SXSW Interviews: Mitch Davis

Mitch Davis is about to release his new LP, The Haunt, dropping this April via Arbutus Records. But, before he drops it, he’s making his way down to Austin for SXSW, as well as hitting up a bunch of other dates on his way towards town. So, sample a tune here, then read on to introduce yourself to Mitch here!

ATH: What’s the name of the band/group? Where are you from?

Mitch: Mitch Davis, Montreal.

ATH: Describe your groups sound.

Mitch: Some sort of casual bedroom rock/soul/jazz splashed with a weird attention to detail. I try to make concise and memorable chords and melodies, but really just want a banner that can hold anything I experiment with.

ATH: What was your most recent release? Any planned releases for 2022?

Mitch: I have a full LP coming with Arbutus Records on April 29th called “The Haunt”, and I just dropped the first single called “Let It Die”. Another single “My City Life” comes out on March 10th though.

ATH: Everyone’s been focused on the negative aspects of the last few years? What are a few good things that came about for you as an individual or the band as a whole during the last two pandemic-stricken years?

Mitch: I actually started from scratch with this new project in March of 2020, so it’s been everything! I’ve felt a lot of new energy for recording and having some things on the horizon to look forward to really helped me get through the worst of the endless isolation.

ATH: Why play SXSW? What’s the draw for the band? What about this festival will bring you to Austin?

Mitch: I’ve only been once while playing drums in Faith Healer, so I’m just excited to get there again. At this point I desperately crave show and festival life, so I can’t wait to meet some folks and hang with my friends from other cities who’ll be around town.

ATH: Lets say your band has booked an official showcase at a pop up venue somewhere in the middle of 6th street. The lineup features thrash metal, hip-hop, spoken word, and you. The sound is horrible, the lineup is not your style, and the crowd is growing antsy. How would your band deal with such a situation?

Mitch: Doesn’t sound so different from a hundred other shows I’ve had to play. I think it’s best to just be natural and treat it more like you’re having an experience with the audience rather than stiffly performing your material for them. Confidence and comfort is contagious, so I’d just want to get into it it fast and try to change people’s moods.

ATH: There are tons of bands coming into town, but if you could create your own perfect festival, who would you have playing? Would it have a sick name? Where would it take place?

Mitch: In dreamland sure.. Let’s say Fela Kuti plays and hosts features by Nina Simone and Andre 3000. Stevie plays Clav with Jorge Ben and Prince.

ATH: What has everyone in the band been listening to, or, what plays in the tour van/car/bus?

Mitch: Seems like on most tours we get so sick of music that I end up convincing everyone to listen to the podcast Hardcore History for 20 hours at a time.

But at home I usually get obsessed with like one song at a time. Lately it’s been Stevie Wonder’s Too High, especially knowing he played everything…

ATH: There’s been a lot of discussion about Spotify and streaming and all that these last few months where does the band stand? What’s your solution?

Mitch: The solution is fair pay for plays, but I don’t really see a way out of the services when they offer the best chance to reach the widest audience. Only as a superstar can you really afford to do that. I avoided Spotify for years when it first started with my old projects. In retrospect it was just dumb of me.

Though, there’s no replacing touring; you can have millions in passive streams and still no one cares when you come to town.

ATH: The band gets to create their own food truck to take on the road. Whats it called, and what are you serving?

Mitch: And we have to eat it every day? Damn.. well to not destroy our guts entirely I’d say Ramen or something. Sun Ramen.

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