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| 30 May 2018 | Reply

By Shane Pinnegar

Dave Hole’s long-awaited 11th studio album, Goin’ Back Down – mostly self-engineered, produced and chock full of his trademark searing slide guitar playing as well as a couple of surprises – drops later this month. The Perth slide guitar legend, internationally revered for his unique playing style, is hitting the boards around the country to celebrate, playing an all-too-rare home-town show at The Charles on Saturday, 26th May. We set out to explore why the album has taken so long, and what makes Dave Hole tick.

“I made this album, in some ways, to please myself,” he declares as soon as we get going, “there’s a couple of ballads there that I normally, probably, would’ve left off, because they’re a bit out of left field for someone like myself.”


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We’ve long upheld that investing in a home studio is the smartest thing any active musician can do for their career, and perhaps having it there means he will get a chance to have more of a run at some of those unreleased songs.

“Yeah, I think it is. It’s so doable now. I started reading about some very famous engineers that were actually using the software version of things that they had hardware of, in preference, because it was just easier to use, and it sounded… they couldn’t hear the difference. I thought, geez, now, this has gotten to the point where it’s really doable, and I’m not gonna suffer from doing it in a home studio. As long as I’ve got some good microphones, and good converters to get into the digital domain with the sound, I’ll basically get the same results.

”Once I realised that, then it becomes sort of a driving force, and you think, ‘I gotta get this together.’ It took a bit of doing, assembling the right things, but I think it is smart. For me, having the luxury of not having to have the pressure in a studio… I have actually had the situation where I had a really rotten cold, and hardly any voice, and had to do my vocals for a whole album, with no choice. I couldn’t defer it some more, because we had to go out on tour again. It can be really quite stressful to have to do the recording under not-perfect conditions, or when you’re not feeling well, or something like that.

“That was one thing, and just the inspirational thing … I could get up in the morning, the way I’ve been working, and if I felt inspired, get in there, and do some stuff. If I didn’t, I’d just leave it alone for the day, or go and do something else for a while.”

Talking about depression is an area which our society is slowly getting better at. There is no shame in being depressed, and discussing it with understanding loved ones and a medical professional can always help to make it better.

“[Seeing] this Beyond Blue movement, and then seeing high-profile people [like] James Packer, that he’s basically given [his job] away and retired because he’s suffering from depression. I think people are actually quite sympathetic to that. They can get it. Years ago, you’d think someone was a wimp, if that was their excuse for giving up business life or something like that. Now, I think people do get it. They do understand, and modern life is really very stressful.

“I don’t think anyone gets away without a little bit of collateral damage, with the pace of life, and the expectations that are placed on people all the time.”

That’s where music plays such an important role.

“Yes, I think that’s right,” Hole asserts. “Musicians, we try and make the world have a bit more fun, be a bit better place.”

Hole didn’t exactly spend the past ten years idle after touring Rough Diamond. Always writing, if anything, it sounds like the 69 year old now has too much material to choose from.

“I’d sort of spasmodically write, as I have done throughout my life, so I’ve got lots and lots of songs accumulated over the years. Way too many to ever record them all… it was almost like just sticking a pin in, and pick one out, and say, ‘this is quite good, we’ll do some work on this.’

“Once you start working on a song, you put the time and effort in, so it goes on the album, basically, unless something really goes haywire. There are so many songs, and they’re probably all of a similar standard, [so] that it’s a bit random as to which ones I choose to actually bring to completion.

“[But] I haven’t been touring very much. Yes, the last album came out 10 years ago. I was a bit lazy… I toured for a couple of years on that, but for the last five years, I haven’t toured overseas, and not done much in Australia, either.

“I think I got a little bit over the hectic touring of the States, particularly, and Europe. I just got to the point, I think, after 25 years of doing it, that it was getting a bit repetitive, and I’m getting on, so you sorta start to think, ‘well, maybe there’s other things in life I’d like to do, than just have the nose to the grindstone, recording-touring-recording-touring cycle.

“I stepped back a little bit. I feel physically fine – I’m fit, and all that sort of thing – but I suppose it’s to live life a little bit, and do some other things. That’s what I’ve been doing, really. I’ve been doing the album in a very, very leisurely way, and at the same time, just doing other things; going to movies, playing tennis, doing stuff that normal people do.”

Being 69, does Hole not feel any pressure to get as many of those songs recorded for posterity while he is still fit and able?

“That is a factor. I think I’ve just got so many that I know it’s mission impossible to do all that. I haven’t got a few lifetimes to do it. It’s probably that you just come up with a lot of ideas that are not brought to fruition. If I get an idea for a song, or even a riff or part of it, I’ll just put it down, and keep it on file, as it were. Some of them are only fragments. I think you’ve just got to accept that they’re never all gonna come to see the light of day.

“Right now, my friend Matt Taylor [Chain], he records everything he writes, and he’s got hundreds and hundreds of things that he’s just recorded as quickly and crudely as he can, just to get them out there. It’s so different for me. If I do a song, I just have to take it to the Nth degree, sorta thing.”

Category: Interviews

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