Recently one of our Standing “O” artists Doug Balmain, let us know that he’s coming out with a new album, Burnin’ Both Ends. Our Chief Community Builder, Katie Anne Mitchell, sat down to talk with him about his release. Read below for a snippet of the interview or you can read the full interview here (link here, we may need to set up a landing page for this so not sure entirely where we’ll put it yet) or listen on his interview page (link here).
Katie: Where did you come from and how did music come into your life?
Doug: Music was purely an accident for me. I really had no idea I’d be a singer/songwriter. I grew up in Northern California and then, after high school, I made kind of a dramatic move to Wyoming by myself out here and, one thing led to another, and all of the sudden, I started writing by accident and then, started learning that I was writing songs. It was a real gradual thing but the second I wrote my first song in completion and actually played it through and realized what I had done, I was just totally hooked from that moment.
Katie: How did this new release come about for you?
Doug: Like everything else, it was a product of a chain of events. There’s this quote from Miles Davis that I always like to go to and he said, “Sometimes it takes a long time to learn how to play like yourself”. What I had done in my first years when I was really roughly starting to put songs together was basically learning, how do I play like me? And now it’s been quite a number of years and a number of failed projects. Then, when I started writing “Burnin’ Both Ends” I kind of developed this different style and then I was really strongly influenced by Blues, Soul, and Rock and I was finally feeling comfortable in my writing. I reached out to a few contacts and I found a great producer in Portland, Oregon whose name is Rob Stroup, he own 8 Ball Studio out there, and started talking to him, sent some demos to him, eventually went for a face-to-face meet-and-greet out in the Northwest and we just kind of clicked. We understood the project and Burnin’ Both Ends came to life.
Katie: Let’s talk a little bit about your title track, “Burnin’ Both Ends”. What did that song come out of and why did you choose that to be your title track?
Doug: It’s just kind of fitting of my environment as, I’m sure you’re aware, and everybody in this music scene, especially for ’emerging artists’, it’s incredibly intense competition so you kind of feel like a hamster just running on the wheel. I still remember distinctly the day I wrote it out. That song took me probably less than a half hour to write. It was just one of those days. Everything was just so piled up and I’d been running and running so hard for the last few months. And there’s this defining moment where I just sat down on the couch and I said, “Not today. Everything’s going to the side. I don’t care who needs money or where I need to be or who’s trying to call me. I just don’t care”. That was just kind of the energy of the song and I chose it to be the title track.
Katie: And do you have sources of inspiration that you typically go to, or does it kind of come from anywhere for you?
Doug: Of course those musical influences are just ingrained in me from everything I’ve been exposed to and listened to throughout my life so I think subconsciously that the musical side comes from there but as far as the content itself I’m really a very personal writer. I just write from experience. I’ve tried it before and I’m no good at writing fiction, I’m just not. It doesn’t come out well. It feels canned. So I don’t even try anymore. Everything I write is very personal. It comes from something I experienced or am currently feeling or am going through. In that way, I think it allows my audience to connect with the music a little stronger.
Katie: How did your band (Doug Balmain & The Lockdown) come together?
Doug: This was just random. We call ourselves a Denver band, even though none of us are from Denver. I knew I wanted a band. I had one contact in Denver that could kind of start working for other contacts and, just through a series of email chains and texts and phone calls, these, us five, randomly showed up at this rehearsal space in Denver not knowing anything about ourselves or known each other previously or anything like that. Within the end of the first session, it was energy that just clicked. Everybody was doing what they wanted to do. We got it. No one was playing over anybody else. We’re all just playing off of each other and I don’t know, I guess it just worked out.
Katie: If you have any advice for potential creatives out there, what would that be?
Doug: I don’t think there’s any groundbreaking or universal rules to that sort of thing. The only thing that I would say is you’ve got to learn to trust your instincts, which can be very difficult. Especially if you have an untested creative side and maybe like the people around you don’t know anything about it so it’s unexpected. It can be a bit nerve-wracking to try to expose that or make your first step into a creative realm and I see that a lot from people who are negatively influenced so they put a damper on it, they suppress what you can tell is there. So just don’t. If you’re feeling that, and you want to create something, trust yourself and do it.
Want to hear Doug’s awesome jams? Download free music from his new album using this link.
Also, if you download and really love Doug’s music, you can give him a tip through his download link site or the tip jar on his Standing “O” page using this link.
Are you a Standing “O” artist and interested in doing an interview about your recent release? You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.