David Herndon
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David Herndon


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David Herndon @ Epworth by the Sea

St. Simons Island, Georgia, USA

St. Simons Island, Georgia, USA

David Herndon @ Harvest

Rock Eagle, Georgia, USA

Rock Eagle, Georgia, USA

David Herndon @ Wilmington Island UMC

Savannah, Georgia, USA

Savannah, Georgia, USA

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As the admittedly atheist Moue staff member, I might seem an odd person to be writing about (and recommending) music by an artist whose music is steeped in Christianity. But, like Sufjan Stevens’ Seven Swans, David Herndon’s album Into Danger- Out of Rescue explores religion without seeming preachy. The album opens with “A Church or a Brothel” exploring the dissatisfaction (of anything or everything) that follows through our lives. The second track, “Trying to Feel”, is about wanting to be who you were before your heart was broken and your perception scarred. Other songs on the album deal with self loathing, tragedy and seemingly feeble attempts we all make to keep moving forward. While the religious influences are evident, the music touches on topics so personal and identifiable to everyone that those that don’t share his religious background will still connect to the themes.

David Herndon was kind enough to answer Moue’s 5 Questions to help us get our Indie Musician of the Week segment rolling again.

5 Questions with David Herndon

1. Describe your sound in 10 words or less.

Dylan influenced, Derek Webb Issues, Copeland-esque melodies via Wilco-like production.

2. What is your own personal history with music?

My dad was/is a huge folk music fan. I grew up listening to a lot of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. My mom was a big Otis Redding fan. The result is that I always felt like music’s purpose is much greater than something to listen to while you’re driving. It should make you think about important things and make you feel significant emotions.

When I was 15, my uncle started teaching me to play guitar. Most of my friends who were learning only wanted to be able to play “Stairway to Heaven” or Nirvana. The only purpose I saw in learning to play guitar was in order to become a songwriter- to use music to make people think about important things and to feel significant emotions.

So that’s what I’ve been trying to do ever since.

3. What is the album making process like for you?

It starts with the writing. I never really sit down for the purpose of writing a specific song. I just try to make time to play guitar each day and just kind of start setting my thoughts to a melody. Every once in a while it turns into something I feel like needs to be shared. At that point, I make a demo recording to get a feel for the full band version. With Into Danger/Out of Rescue I had these songs that all seemed to fit together and present one unified message and they evoked strong emotions. I don’t feel like I wrote these songs as much as they wrote me. I shared them with Jason Harwell (president of Rebuilt) and he said, “Let’s record.” Somewhare in the process we felt like the issues the songs deal with needed to be explored deeper in some way so Jason encouraged me to write a book to accompany the CD.

I spent a week at Paul Reeves’ DOMUS studio where we recorded and arranged nearly 24/7 for 5 days straight. It was a lot of work all at once, but I don’t really like to split up the time. I’d rather build on the momentum of the creative process as it happens. We also had a lot of friends dropping by, and we tried to get them involved. Jonathan Rich, Michah Dalton, Natalie Moon and a ton of other friends visited throughout the recording time. It really felt less like work and more like fun. Micah, Natalie, Jason and Paul all made contributions to the recording. In my opinion, anytime you can get more people, more friends involved in the creative process, the better the end result will be. A few of the songs sound much different than my original demos- and it is hard to give up something you feel like you’ve birthed- but I’m really happy with the way everything turned out. And having my friends feel like they have some ownership in the project is an added bonus.

4. What are the largest struggles for an independent musician trying to make it?

I think that depends on your version of what “making it” is. I’m not really trying to be in the top 40 or on TRL or anything- not that there is anything wrong with that. My music is a little weightier and not exactly top 40 type material, so I have different expectations than others. My goal is to share the messages of these songs with people who will listen, so in a way I think I have less struggles than your average independent musician.

One struggle I do have is dealing with time away from home. I have a wife and two sons under the age of 5. I want them to be a part of what I’m doing as much as I can, and I try to take them on the road with me every time I go. But it is hard enough to pack guitars and equipment and merch into the truck when I’m by myself. Throw in a pack and play and some diaper bags and it gets even harder. I also get funny reactions when I pull up to a venue with the family in tow or when I come off stage to trade my guitar for a Baby Bjorn. It’s all worth it, though, if they feel connected to what I am doing.

5. How can fans of your music best support your career?

I would say for me the question is: “How can my music best support my fans?” I want to write and share music that is going to encourage them in their lives and address the issues and struggles we all face. Sometimes when you’re struggling you feel like an alien of sorts, like you’re the only person in the world who feels a certain way. When you hear a song that reflects musically exactly what’s in your heart, it can do so much more than professional therapy. Sometimes it can just be one line from a song that changes your whole perspective on your circumstance, your life. I think this is the greatest service I can do for others.

Each month, I put up a free song through a series I call The Writer’s Closet. It is a way for me to experiment with new demos, but it is a way to serve the fans, too, by giving them something for nothing. I also blog regularly- not about what my favorite color is or what I had for lunch- but hopefully about real life things that will benefit the reader.

As a fan of music myself, there are so many musicians I have emailed or messaged through the various “social network” sties, and very few of them even write back. Those that do respond mostly send a one sentence response, like they’re just trying to be nice. Musicians need to realize that once we make a song public by recording it and putting it on iTunes, the internet, whatever- we have given up ownership of the song. Once we put it out there, it belongs to the listeners and we have a responsibility. The fans make the music a part of their life and the songwriter is the embodiment of that song, so the connection between the fan and musician is vital- not just for our sake, but for the fans.

It is a relationship. I try to support them and when they respond to my efforts, I am supported. I don’t see why anyone would expect anything less.

- www.mouemagazine.wordpress.com

In perhaps the most prolific liner notes in EP history—43 pages for this
five-song, 18-minute disc—David Herndon provides incredible reflection on
the songs that make up his _Into Danger + Out of Rescue_ release. His
devotional essays and not exactly rhetorical questions offer a great
personal study in human faith and failings. Thankfully, the songs he
delivers rise to the quality of his words in print. Akin to Harwell’s
pleasing melodies and acoustic warmth, Herndon fits well into the Rebuilt
family. Stylish electronic enhancements and fantastic background vocals
(from several other Rebuilt artists) make for a “you’ve got to hear this
guy” EP.
- Phantom Tollbooth (Greg Adams)

Brunswick, GA-based singer/songwriter David Herndon is not afraid to ask dangerous questions. Editor of About Christian Music, Mark Tulk, spoke with him recently to find out more about his new EP 'Into Danger, Out of Rescue' and why it's actually okay to question God (every now and then)...

Mark Tulk: Thanks for your time today David. Perhaps you could start by briefly describing the sort of music you do... I suppose the sort of style, or genre you feel it best fits into...

David Herndon: You know that's a really hard question to answer. I've always seen myself as more of an acoustic, folk artist. I grew up listening to a lot of Bob Dylan and that kinda stuff, and when I wrote Into Danger, Out of Rescue I can't say I wrote it as much as it wrote me. These songs kinda found me. Each one, after I wrote it, was like 'now that's different!' I've definitely written songs before where I've just sat down and said 'I want to write a song that sounds like this, or says this'... but these really came out of a season when I was not writing music. I wasn't writing but I'd sit down and strum the guitar, and all of a sudden every one of those songs -- they didn't all come at once, they came over the course of a year or so -- just came in a 'bam' moment. So I feel that this EP kinda fits into a rock genre, but for me it's really about each song having just a little piece of it that doesn't fit anywhere... and that's kinda the point... to get your attention.

Mark Tulk: And it's actually been quite a while since your first record with Rebuilt... is that right? A few years ago?

David Herndon: Like five or six years ago now!

Mark Tulk: Wow. Why so long between records? Have you felt there's not been the material there to release?

David Herndon: We recorded that first CD at my house on a little eight-track... you know, I wasn't married yet or anything like that, and right after we released it, I got married a few months later, then we were pregnant, had a child and moved to another city, started a new job... it was just one thing after another. And in the midst of that I wasn't really out playing and I didn't really have time to sit down and write. So in a spiritual sense, I think God's put the desire in my heart to do this, and now's the time when he wants me to answer that call. But I think, in reality, it just wasn't time. The songs that I have out now, they definitely came out of seasons of experience and 'trial by fire'. God took me through some experiences and taught me a lot of things that I don't think I would've learned otherwise. And that's really where this new EP comes from. So I have a lot of good reasons why I wasn't putting anything out, but I think in reality it was just God holding me back.

Mark Tulk: It wasn't the right time...

David Herndon: Yeah, that's right.

Mark Tulk: The album, Into Danger, Out of Rescue also comes with a short book of 'reflections' or -- more accurately -- questions. Could you tell us a little bit about what's behind the name of the album and the concept?

Read the full article:
http://www.aboutchristianmusic.com.au/david_herndon_interview.html - www.aboutchristianmusic.com


2008 - Into Danger/Out of Rescue - Rebuilt Records

2001 - Ten Million Times and One - Rebuilt Records



At an age when most men are settling down, David Herndon is just getting started. At 29, with a wife, 2 small children, a family dog, and a full time job David decided to become a full-time Independent Musician.

"Into Danger/Out of Rescue," released January 29th on Rebuilt Records. An appropriate title to coincide with his lifestyle change. To keep with David's atypical-ness, he decided to write a book to accompany the EP.

"To me, music is just another avenue to transport a message. The last thing I want to do is put more 'noise' out there. I wanted to give a piece of art - something unique and something that makes you slow down and think about things. This project is more about challenging people than it is about simple entertainment."

David's changes were not finished yet. In addition to releasing a new CD and book, David decided to do something original in the online world. In addition to having his website, MySpace, blog (and other standard online communities), David started a site called The Writer's Closet. Each month David writes and records a brand new song and then makes it available for free download... forever.

"I think many times musicians approach the business looking for what they can get out of it. I see it as a way to give. I have felt such joy and freedom in the decisions I have made, and I want share that with other people."

Whatever anxieties David might have had are surely by the wayside now. He has shared the stage with the likes of Bebo Norman, Mac Powell (of Third Day), and underground sensation Micah Dalton. In the past 4 months he has played over 30 venues. His online growth coincides with over 25,000 visits collectively to his websites, with over 4,000 plays and downloads. David was the Indie Artist of the Week in Moue Magazine and a featured artist on AboutChristianMusic.com and on IndieHeaven.com.

So whether you're watching him, reading him, or listening to him, you're bound to get something different from David Herndon.

And that's a change you'll appreciate.