David Walters is an explorer. Not just one of those who show off on the screen. Like his Grandfather, David has not hesitated to cross seas or oceans to fulfil his desires fit. His mother's father left the Caribbean island of St Kitts for New York and started a family in London with a woman he met on the boat. David, on the other hand, travelled from his home in Marseille to Sheffield, London and Manchester to record this EP and to give a new twist to his career by musically extending the link that binds him to his grandfather, and more generally to his ancestors. "In Africa and its diasporas, as in the world for those who know how to see them, the elders are always at our side", he says in a soft voice.
"Music comes first".
It was on Guts' advice that David Walters changed his working habits. He and the French producer/beatmaker and DJ know each other well. "He offered to accompany me artistically on my new album, to be my third eye, or my third ear," says David. "He is someone I respect for his work, his discretion and his questioning, his desire to never repeat himself" he explains. "We often exchange ideas. We don't necessarily always agree, but whatever we think of each other, it's the music that comes first.” So when Guts told him about Tom Excell, David went for it. He headed for Sheffield where Excell, the producer, guitarist and percussionist had his own studio. The contact was direct. "We took the instruments and played like children", remembers David, still under the spell of the encounter. "Tom is part of the new English scene that combines jazz, soul, hip-hop and world grooves. He’s associated, as a musician, producer and remixer with Nubiyan Twist, Onipa, K.O.G., Me & My Friends and so many others. He has the freshness of the English sound. I like his approach. Over there, people have grown up with The Beatles, The Specials, Depeche Mode, The Clash or Apache Indian playing in the background in supermarkets. They have a different musical culture, a different musical culture that is part of the décor regardless of the genre, and that's a game changer," David says excitedly. "If people like it, they make room for you right away. I'm a fan".
"More personal and more open"
In three sessions at Tom Excell and David built these 4 tracks. “No One” which opens this E.P., was the first to be finalised. As always with David, everything is played - the Rhodes as well as the percussion, the bass as well as the drums - before being sampled. Even the electronic rhythms are sampled on the hi-hat or cymbal. Hence this organic sound. ”No One is a word of advice, an incitement to trust yourself, to listen to no one but your own instinct. This is something the singer already defended more than fifteen years ago on “Awa” the song that gave its name to his first album. "No One” is now more peaceful and serene than “Awa” was," he says. “Bow Down”, initiated with the Lyon-based producer Patchworks, is reinvented here in a lighter version. ‘It's a nod to New Orleans and the Afro-descendants, those men and women who kept their heads up despite slavery and mistreatment," says David, who recorded and produced the Nola is Calling project (2019) in a colonial house in New Orleans he transformed into a studio. The expression "Bow Down" is both a tribute to the Amerindians who came to the aid of African slaves and an affirmation of strength and resilience. Hurricane Kathrina is still on everyone's mind. As David explains, “Yemaja is the Cuban goddess of the sea. In Africa, she is called Yemoja”. There is no doubt that the sea is David's element. “The sea acts on me like a sort of great "reset". It's a place where you can also lose yourself," he says. “Baby Love”, the last track, echoes “Baby Go” from the album
Nocturne (2021), an opus recorded with cellist Vincent Segal, kora master Ballaké Sissoko and percussionist Roger Raspail. "In the end, these four tracks (+ a disco edit of “No One” by the American producer Captain Planet) are put together like a rebus, to tell a story that makes sense to me: Nobody is going to fall apart, thanks to Yemaja", David sums up with a warmth and smile in his voice.
David Walters is a true explorer, and doesn't intend to stop there. Future sessions are already scheduled in Tom Excell's studio in order to finalise a full length album which is due to be released early in 2023.
released July 1, 2022
All tracks produced by David Walters & Tom Excell.
All instruments played by David Walters, Bruno Patchworks, Tom Excell.
Plus on “No one” & “Bow Down” Additional guitar : Jeff Kellner.
Backing vocals : Akemis Terran Carrera
Flute : Marine Thibault.
On “Baby Love”
Horns : Bruno Patchworks.
Recorded at Ginger X studio (Lyon), One Two Pass it (Paris), Firebelly studio (Sheffield).
Mix by Mr Gib at One Two Pass it.
Mastered by Frank Merritt at The Carvery (London).
A&R and Executive production : Franck Descollonges.
Artwork by Landry A. (Palaplaya Studio), Photo by Elliot Broué.
Thanks to Guts for his advice, Bruno Patchworks & Tom Excell for the music, Mr Gib, Marine, Jeff, Akemis, Landry & Elliot for the help.