Late Night Conversations
Influenced by legendary and modern songwriters such as Neil Young and Mason Jennings, and bands such as the Mother Hips and Wilco, Dave Armo's music is organic and deeply personal. Dave's songs draw on both autobiographical and fictitious stories. 'I base my songs on events of my life, on those of others, and generally things that I believe are important,' says Dave. All in all whether he uses a creative story or autobiographical events, Armo's purpose in songwriting is to convey emotion. 'The events are much less important themselves than the emotions, reactions, and perspectives that they breed,' he says. Whatever the subject matter, the songs on his debut album 'Late Night Conversations' are all linked by common themes: sorrow and loss overcome by hope and redemption. At age 6, Dave began learning how to play piano which he studied for several years until his Pearl Jam records lured him to the guitar. In high school, Armo co-founded a rock band called Hairy Truemen for which he was a songwriter as well as guitarist and occasional piano player. The Truemen played throughout the Bay Area, recording and producing two CDs prior to graduation. As the band of friends headed to different colleges, Hairy Truemen eventually faded away, but Armo's yearning to play music was stronger than ever. Disciplining himself to stay up late practicing guitar, studying other songwriters, and writing his own music, Dave began to formulate his own words and music. Soon after college Dave began studying voice while playing his songs around the Bay Area open mic circuit. Eventually he decided to head to the studio to record a three-song demo which wound up being a ten-song album. Taking nearly two years to complete, 'Late Night Conversations' would prove to be a test of Armo's love for writing and music. The album always seemed to be a newborn baby to Dave who constantly calculated how each life decision he made would effect the record. Without any outside interest and no support from a record label, Dave worked full-time as a paralegal in San Francisco to allow the album to be finished. Rather than wait to assemble a band and deal with all the complications that go along with such a process, Armo hired a studio band of some of the Bay Area's finest musicians. 'I had to function as a songwriter, but also as an executive producer financing the whole project.' It all made sense to Dave who recalls being outside running one day and seeing a bumper sticker that said: 'Real musicians have day jobs.' Dave credits the completion and quality of the album to the collective group who got it done. Jeff Rolka, the engineer for 'Late Night Conversations' worked in tandem with Andrew Griffin as a production team. Together, Jeff, Andrew, and Dave explored every intricacy of each of Dave's songs often times radically reworking treatments and nixing certain tunes for others. As tracking began Rolka played bass, Griffin played drums, and Dave played guitars and harmonicas. The group became increasingly experimental adding additional session musicians including Rich McCulley on guitar, Gaby Alter and Jordan Feinstein on keyboards, and Samantha Lee on vocals/harmonies. Rolka and Griffin's vocal harmonies enriched every tune on the album. Sacrificing his time for anything or anyone else, Armo spent many late nights after work and long weekends in the studio working diligently with Rolka and Griffin to make his record. 'There's always something new I hear in my songs that I think I can change, or a new idea that I want to implement. Sooner or later, you just need to be done with it and move on.' With the album under his belt, Armo hopes to reach people beyond friends and family who are always accepting and forgiving. 'This record is done,' says Armo. 'I'm searching for the characters, events, and most of all human conditions that will set the next record in motion.' But don't think that's all necessary. Dave Armo claims that in the course of recording 'Late Night Conversations' he has already written enough material for his next release.