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David Ward sings to bring about a Golden Future Time

Music Critics in Canada and England have heard the call about Vancouver's David Ward

By Scott Wood

Vancouver virtuoso David Ward has only put out a few EPs, but he’s already got music critics noticing his music, both here in Canada and the United Kingdom. His silvery voice regularly gets compared to music legends like Jeff Buckley, Thom Yorke (from Radiohead) and Stevie Wonder. This year, Ward released his latest album Golden Future Time. This two-sided album showcases Ward’s diversity by pulling off both prog-rock and astral-soul seamlessly in one sitting.

The whole album [Golden Future Time] flows from the fear of loss and the need for ideas that are bigger than us to preserve our hope and innocence

Here is my chat with David Ward.

Scott Wood: Your new record Golden Future Time is split into two parts, ideally one part for each side of a vinyl record. Could you explain what this is all about?

David Ward: The whole album flows from the fear of loss and the need for ideas that are bigger than us to preserve our hope and innocence. I wanted to explore different facets of that idea musically and lyrically and vinyl was the perfect medium to accomplish this.

Hello folks, Scott Wood here! I'm the host of the interview show, which is a syndicated radio program you can find on several campus community radio stations across Canada. Each month, I profile one of the "hidden talents" in my local Vancouver scene. Basically, I am going to give the campus community radio readers the chance to get to know some of Vancouver's most interesting, up-and-coming bands.

Scott Wood: This sounds like an idea tailored for vinyl collectors. What do you say to the "ipod" people who only listen to music track-to-track?

David Ward: I worked hard on each individual track and each song is meant to stand on its own regardless of whether or not I had a bigger concept in mind. If that's the way people want to listen to it, I think that's great.

Scott Wood: This isn't the first time you've experimented with different genres. In 2012 you released three digital EPs that explored different genres and themes. Is there ever the voice of a crotchety old grandpa inside your head that says, "Pick a genre and stick with it, goddammit!"

David Ward: Haha! No. It's not the way I absorb or create music and art. The challenge is to take the audience with you on the ride and I'm learning to trust in that more and more.

Scott Wood: I read an interview where you said “But there’s nothing like being at a Stevie Wonder concert and seeing everybody holding hands and fucking hugging…" When was the last time this happened to you at a concert? (With a girlfriend doesn't count.) 

David Ward: Haha! You know, I think it's a bit of a rare thing to get that at a concert. I think Mavis Staples will make you feel that. She is a positive force to be reckoned with on stage. Gregory Porter will also melt your heart and have you weeping tears of joy on your friend's shoulder. I saw him again this summer at the Vancouver Jazz Festival. Powerful.

Scott Wood: Many music critics compare you to Jeff Buckley, Thom Yorke (from Radiohead) and Stevie Wonder. You guys all can sing the high notes. Can you talk about another artist who may not have a voice like yours, but you feel a special kinship with? 

David Ward: Peter Gabriel, Sinatra, Nina Simone...there are lots.

I'm much more interested in inspiring or challenging people, than appeasing them.

Scott Wood: You've said the album title, Golden Future Time, comes from a line in George Orwell's novel Animal Farm. It is a song the Beasts of England sing. The pigs sing it to the proletariat animals to keep them appeased. Given that you've chosen music as a career, how do you feel about appeasing the people?

David Ward: Oh God. Well, I would say I'm much more interested in inspiring or challenging people, than appeasing them. It's been a little while since I read the book, but to clarify from that earlier interview, the original anthem is given to the animals by a senior boar, Old Major, a sort of Marx-like figure. It comes from a place of good intentions, to inspire rebellion, bring about freedom and a 'golden future time' via an animal-led farm.

Scott Wood: I've read that you are on a particularly strict diet to stem chronic acid reflux. Can you talk about this a bit?

David Ward: There's not much more to say than what you have said. I have had it for too many years now and it is something that affects singers when it gets bad enough. However, I am doing everything I can now to remedy it.

As strange as it could be, I feel that theatre school was a great education for my life period. It floats in and out of everything that I do.

Scott Wood: You're a theatre school graduate. When do you use those skills for music?

David Ward: All the time. As strange as it could be, I feel that theatre school was a great education for my life period. It floats in and out of everything that I do.


Scott Wood: While googling you, I found The David Ward Trio (Sax, Guitar, Bass) which consists of professional musicians who each have over 30 years of experience in the music business. Some of the Trio's engagements include Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Garden Party, Prime Minister Paul Martin's Christmas Party, Prime Minister Jean Chretien's Retirement Party and a cocktail reception for President George Bush. What's your strangest or most prestigious work-for-hire gig?

David Ward: Opening up for Trooper at Peach Festival in the Okanagan with a funk/soul cover band was pretty surreal. The most prestigious is probably last year at the Vancouver Jazz Festival. That was a definite high.

Scott Wood: You are also making a documentary film about being an independent musician in Canada. What's one thing you found out while making the doc that has surprised you, considering you are also an indie musician in Canada?

David Ward: I think what has surprised me and excited me the most is the passion and dedication that each of the people we have talked to has in spades. When you are an indie musician navigating the scene you can run into some jaded, abrupt and surly figures. More than anything, I've learned how important it is for everybody to work together and pull their weight in each equation and relationship to hold the whole damn thing up.

Scott Wood: Thanks for answering my questions. Could you introduce your favorite David Ward video?

David Ward: Thanks for these questions, Scott. I’ll start with some of the lyrics to the song. “…miss it when it goes, ask to find where it went but no one really knows…” – “Lost,” Golden Future Time

“Lost” is a concept video and companion piece to my new album Golden Future Time. The video was directed by Redbud Films and shot in the dramatic and otherworldly landscape of the Isle of Skye in northern Scotland. This video centres on the struggle for self in the presence of torment and fear.

L O S T from David Ward on Vimeo.

David Ward’s Upcoming Summer Shows
June 6 Vancouver | The Space (1636 Franklin Street, Vancouver) Exclusive Festival Teaser Show
June 20 Victoria | TD Victoria International Jazz Festival w/Lady
June 22 Victoria | TD Victoria International Jazz Festival FREE SHOW
June 28 Vancouver | TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival FREE SHOW
August 3 Kaslo | Kaslo Jazz Festival FREE SHOW

Find more about David Ward online.

Listen to upcoming episodes of the interview show for an audio chat with David Ward.

The Interview Show is everywhere.

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