Interview with Babylon A.D. Singer Derek Davis

By Mick Michaels

COSMICK VIEW: Hello, Derek! Welcome to The Cosmick View. Thank you for taking some time out of your day to chat with me, it is greatly appreciated.

CV: With so many bands coming and going, what do you feel has kept Babylon A.D. together and working all these years? Is it just the music or is it something more...a personal bond you share with one another and the fans?
Derek Davis: The band really loves playing live and I’m really into writing and recording, so we're always coming up with new material. And when writing new material, you need it to come alive on a record and hear what you’ve accomplished.

CV: Babylon A.D.'s album in 1990 quickly went gold, garnished three hit singles which included the single "The Kid Goes Wild" being used in the trailer and video for RoboCop 2.  How did all that translate to the band's success out on the road; was it complimented?
DD: "Kid Goes Wild" was our third single of our debut and yes it helped some but “Hammer Swings Down” and “Bang Go The Bells” were played a lot more on MTV at the time, so they all really helped the band gain exposure.

CV: Derek, did that early success with the debut album have any amount of pressure attached to it when heading back into the studio to write and record the follow up album, "Nothing Scared?" Was there any kind of songwriting frustration to contend with to write more hits...or was the band's triumphant debut album more of an incentive to do more?
DD: I wrote some of the songs with Jack Ponti on the first album and by the time we were ready to make Nothing Sacred we had about 20 songs to choose from that the band had written. So Nothing Sacred was more of a shared co-writing experience at rehearsals and from demo tapes.
CV: How much of an impact did MTV have back then on the band's popularity and overall success? Was MTV a valuable partner in crime so to say?
DD: Well like I said, MTV was a big part and they either make you or break you at that time. The more airplay, the bigger the band.  It was really as simple as that. They had all the power.

CV: Do you think videos still have the same influence for a band with the fans as they once did back when MTV actually played music videos?

DD: No I don’t…there are 20,000 songs released everyday and way too many videos on YouTube to make a dent.

CV: Derek, if you had to describe Babylon A.D. now compared to the Babylon A.D. at the time of the band's formation in 1988, using only one word for each era, what words would you use and why?
DD: Hungry… We wanted a record deal…and then you realize it’s a Fuckin' Business and the vultures come calling...
And now contentment...just play music and keep creative control... Have fun, that’s what it's about.

CV: Besides being 30 years later, what do you see as the biggest difference between the band now and then?
DD: Freedom to do whatever we want is the biggest difference.

CV: Let's talk about "Resonator Blues." The album covers a broad stroke of styles: Delta Blues, Americana, Folk, Hillbilly Twang, Southern Rock, Traditional such an undertaking of styles and depth a spiritual labor of love for you? Is there some sort of connection you have with these musical styles?
DD: I’ve always loved the old Blues masters like Son House, Elmore James, Lightning Hopkins, etc, etc. I started playing slide guitar about 20 years ago and I always wanted to do a blues influenced album using slide, harmonica and real kick ass power rock behind it.

CV: Do you see the album as a musical autobiography for you? Even though the album contains some cover tracks, do you find these particular songs hold a deeper meaning for you even though they were written by someone else?
DD: There are two cover songs out of 12 on the album, “Death Letter" and “It Hurts Me Too”. I’ve always wanted to do those songs, and they fit right in with the originals I had written.

CV: One reviewer called the album: "a dazzling collection of auditory brilliance," "nothing short of epic" and the "most thrilling release of the year." Is the album how you envisioned it would be or with such comments like those above, is the album better than what you initially expected and set out to do? DD: I kind of think it is. It’s been so well received it feels like I’ve finally got some respect. I knew this was great stuff but really the critics and fans who have heard the album all have giving it the two thumbs up.

Derek, even though "Resonator Blues" just released in June, have you given any thought about your next album? Will you look to explore other musical styles or themes?

DD: I have about 7 written for Babylon A.D. and another 12 in the more acoustic solo I might do an all-acoustic album. My album released before “Resonator Blues" titled “Revolutionary Soul” was a soul/funk/rock album, so I’m always trying something new outside of hard rock.

CV: Do you embrace experimentation when it comes to your music?
DD: Absolutely! It’s like a blank canvas and I get to paint the pictures!
CV: When can fans expect to see a new album from Babylon A.D.?
DD: We're working on the material now, probably next summer if I had to make a guess.

CV: Many artists have expressed their concerns about the relevance of the album, feeling it is now in the twilight of its existence and fading fast. Do you share in such concerns? Is the album’s relevancy in jeopardy?
DD: It is, but there’s nothing like making a full album that has substance. It takes a lot of work. I really think people are just spoiled and lazy. They write one song at a time and throw it out there. That’s not a songwriter to me.

CV: What's next for you?
DD: I’m just gonna keep writing, recording and playing live. It’s really all I know.
CV: Thank you again Derek for spending some time talking and sharing with our readers. I wish you all the best and continued success.
DD: Thanks you very much!

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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.

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