southern, almost Tom Petty feel at times, then it gets real dancy. There are definite southern influences in there, a lot of harmonies, but it stays true to mainstream pop elements. I definitely want people to like this but I don’t want it to be something that everybody is sick of hearing. There are differences. And it’s cool, there are a lot of vocalists. Andy sings a song with me, Shane sings a song with me, you know, like throughout the EP you’ll hear a lot of different vocal textures too, it’s pretty cool.
Andy Jackson, who produced the record, told me that the music inspired him because it felt like one giant jam session and that it was refreshing. Is that the type of vibe you guys have?
Dude, what happened, and the reason why Andy is able to be part of this, is because we got there and it was like, we’ve all spent hundreds and hundreds of hours in the studio and countless recording sessions and it’s just like never that vibe. We got there and we felt at home. Within the first day it felt like we were working with a brother. And not only is he an incredible musician, and like, so creative, but we all found things to look up at, or kind of to be inspired by each other. And like yeah, Andy just so happens to be Ryan, and Shane, and myself, like, one of our icons for the late ‘90s and early 2000s emo scene and stuff like that. Like we loved Hot Rod Circuit, so it was a great vibe for us to go in there and work with somebody that we admired so much, and then feel it right back.
POZ: Totally, yeah. And do you think that vibe will sort of come out whenever you guys play shows as well?
Tommy: Yeah. We haven’t gotten a chance to play live in front of people, but we’ve definitely together with Andy in the studio and there’s a dynamic there that I’ve never experienced in another band and I know that our CD release that we’re doing June 5th in Tampa Andy and Chris are both flying out for and I know it’s going to be fucking great. These guys are just solid musicians, the songs are awesome, and we just like love each other. That’s like the best way to describe the band. A lot of people go,” Well, how’s this band going to work with Automatic Loveletter, or All American Rejects, Hot Rod Circuit, or Terrible Things?” The point is, it’s not necessarily a band, as it is a part of us, a project for all of us. What we’re really focusing on doing is touring and festival season, a lot of festival seasons, and we have one solid tour. It’s a pretty badass tour package; it’ll be a pretty amazing first tour.
POZ: When will that be?
Tommy: Mid July to late August.
How many tracks are on the EP?
The EP has 6 tracks. It’s called Stay Hungry Young Man.
When will it be released?
We’re going to do a small run release on June 25th, just like exclusive releases to contest winners, and send some out to blogs. We have 2 contracts that we’re kind of back and forth with to labels before we’re going to do a full-on release.
POZ: Cool, so there has been label interest obviously?
POZ: Is that kind of rad considering you it’s just something you guys sort of started for fun?
Tommy: Yeah I mean it’s the same thing that these labels are hip to. As soon as everyone hears Andy Jackson and Chris Gaylor it’s like there’s a lot of label interest. But when I say we’re not going to be touring 250 days of the year, we’re not going to be able to do all of this stuff, it’s going to be definitely a project band. It’s not going anywhere, but like we’re not going to be able to focus. After going through all of the labels, these last 2 are killer labels and I’d be happy with either one, but we’re just kind of ironing it out, what we’re going to do.
Were there concerns at all though? Because obviously, I’m sure you had your fair talk with Andy, and obviously Terrible Things signed to Universal because it was him, Fred, and Josh, which is like three powerhouse names. I guess it’s the same in this way with Hot Rod and All American Rejects. So, are you guys taking it one step at a time in terms of signing?
Yes, we’re definitely taking one step at a time. I’m flying out to LA tomorrow actually, I’m spending 4 days with Chris. We’re meeting with our manager and we’re going to decide exactly what we’re doing with our manager. The thing that I am not going to do is that I’m not going to sign with a major label. I talked to all these guys about that already. I’ve been on 3 major labels with Automatic Loveletter, and I’ve been shelved twice. I watch all these great bands on indie labels who have a personal connection with their fans, they pick up the phone and they call their label, and they talk to the person they want to talk to. Do you know how hard it is to get somebody on the phone at Sony records? It’s a joke. So, I mean, that’s one thing we all agreed on, is we’re not going to do a major label. We’re not going to be forced into something. Everything has been so smooth and everyone just wants to help. Lisa from Sneak Attack just liked it and wanted to help. Everyone just joins and people want to manage us. I want a label that’s that same vibe, just like, ”Hey man what’s up? Welcome to the label.”
Your priority is obviously Automatic Loveletter, but would you like to record fairly often?
Yeah, we actually have a follow-up EP already finished but we’re going to release it for free. Just to keep the ball rolling and stuff floating on because on the 18th we’re starting the new Automatic Loveletter acoustic record and that’s going to keep us busy. We’re supposed to be in the UK right after for a Davy tour, but Juliet is really into Davy as well, and she’s also really into doing some solo stuff right now. So it might be a good time, if stuff pans out, that we might see a little more distance between Automatic Loveletter and Davy, but we’re not breaking up and nobody is leaving the bands or anything like that.
I guess the band is kind of automatically a big deal just having Andy and Chris in it, is that rad since there is a little bit more of an extra push to get you guys on tours?
So easy. Because I built Automatic Loveletter from the ground up with Juliet and seeing myself able to email these industry people, and I sometimes get a response within 20 minutes just because Gaylor’s and Andy’s names are on the top. You learn more everyday in this industry, it has nothing to do with how good you are, or how pretty you are, it’s all who you know. Just who you know and who’s willing to stick their neck out for you and open the next door. Having these two guys in this band is great, but also having them as my friends over the years has helped tremendously too with networking and those kinds of things.
Obviously they have their respected projects as well, so are you just going to do this when you get a chance to?
That’s the great thing, its like this family. Andy just sent the new Death in the Park tracks to me and Spencer came in and did some synth stuff, and we did some vocal stuff and sent it back to him. He’d do the same thing with Davy. I’m going out tomorrow to spend 4 days in the studio with the Rejects, I’m going to do some harmonies and fuck around with Tyson. Nobody is trying to, there’s no competition. I know who I’m working with, let’s just be a part of it and bring it back to the way it used to be.
Would you like to have that other EP out this year?
Yeah. We are doing another music video in LA and we are going to release the music video and EP for free. Chris and I are going to do the video. It’s a cool video it’s great. We’re going to release the EP with it.