Friday, May 6

Brain Magazine Interview: 'David Duchovny - When Mulder becomes a singer'

David Duchovny is taking his music to France, nobody saw it coming. However, the interpreter of the cult character Fox Mulder (and much less worshipped Dr. Marris in The Secret) will play with his band at La Cigale on May 12th in Paris. At 55, the star of the small screen will perform his first album, Hell or Highwater.

By: Louis Eustache

[It’s 9am in New York when the interview starts]

First time someone is calling me so early for an interview: Are you a morning person?

David: (laughs) I have kids so yeah I got to get up for school, make them breakfast and get them to school on time so even if I wasn’t a morning person… I’d have to be!

Did you always feel like a musician inside or did you have a “revelation” a few years back?

I always loved music and I always wanted to play an instrument but I never thought it was going to happen. I just lived my life without learning them. About 5-6 years ago I picked up a guitar in my spare time, and that’s how it started, that’s how music starts.

Most newcomers in the music business have to face many obstacles like finding record company, bandmates and convince people in the industry to trust them. But considering your huge popularity, was it like a simple formality to make things work?

I don’t know if it was a formality… When I met Brad Davidson from ThinkSayrecords who recorded my album, the discussion was about how do I get better, how do I figure out the sound, what I wanna do. It was… I didn’t focus on how hard it was, I wasn’t on a major label so… With a small label, that’s a work of love and integrity and not an attempt of getting in the top 40 charts. It’s an attempt to make the music that I wanna do. The difficult part was dealing with my own musical limitation, my lack of musical knowledge, limitations as a singer, songwriter… For all these things that I needed to collaborate with people. Music is beautiful but you can’t do everything by yourself unless you’re Stevie Wonder or Prince. There are a very few people who can play all the instruments, record their own stuff, sing and write. That’s not me. The best and the toughest thing for me was to find the people who could hear the kind of songs that I wanted to make even if I wasn’t capable of making that sound right away.

You’re about to play in Paris on May 12th. What’s the program? 

Mostly songs from the album Hell Or Highwater. We’ll also play some new songs that we’ve been working on plus some covers : David Bowie, Flaming Lips, stuff like that. … Not every show is gonna be the same. At this point we have a lot of music to choose from and the show is 90 minutes.

Some of your online biographies claim that you speak French: fact or fiction?

Do I speak French ? No. I have 8th grade aptitudes of french but I’m very far from 8th grade now so my vocabulary might be decent, I might be able to understand the meaning of certain words but my grammar and my ability to speak are not very good at all.

Is your musical career a one shot project or do you want to make it last?

Who knows… I mean… Will I be able to write more songs? I have enough written to record a second album. After that, it really depends on inspiration, but I can’t say. I love playing music and I’d love to continue, to record and to tour. It’s been a great pleasure for me. But I don’t know, it depends on what I can keep coming up with good chance.

For you, what would be the perfect continuation for your career: more music, more X-Files and more interviews with me?

(laughs) That would be the high point. If I could do those 3 things for the rest of my life, I would be a happy man.

Since the beginning of the year, we can see your star on Hollywood avenue. Does this kind of reward still make an impression on you?

Not important… Nice but not something I looked to or worked for. I see those rewards as an opportunity to thank people who enabled me to get that. Cause nobody gets there alone. So when I was getting that, on Hollywood boulevard I was able to thank Chris Carter and Garry Shandling. What a great opportunity to thank my friend in public before he dies. I see those things not as a reward for me but as an opportunity for me to get up and thank people for helping me.

Is it enjoyable to retrieve a certain freedom on stage that you don’t necessary have when shooting a TV scene?

It’s all very different: tv, movie, acting on stage, whatever, playing music… They’re all different kinds of freedom. I might argue that I have more freedom when I’m writing than anytime because it’s just me and I get to do it alone and not collaborate at all. There’s something with music which is fun, you know. 

How did you feel when you had the script of the new X-Files season in your hands?

We’ve been talking about it for a long long time and there were times where it didn’t look like it was going to happen because of schedules but I’m glad it finally happened.

What was the atmosphere on set? Did everybody say hello to you?

(laughs) It was special. Like a high school reunion but without the nametags! 

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