During this time of social distancing and dark theatres, Vancouver Presents continues to check in with members of our arts community to find out how they are staying creative and managing during the pandemic.
Today we check in with Vancouver-based singer-songwriter David Beckingham.
David recently released a video from quarantine for his new song Plastic Wings featuring dancer Emily Chessa who recently starred as Juliet in Ballet BC’s Romeo + Juliet. The song is the first of a collection of upcoming material he is currently crafting for his yet-to-be-named sophomore solo release.
1. How are you staying creative during the pandemic?
I’m plugging away on a solo album of songs. I’ve also been writing some piano music, which is fairly new territory for me and the songs that are coming to me feel like scores for movies that haven’t been made yet. I’ve also been scratching the surface of electronic production, which is fun and an entire world of its own. I’m continuing to write songs and riffs on the guitar too – not much has changed in that regard.
2. What’s the one thing getting you through?
Getting out into nature. It’s a panacea for my mental and physical health, especially when cold river swims are involved.
3. How are you staying in contact with family and friends who are not in your bubble?
The odd phone call or text. To be honest, many of my good friends are scattered around the world, and we understand that we’ll see each other when we’re supposed. I assume that all is well when we don’t hear anything. I guess most of my friends are slightly introverted artists too.
4. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far during the pandemic?
Only we can change the way we feel. I guess I knew this already, but I’ve been learning some tools.
5. What do you feel the most grateful for right now?
In this moment, I am grateful for the wonders of nature (I just got home from a trip on the Sunshine Coast) and having a sweet partner I get to camp nest with.
6. What is something you are doing now that you don’t normally?
Trail running, I started trail running, and I love it. I feel like a forest ninja. I hate running on cement, so this new discovery is a blast. Going every Sunday with a good friend and it has become some form of church.
7. What skill have you developed since the pandemic started?
One thing I’ve learned recently is how to use sidechain compression, which is a recording/mixing technique in which you essentially a set up the compression level on one instrument to be triggered by the volume of another instrument in the song. It’s what gives a lot of dance music that pulsating bounce – usually because everything is side-chained to the kick drum and pumping along with it. I am pretty sure I’m in an infant phase where I am overusing it the way my toddler nephew overuses the word “why.” It’s a lot of fun though, so “why not”?
8. What have you missed the most?
I miss touring and the freedom to plan a trip somewhere far away. The world has shrunk all of a sudden.
9. Your #1 pandemic survival tip.
Take a good long break from social media. Stop looking through the feeds, at least. IT ISN’T REAL.
10. Your biggest indulgence since the pandemic started.
Merci Chocolate (dark chocolate with marzipan flavour).
11. What have you stockpiled?
This organic lentil soup from Costco. When COVID hit, and we thought it was time for the apocalypse, we got about 48 cans. Believe it or not, we actually finished them in a few months and still aren’t sick of the stuff.
12. What have you been reading?
A Joni Mitchell bio called Reckless Daughter, and I just finished Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, which was fascinating and inspiring. I just started The Outsider by Albert Camus.
13. What have you been watching?
Norsemen, 13th, Rick and Morty.
14. What have you been listening to?
Nicolas Jaar, Radiohead, Wilco, Joni Mitchell, Crosby Stills Nash and Young
15. What are you doing for exercise?
Biking, trail running, hiking.
16. The one thing you haven’t been able to live without?
17. Do-it-yourself haircut or the natural look?
My hair is the longest it’s ever been.
18. Night owl or early riser?
The pendulum swings fiercely on this one, but currently, the alarm is set to 8 am. You be the judge on that.
19. Will you be the first out as restrictions are gradually lifted or taking a wait-and-see attitude?
I’m not really into going out in the city much, so I’m not overly phased by the restrictions. I’m kind of enjoying the distancing right now although I’m sure that’ll change. I haven’t stopped going to the places I love.
20. What’s the first thing you will do when this is all over?
Delete Zoom and play some live shows to real people, in real life. I miss that.
Meet David Beckingham
David Beckingham released his debut album, Just When The Light in 2016, after twelve years with Juno-nominated Hey Ocean! The album’s folk-pop gems span a spectrum of emotion from existential gratitude to deep, personal unrest.
Beckingham’s solo project has taken him on multiple European tours as well as North American ones in the past few years, all while maintaining a fairly steady touring schedule with Hey Ocean! following the 2018 release of the band’s fourth LP, The Hurt Of Happiness.
Beckingham has been working on a new solo album for the past year or so. He’s hoping to release it in 2020 or early 2021.
You can find out more about David online at davidbeckingham.com and follow him on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. You can find David’s music on Spotify and Apple Music.