Dave McKendry has tales. One of those tales is that the Belfast-native dreamed of seeing Europe from the saddle of his bike. So he did. And for many miles the music weaved it's way alongside him, ever shaped by chance meetings, friendships, hardships, street music and lessons of the road travelled. All experience which continues to permeate his music to this day.
In 2016, a two-day trip to Vienna to visit a friend and see the sights is still going, five years later. The city immediately became a focal point for his life and work, inspiring hauntingly beautiful songs. Songs, which have taken on a momentum of their own, drawing more and more people closer and closer.
At 16, Dave McKendry was already fronting a rock band in Ireland and those roots endure in his music today. However, each passing experience and the adventures of intervening years left their mark, broadening and expanding his musical horizons. His influences are deliberately diverse, which kindles a fearless and free approach to his writing. From intimate, melancholy moments, single-handed on the acoustic, to epic storms of joy at the front of a full band. The only thing that truly matters to Dave McKendry is that it moves him. Of course finding his path to handling the burdens of self-criticism and doubt was a journey in itself.
“For a long time I had the feeling that every song had to reflect all of me. Paradoxically, it was only when I learned to let a lot of things go and focus on a few key things in my songs, that I found myself fully immersed in them” says the passionate songwriter about his new found approach to his own music. Despite all the musical diversity, all of Dave McKendry's songs contain a common theme – compelling and emotive lyrics.
“Lyrics are especially important to me. I tell stories when I write songs and I want those stories to at least have a chance at being understood. Anything that gets between the listener and understanding, like clichés or 'fat' as we call it, has to be cut. It's all about connection. Anything that doesn't facilitate that connection is an obstacle. And if I want my music to speak for itself I have to get everything that’s in the way, out of the way."
In order to present this incredibly personal musical experience as unblemished and realistically as possible, Dave McKendry has been experimenting with IAN (Immersive Audio Network) recording techniques and technology to integrate the listener directly into the musical moment with immersive sound. His new songs were all created right from the beginning with this next generation of all-encompassing audio worlds in mind.
“Immersive sound is an incredible way to bring my audience even closer to my music. With conventional stereo recording you can hear and understand that a bunch of musicians went into a room somewhere and played music. With immersive, you're in the room. As someone who's chased intimacy in music since before I can remember it's difficult to explain just how exciting and how huge that small difference is. It creates a closeness between me and my audience which is extremely important for conveying a human warmth, perhaps even more so in distant times."
On stage, these diversely captivating songs, heartfelt lyrics and genuine joy for performance and connection, converge to create an unforgettable experience. Equally at home within intimate settings or upon large stages, Dave McKendry's songs are continually reimagining themselves with every performance, enabling the Irishman from Vienna at one moment to transport his audience with him and the next release them upon their very own voyage.
Dave McKendry's journey has crossed many borders and taken more than a few bumps, twists and upswings, he's lived it every step of the way and breathes that life into the tales he tells, in his own distinctive voice.