We had a very unique opportunity to interview 3 time Grammy nominee David Arkenstone and to learn a little bit about his music and his creative process. David’s remarkable career includes the release of over 40 studio albums recorded on some of the most prestigious New Age labels like Narada and Windham Hill. As a talented and skilled instrumentalist, David writes and performs music on several instruments including, bouzouki, mandolin, guitar, bass guitar, harp, cello, flute, electronic keyboards, piano, Turkish saz, pennywhistle, melodica and pan pipes. As a composer, his unique mark can be found in film, television and even video games. We were thrilled to gain some insights into this most remarkable artist and even more to share them here with you.
May you be inspired!
LBFH: At what age were you attracted to music?
DA: I remember hearing Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker when I was around 4 years of age. I wanted to learn how those sounds were made and why they made me feel a certain way.
LBFH: Were you encouraged as a child?
DA: My parents were both musical and they certainly did encourage my early musical development.
LNFH: Would you say you were an artistic child?
DA: Not so much! Except in music.
LBFH: Did you study music and were you formally taught?
DA: I took every music class in high school, and quite few at the college level.
LBFH: What bands and artists were among your earliest influences?
DA: The Beatles of course, Tchaikovsky, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Yes, Deep Purple, Jefferson Airplane, The Byrds, Maurice Ravel, Jean Sibelius, Pink Floyd…
LBFH: What was your first instrument? What did you have to do to get it?
DA: A guitar from Sears department store. I had to do a lot of extra chores to get it!
LBFH: Can you remember your first experience on stage?
DA: I played tambourine and sang in a band for the Junior High School talent show.
LBFH: At what point did you know that you wanted to be a professional musician
DA: 10 – 12 years old…
LBFH: Were there sacrifices along the way?
DA: That’s hard to say. I didn’t follow a career path with a traditional result, like accountant, or doctor, so there certainly were challenges, money-wise. But I always had other jobs until music became my living.
LBFH: How much time daily or weekly do you spend writing new music?
DA: 8-10 hours per day
LBFH: Can you describe your studio creative space?
DA: My studio is in my home, so it’s very comfortable. Wood floors, lots of light, close to the refrigerator…! Grand piano….
LBFH: What equipment do you use?
DA: I use Mac computers, ProTools software with many additional plug-ins, an 88 key midi keyboard and the piano.
LBFH: What do you enjoy the most about performing?
DA: The interaction and gratitude of the audience.
LBFH: What do you enjoy the least about performing?
DA: Sometimes there’s a lot of preparation, but I still enjoy it..!
LBFH:Can you describe your creative process and how your songs are written & produced?
DA: I try to get an overview of the project I’m going to create, and then create a palette of sounds I will use. Sometimes I’ll just start playing guitar or piano or drums until a seed of an idea pops out. Then it’s a long process of refining and arranging the music. Sort of filling in the colors of the painting.
LBFH: How do you feel the industry has changed over the past 2 decades?
DA: It’s changed a lot. Less open radio formats, online purchasing now the mainstream, touring used to support recordings and now it’s almost the opposite. A lot more music is available to the audience, so it’s challenging to get heard sometimes, though people seem to be listening to more music, too.
LBFH: What are the most significant changes?
DA: I think I miss the lack of packaging, which used to be a way to communicate more of the artist’s intent to the audience.
LBFH: What are your views on social media and how it impacts you as an artist?
DA: I think social media has become a way to communicate directly with fans and possible new fans. It’s a way to announce new projects and be available for contact. Sometimes it can be time consuming to a point where I think, gee, I could have written another piece in the time I just spent on Facebook…!
LBFH: Do you feel that your work promotes and inspires the arts and music in the community?
DA: I can only hope so. I hear from young artists all the time who have just been introduced to my music, and they seem full of inspiration.
LBFH: How would you like to see music and arts evolve locally?
DA: I think the world could use more places to hear live music.
LBFH: What legacy do you hope to leave behind you?
DA:I hope to leave a body of work that inspires people, takes them on adventures, and moves them in a significant way.
LBFH: How do you think people view you as an artist?
DA: Not sure. An adventurous musician?
LBFH: What advice would you give to someone who was looking to get into the music business?
DA: Don’t unless you’re completely obsessed and can’t do anything else!
LBFH: What’s next for you?
DA: Just released a new album, Native Chill, getting my Symphonic Adventure show on tour, and I’m writing an opera…
LINK TO THIS ARTIST: DAVID ARKENSTONE
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