Davison of Maps and Atlases
Liverpool O2 Academy
October 22, 2010
Before his final show in England of the tour, lead singer and guitarist
of Maps and Atlases Dave Davison sat back stage with me and talked about
what it was like playing in the UK, the release of their new record, Perch
Patchwork and what might be next for him and the band.
First off, thanks for taking time out
before the show to have a chat.
No problem, thank you very much for the opportunity.
Do you find playing in the UK any different
than playing the US or touring the UK after establishing yourself in the
I can see how it would be extraordinarily different for certain bands.
I think, broadly speaking, that the shows don’t feel that much different.
It’s a mellow, positive vibe everywhere we go. Obviously, we spend
more time touring around the US, but the shows we started playing there
were much smaller than our first in the UK. We developed a connection
with the people, playing for our friends, but this is only our second
tour here [in the UK]. Our first shows in the US were made up of friends
and friends of friends.
Are the shows in the UK now a bit more
intimate because of the size as compared to the shows you play in the
In some ways, I feel like both sides feel that way which is really cool
and interesting in a lot of ways because we don’t get to play in
the UK as much.
How do you think your sound, as a band,
has progressed from your first EP, Trees, Swallows, Houses, through You,
Me, and the Mountain, to Perch Patchwork?
We spent a lot of time playing together and jamming as a band before we
recorded anything and I think our first EP was the first time we had a
clear idea of how to balance experiential and technical ideas with making
meaningful and exciting pop songs.
The way that we have progressed is by getting better at packing more into
shorter songs and making it more accessible, but not any less technical
or experimental. I think one way we’ve done that is by getting better
at layering things. When You, Me, and the Mountain first came out a lot
of people thought it was much less technical than the first album, but
I though that it was just as technical but much more subtle.
found that You, Me, and the Mountain had an emphasis on being polyrhythmic,
but much more structured for the listener and Perch Patchwork was meant
to be very cohesive and very much an album experience.
Yeah, thank you very much. I think we could have turned either one of
our EPs into a full LP but there was a specific energy with them when
we finished and if we tacked on a few more songs it wouldn’t have
felt right. This time I felt like we really set out to have a much more
diverse sound and dynamic, to make all of these different things balance
and be connected as well as maintain their diverseness.
What do you think the future holds for
you guys, musically, touring, etc.?
Right after this we’re doing a three week tour of the US, specifically
the South East, which is an area we haven’t really been in before.
We’re always writing new stuff, but we each have a lot of songs
written and demoed that are not specifically for Maps and Atlases or any
particular thing. I’m kind of interested in seeing which path will
illuminate itself because it’s easy for any band, at any level,
to be the type that tours constantly and is always looking to what’s
Yeah, you don’t want to have one
project you’re solely associated with. Recently, you were actually
on tour in the US doing some of your solo stuff; do think that project
helps you make the decision as to what to do next?
Yeah, I definitely credit it to that. There is a tendency in thinking
about anything and trying to make a homogenised decision to say, ‘Oh
it would be cool to do this or to do that and record this album!’
Once you do a lot of touring and have that drive to do something it becomes
natural and fun and things arise as they should.
What are some of your main influences,
or who was the band or singer that you first heard and made you think
I want to do that?
It’s really tough to say because I listened to so much and started
playing the guitar so early.
For example, when I was thirteen I remember
hearing Everlong by the Foo Fighters and thinking, I want to do that!
Yeah! It’s funny you bring that up actually. I started playing guitar
really young, before I even knew why and I went to this big radio day
festival that had bands like the Foo Fighters, Harvey Danger, and all
that. I think I was in 7th grade and my dad took me and a bunch of my
friends and I remember the band Eve 6 was playing and they were really
young and all of a sudden there was this massive connection with all these
people playing and listening to music. I still get really excited to play
outdoor festivals because of that.
Even though I still listen to a lot of that stuff I got really into my
parents’ old record collection afterwards; stuff like David Bowie,
Talking Heads, Van Morrison, Otis Redding, albums that I still listen
to a lot today.
I just started listening to Van Morrison’s
Astral Weeks again and I couldn’t believe how much there was to
it and how much I hadn’t picked up on.
Yeah, I think that there is so much happening now in the music world and
they’re a lot of great bands out there now, but there’s something
about people like Bowie or Van Morrison - Dylan too obviously - where
it seems to me that these works re-illuminate themselves over a period
of time. You go back to them and there are all these new things about
them. I could go on and on about them, but I’m trying to think of
some new artists, too.
Last question, because I know you guys
have to get ready to perform, if someone were to ask you, even though
I hate the question, what would be the most recently played artists on
As far as new artists; I’ve been listening to a lot of Nick Cave
and Kate Bush
Any last thing you want to add?
This is our last show in England and it’s really exciting that all
the shows went well and were fun. Plus we learned that we can go somewhere
like England or Germany or Amsterdam and play to a great crowd. It’s
really amazing and something that we don’t take for granted.