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Interview Exclusive: Daven Atma
Monday, May 4, 2015
Jamsterdam Radio correspondent Kevin Comiskey had the opportunity to touch base with Canadian folk singer Daven Atma this month to talk about Bob Dylan, inspirations and music creation.

Kevin: Can you tell our listeners a little about how you define yourself as an artist?

Daven: As far as defining myself, I think probably the terms singer, songwriter and performer apply best. I often perform as a solo act, accompanying myself with the acoustic guitar and harmonica. I started writing my own songs early on with no intention of ever recording them but rather just for fun and to perform them for friends and others who came out to the local open mics. I also discovered early on that people seemed to really enjoy my music and performances. That gave me a lot of encouragement to continue doing it.

Kevin: At what point did you decide to take your musical career seriously? Was there a specific moment?

Daven: I don’t think that there was any defining moment where I made a conscious decision to get serious about music as a career. I often tell the (true) story of how my debut CD came to be. I initially went in to the recording studio to do a very basic recording of two or three songs that I could use as a demo for getting gigs around town, etc. After recording a few songs, Peter Kilgour, the recording engineer suggested that I should consider filling out one of the tracks with a full accompaniment. I liked the final result so much that we went ahead and filled out the other two as well. I still had plenty of songs, so we decided to keep going and before I knew it I had my debut CD ‘Ahead To Square One’

Kevin: I know you have worked on tributes to Bob Dylan. What kind of impact has he had and what are some other influences and how do they fit in to your music?

Daven: I was introduced to Bob Dylan by a friend at university in my late teens. He was a huge Bob Dylan fan and very good singer/guitar player in his own right. I always enjoyed listening to him play (especially the Dylan stuff). All this remained with me through my twenties and thirties though I was not involved in music during that time. I re-discovered Bob Dylan in my late 30’s when I picked up the guitar again. It’s the early Dylan sound and style (the dusty, vagabond people’s poet & performer) that first captivated me and that I eventually found myself experiencing to some degree through my own performances.

Kevin: How do you hone your musical skills now?

Daven: I have no real practice schedule per se, but I do find myself in my music room often; sometimes several times a day. I’m constantly working on new material, honing my skills or rehearsing for upcoming events.

Kevin: Where do you find inspiration for new music? Do you have common places where you find it?

Daven: Inspiration for new songs comes from a variety of places. Sometimes a particular sound, sometimes a style, sometimes a phrase. The musical part of song writing comes fairly naturally to me. I always seem to have a few melodies floating around in my head. With the early material I just let whatever came out come out and went with it. More recently I’ve been focusing more consciously on a particular sound or style from the onset. The lyrical component takes a more concerted effort.

Kevin: As someone who has lived on two sides of this country, is there something that sticks out to you about Canada that most of us wouldn’t realize?

Daven: Canada is a huge country! And it is very culturally diverse!

Kevin: What can your fans look forward to in your upcoming album ‘To Step Two’?

Daven: To Step Two is the evolutionary next step for Daven Atma. This CD includes material that forays into new sounds and styles while remaining true to my roots. It also features the talents of Jennie Bice, Victor Cronley, Peter Kilgour and Quinn Patterson on a variety of instruments. All material for the CD has now been recorded. Currently working on photography and artwork. Its scheduled for release in May. Please visit my website for a sneak preview.

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