For the first interview in our new Artist In Residence series with Drew Holcomb, we’d like you to get to know him a little better by hearing his thoughts on the creative evolution found throughout his entire catalog, what he hears when he listens back to his older records in relation to his newest album Souvenir, which other band’s career catalogs he admires, and much more.
NoiseTrade: For anyone who’s completely brand new to your sizable catalog, what do you think is the best song or album to function as a good introduction to your sound?
Drew Holcomb: I think the Medicine album is the best place to start. I think it encompasses the breadth and depth of our sound and of my songwriting. Maybe go with “American Beauty” and “Here We Go” to bookend the emotional and sonic landscape at both ends.
NT: With regard to you most recent album Souvenir (released earlier this year), how has the overall writing and recording processes evolved for you since your first couple albums? What elements of those processes have remained the same?
Holcomb: With Souvenir, for the first time, we did a lot of co-writing as a band, instead of me writing solo. Our recording process was similar to Medicine, except we allowed ourselves more space to layer the tracks outside of what could be performed live.
NT: When you listen back to some of your early albums in relation to your most recent ones, what are the things that you hear as the songwriter that speaks to your evolution as an artist?
Holcomb: More than anything I see the progression of our sound. On the earlier albums, I hear youth, experimentation, hesitation, overconfidence, and all the in between. I also hear my voice developing over the course of the albums, to where it feels fully developed by the time we recorded Good Light.
NT: If you think about your individual segments of album-to-album growth, which ones are you most proud of and which ones are most memorable to you?
Holcomb: Probably the jump from Chasing Someday to Good Light. In all three important lanes of music; songwriting, recording, performance – I hear lots of maturity happening in the time between making those two records. I hear lots of influences and curiosities on Chasing Someday that sound like a young band trying to figure out who they are, what they sound like, what sort of songs are most natural. On Good Light, I hear those questions already answered and I hear a band confidently making a particular musical statement.
NT: Thinking about entire catalogs, who are some artists or bands that you think have the most interesting or adventurous arcs?
Holcomb: Tom Petty, for sure. There is such a great progress from bar band, pop band, experimental rock band, folk songwriter, and legend. You can feel those changes on each record. Very adventurous. Wilco is also like that. Every record sort of marks a particular decision to try something new, whether going experimental or full on AC Dad Rock. I love that unapologetic progress.