Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Digs Bridges

Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Digs BridgesThe band that I am sitting with today needs no introduction. The man behind this band, even the band name for that matter, is a long time friend of mine and I couldn’t be happier that he is back on the road again with a new project. You might remember him from the band Austin Bridges. He was the front man for that act and with a name like Davey Austin Bridges Heritier you can only guess where the name for that band came from. And this band for that matter. He then played around with a few side projects and has made his way to the front of this band. His voice has changed so much over the last couple of years if you didn’t know any better you would have no idea who it was. Their lyrics are amazing, their style is spotless, and with a spot on presents six bands for six bucks, you will have a chance to see them perform in the near future. Sit back and take some time to get to know Digs Bridges. You won’t be sorry.

Where did you guys get the name?

Digs has been a nickname of mine for awhile, since college. Bridges is my second middle name. I used to be in a band that used both of my middle names and people thought we sounded like a country band. So now, since I’m doing Americana music I found it appropriate.  It has an appeal to it, at least to me. And everyone knows how egotistical I am that I’d have to name my band after myself!

How long have you guys all known each other?

I met Ian (keys) through my friend’s neighbor.  Very strange story actually. Last summer I was hanging out with Scott Krueckenburg. He is from the local band Mardelay.  His neighbor went to a Mardelay show with us one night in Muncie and I was talking to her about how I was putting a band together. The conversation just went on from there.  She mentioned that her boyfriend’s band was breaking up and he was an accomplished piano player.  I thought to myself-through experience-that keyboard players are NORMALLY very tough to work with and often times flaky. Remember I said in my experience.  So eventually he and I met up to jam and we hit it off. He really liked the songs and we work very well together.  The bass player at the time ended up flaking out on us two weeks before our first show.  Ian then introduced the idea of his friend, jazz bass player, Tim Johnson. The only problem was he couldn’t do the first show. So, I called Justin Goldstein, the bass player in my first band, to fill in. Tim came in afterwards and, like Ian, was just as awesome.  We all got along really well and had the same ideas, wants, and goals for playing music.

I have to say how lucky I am to have them because they’re musically brilliant. They’re both students of music to where I am a barefooted, t-shirt wearing, dropout on the school of music’s courtyard yelling at passing cars and throwing rocks at road signs. The core of the band is the three of us. My cousin was our drummer, but he had some other opportunities that he wanted to pursue.  We have a drummer for the summer that I’m very excited about.  She’s a freshmen at Ball State University.  She, Ian, and Tim are a jazz trio, so once again, Ian’s connections have pulled through again! She’s a wonderful drummer and has a great presence.  We’ve only played once together, a show at DePauw University, with no rehearsal, and she was fantastic.

So this new drummer. Tell me more.

We recently parted ways with our original drummer, my cousin, Tyler Chapman.  He had some other opportunities he wanted to pursue and we were laying low-writing, and working on the business end of the music so we didn’t sweat it too much.  Ian and Tim play in a jazz trio at BSU and I asked if Jordan, the drummer for the trio, would be interested in sitting in for a college campus show in April.  She was and did. We didn’t rehearse ONCE! She listened to a handful of songs on the website and iTunes and just showed up.  When she showed up for the show it was the first I’d met her. Needless to say the show went off without a hitch.  I would begin each song by giving her an idea of the feel, the time signature, and just go.  She nailed it.  I mean sickness nailed it.  She’s only twenty years old and a freshman at BSU and is so much fun to play with.  She has great energy and I immediately loved being on stage with her.

Are you nice to her?

(Laughs) Absolutely! In the short time I’ve known her I find it hard to believe that anyone could be mean to her.

When you guys are on the road and you are all trying to decide where to eat, are you going to let her pick?

Her first official show was over last weekend at a private show we had in Michigan.  She wasn’t able to ride with us up there on our tour bus and had to drive separately.  So, that hasn’t been an issue…yet…but you can’t show favoritism in a band, can you?  The four of us get along super and all really enjoy Waffle House, so I’m sure we’ll be alright there!

This is sort of a new venture for you. What are your immediate goals?

I had no intention of going in this direction, musically, but I started writing new songs and they just came out like this. I went to my manager and friend, Eric Howard, and asked, “What the hell is this music? I don’t know what to call it!”. So we looked around and listened to similar music and found out that it is best suited as Americana. I love it. I absolutely love it. I’m not afraid to stand behind the new music that I’m writing, which I haven’t been able to do in other bands. Immediate plans are simple.  We have a single to release and promote.  We want to hit Indiana and certain markets in the midwest really hard.  I have a lot of smart, experienced people behind me so we’re doing things right, smart, and effectively.

I have heard a handful of songs, and I must say Davey, your voice has grown so much in the last few years. Tell me more about that and what you did to get where you are today.

Honestly, I should have had voice lessons. I think it’s because I’ve sang so much and learned as I went. Much like how I learned the instruments I play. I’ve asked a lot of questions to other singers and have had a lot of direction. I try to emulate what I like in other music and try to make my voice unique.  I want people to know my songs from my voice, much like Chris Shaffer, the Crash Test Dummies, or anyone else you know just by hearing the vocals.

Describe your genre in one word.


What is the biggest crowd you have played for?

Intimately? 1,000 people. It was to this date one of my favorite gigs I’ve ever had.  My first band opened for the original line up of the Why Store on New Year’s Eve at the Music Mill.  I grew up a huge fan and it was the first time we’d opened for anyone that big. I believe it was their last show that they have ever played together.

The smallest?

(Laughs) A bar staff.

Let’s say you are about to headline a show out at Verizon Wireless Music Center. Who is your opener?

I’d rather be the opener for John Mayer and the Avett Brothers this summer! It’s a goal! But us being the headliner, it would have to be a friend’s band.  Stefan Rockenfeller, Mardelay, Eric James, or Nate Davis. A goal of mine is to tour with a friend’s band.

What are you drinking on stage?

Water. Beer. Vodka. In that order. (Laughs)

So you have a fast car huh?

Metaphorically speaking, yes. Very fast.

Who is Records Record Records, LLC?

It’s a record label I am trying to get off the ground.  We are fully functional minus the money and bands to represent. The goal is to establish ourselves then move forward with other acts.  Again, I’d like to work with friends. I already have my first four or five acts I’d like to sign when we’re at that point.

Isn’t there a band called that?

My most recent former band was called that. I took the name with me when I left. They changed it to something similar upon my exit.

Who are some of your inspirations?

John Lennon. He is my guru. (Laughs) Other than that, there are so many. I really love a lot of different songs and artists. I like to incorporate ideas I get from one genre and implement it into my own. For instance, I wrote a country song from an idea iI got from listening to Moby.

Where are you all originally from?

I am from Columbia City. Ian is from Bloomington, Indiana. And Tim is from Los Angeles, California.

What is the best concert you have ever been to?

Oh my…Phish, the five times I’ve seen them. And I’m going this summer! I really liked a band called 2 Skinnee J’s.  I recently saw a band from New York at the Vollrath called Asa Ransome that was a blast to see.  They are a mix of Modest Mouse, David Burne, and Rusted Root.  I encourage you to check them out. I really enjoy seeing my friends bands. Stephan Rockenfeller, Todd Sarvies, and Nate Davis are all worthy of mention.

You guys are a featured band on presents six bands for six bucks. Are you excited?

You have no idea! I’m very excited to get out and playing with this band. I really think people are going to like it and get what I’m trying to do with this band.  Birdy’s Bar & Grill is always a great place to play and you are always a great person to work with so I’m sure it’ll be a great time!

What are your thoughts on social media and the success rate of a band in today’s market?

Wow. Great question. Let’s see…

I love the ability to market yourself in today’s environment.  It’s tough though because any jerk with recording abilities can cloud the scene. But that’s the beauty of it! Artists have to have a support system to elevate their online presence and it turns creating music and art into a business and somewhat of a competition and that’s a double edged sword when it comes to the bottom line of why artists create. It can compromise the integrity of what being shared on a certain level.  We’re in an environment where talented artists have to compete with wanna-be’s and depending on the ability to pander to certain groups of people to get ahead. I’m undecided on whether or not that’s a good thing, but it is a fact of where we are now so if you have to take what you want and play the game.

I know you are on MySpace. Actually, speaking of MySpace, what are your thoughts of the service?

My-what? (Laughs) MySpace has fallen victim to social evolution. Facebook will too and so will whatever comes to replace it. Referencing my last answer, artists have to make themselves as accessible as possible so it’s necessary.

Are you on Twitter?

No. I have avoided that one because I see it as Facebook without all the extra garbage. Will you teach me? I know you love it.

What should someone expect when coming to see you live?

Well written and performed songs. A lot of heart and energy. I have surrounded myself with exceptional musicians because I am a very average guitar player. We’re not a jam band, but the songs aren’t going to be the same at every show.  Lots of melodies, harmonies, and hooks.  I would come to see Digs Bridges.

Do you guys have a favorite venue?

Several. The Roxy and the Whiskey a Go Go in Hollywood. The Verve in Terre Haute, Indiana is nice. I LOVE the room that the Patio used to be in. I wish someone would do something with that place to bring it back.

I can’t get over how much better your voice has gotten.

Thank you. How about the songs? (Laughs)

Do you guys have jobs outside of music?

I work at Starbucks! I serve coffee.

Are you using a PC or a Mac?

Macbook Pro. The only way to go, in my opinion.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would you go?

Austin, Texas, Nashville, Tennessee, or New York City. I want to live in all of those places before I settle in anywhere.

Who writes all of your songs?

I do.  As we start writing the next album, I’m sure we’ll all have a hand in it.

Where do you get inspiration for a new song?

Everything. Mostly dreaming. I dream about songs and if I don’t wake up and write it down, I’ll forget it.

Are you guys planning on a full-length disc anytime some?

I want to run with this EP for now.  We have fifteen songs recorded but I don’t see the necessity for a full length right now. Maybe in the fall.

What about a nation wide tour? When are you leaving for that?

Right now our focus is going to be very concise.  Bloomington, Terre Haute, Indianapolis, Muncie, and Fort Wayne, in Indiana. Chicago and Champaign in Illinois. St. Louis, Nashville, Cincinnati, Columbus, with special trips to NYC and LA when needed.  I’ll be performing for Austin City Limits this summer so that will be in the mix, too.

If you could only play one song for the rest of your career, what song would you pick?

No Need to Cry. It’s my favorite song that I have done.

Where do you see yourselves in five years?

I will be thirty-three years old with a ten year old daughter. I like to think I’ll be wiser and healthy and supporting myself, my family, and band by touring and selling songs.

What do you want to be remembered for when this is all said and done?

Being influential.

I always let the bands get the last word. Go.

I really appreciate what you’re doing, Ricky. I appreciate friends and fans who have and are helping me and my goals.  I have to shout out my manager and friend, Eric Howard.  He has been a motivator and has inspired me to refocus my career and life. My parents and siblings who are unfaltering supporters for me. And, my music friends who have done the same for me as I do for them.  Stefan Rockenfeller, check him out.  He is the only musician I am envious of. I just want to share happiness and love and surround myself with people who treat me the way I treat them. That’s been a tough thing to find. I look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead of me with new artists and friends. thank you again Ricky.