Howie Day is touring with his new album “Sound the Alarm” and he’s making a stop in Columbus at the Newport Music Hall on Oct. 13. “Sound the Alarm” was released on Sept. 8 and is Day’s third studio album.
Day answered a few questions for btw in anticipation of his Columbus show.
btw: What went into making this new album after six years away from the studio?
HD: We started out in Bloomington, Ind., with the idea that we would finish it there but after recording we felt it was a little rushed. We got to the end of that session and I freaked out. It wasn’t the album that I pictured finishing. So, I took some time to get some inspiration. Drove out to Sedona, (Ariz.,) and drove around the mountains, did some hiking. Slowly started writing some more songs and some really great ones came out of that.
We did our second session in Boston and it went well but we felt like we needed to do it again. So we started recording in Los Angeles and we did the tracks for 10 songs out there. Then I did the vocals in London for the tracks we did in LA.
I got to travel around, during the whole process, and more songs would pop up. We did 27 songs when we were all finished. It was quite a challenge to narrow that down to 11. I totally could have changed the atmosphere of the album depending on what songs I picked. I ended up mixing it up and representing each part of what we did.
btw: The album seems to be a lot about living in the moment. What does that mean to you in your life?
HD: It’s kind of cheesy but someone, some artist or something, said, “You got to bring it back to nature.” That’s kind of true. You get swept up in your daily life. You always have to call people, or make sure dishes are done and get to bed. It’s always, “What’s coming next? What’s coming next? What’s coming next?”
John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you when you are busy making plans.” That means a lot to me. You have to slow down. It’s like going to Aspen, Colo., you get out and you are the only person for a square mile. You can really spend some time with yourself; you are in the moment spending time with yourself. It’s so cliché, but get out in the open and get away from the city. You learn how to think about life.
btw: How did you choose “Be There” as the first single of “Sound the Alarm?”
HD: “Be There” sounds like a single. It’s hooky and whatever. It was also the first song written for the album, and we were playing it live already when we were touring for the last album. I knew people reacted and liked it. Coming off of “Collide,” which was such a ballad love song, I was known for that and I wanted to be known for more than just that. I wanted to put something out that was up-tempo and had a little sass to it.
btw: You took a significant amount of time off since your last tour to create this album. What was that time like and are you excited to get back out there with your fans?
HD: We were doing 300 shows a year just to get noticed. It was fun, arguably the most fun I’ve had, but I couldn’t even stomach the idea of doing it again. I was burnt out on traveling and touring.
I didn’t want to write a record about being on the road and missing somebody. I think that’s lame. People don’t really live that; most people go home every night.
Yeah, I guess you take a trip, but that long-distance relationship idea only goes so far. I wanted to have something else to write my album about. I just had to recharge my batteries.