Dan Auerbach talks about his new album and new record label

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Dan Auerbach
Dan Auerbach (Alysse Gafkjen/Courtesy of the artist)
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David Safar interviews Dan Auerbach
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Dan Auerbach enjoys keeping busy. Not only has he recently released his new album Waiting on a Song, but he has also established a new record label called Easy Eyes Sound. Auerbach spoke with David Safar about his music and his new label.

David Safar: You just announced your new solo album Waiting on a Song. It's coming out on June 2. Before we talk about the making of the album, tell us about your new record label: Easy Eyes Sound.

Dan Auerbach: I guess it was the natural progression of having my own studio and making my own albums all these years. What I would do was I would make a record for someone, for an artist or a band, and then I would pass that record on to a label to release and I am giving it a shot on my own now. Finishing the process.

Your album will be the first release on the label. Do you already have plans for more releases?

Yeah. I just left the studio, we're doing finishing touches on some different records. We have a handful of albums that we're going to release this year.

Awesome. We'll look forward to that. Let's talk about the making of the new album Waiting on a Song. You enlisted some help from your friends in Nashville, and these aren't just any friends. These are some heavy hitters in the Nashville music scene. Tell us about who guests on the album.

Everyone, for me, is a star in their own right. Duane Eddy plays guitar a bunch on the whole record. People like Bobby Wood and Gene Chrisman from American Sound Studio play all over the record. I had Mark Knopfler play guitar on a song. I wrote the title track with John Prine — who is one of the most, if not the most respected songwriter in Nashville. Everybody loves John Prine.

At what point in your life did you first hear John Prine?

I heard him off and on growing up. I never really got the full impact until I saw him. My friend Fergie [David Ferguson] who co-produced this record, I met him maybe eight years ago and he's been one of my best friends in town ever since. Early on, when I was in Nashville, he took me to the Station Inn to see Prine and it was one of those events that can kind of change you.

So, when you were putting together this record, what was the decision-making process like when you had to decide: do I put together a band that goes out on the road with me or do I really take the time to bring in all these different people? It was probably a lot more work to do it this way, right?

These guys have almost become like family to me. All these guys who play on my album have become the house band at my studio. We've been working on projects all summer long, and we continue to. Up until last week we were making records. It's really become a thing at the studio, all these people.

We're going to listen to "Shine on Me" from the album. What was the genesis for this song? Where did it come from?

I wrote it with some of my friends. I wrote it with Pat McLaughlin and David Ferguson — "Fergie," as he's known to everybody in town. We wrote it at my house, on acoustic guitar. We recorded it in one of those big sessions that I would have where we would record 15 or so songs in a four-day period.

Wow, that sounds like a marathon!

Well, that's just every week here. It's turned into that. I'm just working everyday. We're either doing writing sessions or recording sessions, and we're always working on something. It's really exciting, it's been a lot of fun.

Now with this particular song, "Shine on Me," Mark Knopfler contributed some guitar parts to it. As far as I know, he's not a Nashville guy. So how did you end up working with him?

That was a strange one, because I cut the song and I was sitting at the console and I was listening to play back and I could hear him playing on the song. I said out loud: "It sounds like Mark Knopfler should be playing on this song." I had never met Mark Knopfler, but I had my manager reach out to him and send him the song. Two days later he sent it back with his guitar on it.

What'd you think when you first heard those guitar parts?

The first thing I thought to myself was "Wow." That guitar sound could only be one person. Which was cool. I was really grateful, and he really did exactly what I wanted to without me even asking him. It was just meant to be.

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