Travel Profile: David Boyd of New Politics
By Mehnaz Ladha | Published on September 17, 2018
Travel Profile: David Boyd of New Politics
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Consisting of Danish-born, David Boyd and Søren Hansen, as well as New York native Louis Vecchio, New Politics exploded onto the scene with their smash hit “Harlem,” earning over 31-million Spotify streams and reaching the top five at Alternative Radio. The band has since released four-studio albums featuring a slew of hit singles, including “Everywhere I Go” and “Tonight You’re Perfect,” securing major syncs on multiple trailers for Frozen, placements on America’s Got Talent, ESPN and commercial spots for the likes of Bud Light, Microsoft, Doritos and more. New Politics will bring their high-energy mix of punk and pop-tinged, alternative-dance rock back out on the road this November. Be sure to check out “One of Us” from the band’s latest album, ‘Lost In Translation,’ embedded below.

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Mehnaz Ladha: Kicking it off with your hometown area of Copenhagen, Denmark, what really stands out and makes it special to you?

David Boyd: I take that answer for granted. Being born and raised there, I’ll always have this nostalgic attachment to what Copenhagen, Denmark, and the Scandinavian lifestyle means to me. The best way I can put it is that I’ve been living in New York, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. What I’ve learned is that you can really make every place special and that’s what it becomes. But, with Denmark and Copenhagen specifically, there’s something in the air and in the people. That’s one of those unexplainable things that just warms your heart. Besides, the fact that it’s a thousand-year-old city, it has a lot of that old-town charm. They’re also very into design – minimalism. It’s hard to explain. Whenever I meet someone who says that they have always wanted to go there, I tell them to do it. If there’s something you could do for yourself – travel. But, if you have the chance to go to Scandinavia, go. Don’t hesitate. You won’t regret it.

© Nick Karvounis

ML: Where would you send a first-time visitor to get a real sense of the surrounding area?

DB: I would definitely go to Copenhagen, as a must. It depends on what kind of holidays you’re into. I would daringly rent a car and travel to some of the smaller cities that are extremely beautiful, as well. You have the top of Jutland, which is a place called Skagen, where the two oceans meet. It’s at the tip of Denmark.

ML: That must be breathtaking!

DB: Oh, absolutely! I’ve only actually been there four times, but I still remember it. Even though I’m on the main island, Zealand, it’s made very easy with bridges. So, you can drive a car there, and along the way, you can stop in Odense, which is the fourth-largest city in Denmark. It’s the largest city on the smaller island. You can continue and stop by Aarhus, which is the second largest city. It’s a beautiful city with canals. A lot of the cities were built when there were only horses and nobody had a concept of a car. You get into the cities and it’s like going back in time, but it’s also modern at the same time.

Travel Profile: David Boyd of New Politics© Nicola

ML: It sounds like the perfect blend of old-town charm and modern design.

DB: Totally! People are also very, very nice. Everyone speaks English more or less. It’s common that people speak good English. Of course, once you’re out of the city it’s a bit different, but generally, they’re pretty familiar. They won’t look at you like, “What the hell is this person talking about?”

So, I would do that kind of stuff. But, within Copenhagen, I tell my friends to do the tourist stuff. That will give you a solid feel of Copenhagen – the canals, small colorful houses, and traditional food, like open-faced sandwiches. I would also visit the Little Mermaid and the Royal Palace, where the king and queen live. Living there, I take some of this stuff for granted, but I’m sure that there are a ton of museums and other things to do.

READ MORE: Travel Profile: Romeo Blanco

ML: I feel like it’s human nature to take your surroundings for granted and forget how lucky you are to live where you do. Shifting gears, what was your first, real exposure to music? How did you get inspired to create your own and eventually pursue it as a career?

DB: I originally started off as a dancer doing street shows in Copenhagen to make money. A bunch of friends and I were down by Højbro Plads. It’s a popular street with a bunch of stores and restaurants. It’s quite touristy. I would do street shows down there with a drummer. We were like a breakdance crew. We would just hit the streets and do shows for tourists. I was always into music and had an interest in it, but no one in my family had any knowledge of it. We listened to a lot of music in my household, but the way that I was introduced to music was through some dancers who were into breakdancing. I thought that was so cool. Once I got into it, it became an outlet for expressing myself.

Travel Profile: David Boyd of New Politics© Luca Bravo

When I started to do it more seriously, I became a professional dancer and started meeting musicians. Almost automatically, I started learning a bit of theory and how the chords work, really the basics to songwriting. I started writing melodies, concepts, and lyrics for songs. I got into it slowly and met Søren Hansen, who plays guitars and vocals for the band. We clicked and starting writing songs together. Eventually, we had people interested in signing us, and I had met someone from a label in [New York]. I sent it to him and we flew to New York for the first time ever about eight years ago. It was really awkward because we recognized the city from all the culture in TV, films, and stuff. But, you can’t help looking up at things. I just remember being tired. I’ve never been this tired after a day in a city.

ML: Exhausting is one way to word it. It’s almost as though if you even blink, you’ll miss something.

DB: It’s so stimulating! There’s everything there and you just want to be a multi-millionaire. But, we basically signed a deal with RCA Records and the rest is history.

READ MORE: Travel Profile: NERVO

ML: Your dancing is still very much a part of your music and brand. The band is in fact known for your “high-energy mix of punk and pop-tinged, alternative dance rock.” Has your musical style evolved over time?

DB: 100%. A lot of it comes from ignorance and hard will. There are no rules, so it’s almost a challenge. The more music you know and educated you are, the harder it gets, because along with that comes walls. Then you also change, because you start to learn that you can do things you didn’t know how to do before. You lose things and change things as you go. That’s what is so phenomenal about it. The only thing that’s important is that, as an artist, you are creating the core of it. It’s who you are at the time, and it reflects something you love and want to express. That’s the biggest thing I’ve learned in my years of writing records and doing this professionally.

 

 

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ML: Your Danish heritage is so central to the band. Do your Danish roots affect your music?

DB: Yes and no. It gives us an advantage and a disadvantage. We would do things that an American wouldn’t think of doing. Sometimes, it gives us an advantage in that sense, but also certain things can be a struggle like writing lyrics and cultural things that I can hear other artists are able to combine in their songs. There are small things, but nothing that’s really complicated or made things harder for us.

ML: You’ve lived in a handful of cities and performed in many more with the band. How do some of the music scenes of the different cities you’ve performed in compare to other?

DB: They’re all pretty familiar. There are certain scenes that you have to be a part of, but most scenes become mainstream and get completely exploited in a way. Like right now, the trap/hip-hop scene is just mainstream. However, there was a time and a scene where that was a thing unto itself. On a mainstream level, you always have a business aspect to art. That’s kind of like, “Let’s take this to the next level.” Even when everyone has mastered trap/hip-hop, eventually it’ll fall into its own scene again. There will always be a scene for it, but I believe a new scene will come. With us growing up, we were very into the grunge movement and the hip-hop of the 90’s and 2000’s. I feel like we’re very inspired by that.

Our drummer is from New York, so he was very inspired by the emo, punk and pop scene that was in the 2000’s. But, that scene, although it was gigantic in the high school and college world of the United States, it wasn’t the same in Europe. We didn’t really get that. I had a couple of friends who knew about it, because they were music nerds and kept track of everything that was in the US. But, it wasn’t like it ever blew up like it did here. Some songs become universal and then some just take on a scene. We didn’t really have that. It was a little different over there.

Travel Profile: David Boyd of New Politics© Robert Bye

ML: To create music, and traveling to promote it, must be such a feeling. What’s the most impactful and meaningful part you cherish about it? Does the travel help inspirationally?

DB: Sometimes traveling, the way that we do on tour, is exhausting because you’re so on. The days are often booked in a way that you only have two-hours spare and you can’t really do more with it. You have to rest and then play or something. When you do have a day off, you get a chance to take a breather, so sometimes things go a little over your head. I’m known in the band for getting up a little earlier and calling an Uber.

ML: It sounds like the struggle of balancing work responsibilities and personal leisure.

DB: Definitely! The older I’ve gotten, I’ve realized that the more active and involved you are, the more inspired you are. It almost works reversely. If we go to Russia, and we’ve never been to Russia, then I just do four days where I’m barely sleeping, because I’m out and about doing everything and trying everything. If we’re in Mexico or Japan, then you barely get any sleep because you’re jet-lagged, and of course, you just have the adrenaline of wanting to see everything. A lot of those things becomes timeless memories from the food to the drinks.

When we were in Moscow, we played our show and had to get on a flight to London. We were up three-days straight, sleeping on the floor an hour here or maybe three hours on the ride to St. Petersburg on the bullet train. One of the craziest things as a musician is when you’re selling out a venue with 2,000 kids and they’re singing every song at the top of their lungs.

© Alexander Smagin

ML: For a boy who started his career dancing on the streets of Copenhagen, that must be surreal.

DB: It’s just wild how that’s possible or how that’s happened. That’s definitely the greatest gift. We’re also there with open hearts. We’re like, “Take us to a local restaurant.” The locals and people taking care of us there will take us. We went to some traditional Russian restaurant at 3 a.m. and they were still smoking inside. But, the food was so good. It’s a mix of being just as hungry as we were and the adrenaline. You put together four tables and it’s all just local. 14 people, including the crew and everyone taking care of us, sitting at a table, drinking and chowing down. You never forget that.

Or in Mexico, when we were in Monterrey, we drove 40 minutes into this valley. It was just phenomenal and they had their own mezcal farm. I had one of the most amazing margaritas there! The tacos were so simple but so good. How do you make a taco this good when there’s literally nothing on it? Those things are just phenomenal. You can’t beat that.

ML: What’s been your most memorable performance yet?

DB: If I had to say, in terms of performance, one of them is the Firefly Festival. I have never seen so many people. It was as far as the eye could see. People were going nuts. It was crazy – massive. When we played at the time a few years ago, “Harlem” was just all over the place on the charts. When that bass line came in, it was just smoke as far as I could see. People were jumping and going crazy. I just remember it being wild. I felt like I was knocked to my soul by the craziness. That was very memorable. They’re all memorable in their own way.

ML: So, New Politics is on its last leg of the Angry Orchard Rock the Roots Tour, alongside Sublime with Rome, Lupe Fiasco and the Original Walters. You’re also hitting the road again this fall with The Score and Bikini Trill. Describe your excitement and what fans can expect from the performance.

DB: At the moment, we’re in a changing phase in the band a little bit. We’re trying new things and trying to go back to some of the old politics. We’re stripping some of the things we’ve added that aren’t necessary. With this fall tour, what we’re trying to do is cities and venues we have never been to. We kind of want to dumb it down a little bit and do something a little personal. One of the things we really enjoy is seeing and hearing the fans. Having that interaction of being able to go into the crowd and making the fans a part of it is really important. We really want to do that with this fall tour. It’s our run, so we can do what we want. When it really boils down to it, it’s all about the fans and we want to get them involved. Let them see the soundcheck, meet us and take pictures. We want to incorporate all of that so it becomes an experience for them.

READ MORE: Reuben Styles of Peking Duk

ML: One of our core objectives at SCP is to bring people together while traveling, not only to influence people to see and appreciate our beautiful world, but to also minimize cross-cultural divides. What effect does travel, specifically surrounding music, have on humans in this regard? How has it broadened your perspective of the world?

DB: From my experience with traveling – even before I did music when I used to travel as a dancer or work at a theater in France, Germany or Spain for a few months – one thing that I’ve learned, and why I feel like it’s something that’s mandatory and you owe yourself, is that it’s the one thing that brings harmony and almost like an understanding to the soul. It goes deeper than just body, mind, flesh and bone. It’s something for the soul. You learn so much and experience more than the eye can see or observe. It’s mandatory because it puts a different perspective on life.

Travel Profile: David Boyd of New Politics© Benjamin Punzalan

I’m sure that anyone that’s traveled even just a little bit can understand what I’m saying. It breaks barriers. As people, we’re very observant and we want to understand and care. Sometimes, that’s hard when we have a nine-to-five and you’re focused with a tunnel vision of just one perspective of life. There’s more to live. Traveling is very healing for the soul. It’s something that we should all do. You grow as a person, start to understand cultures and start to see that we’re not really that different than anyone. It doesn’t matter what you believe, where you’re from or what color you are. It’s all just beautiful parts of a giant tree. Not every leaf looks the same. The root is different than the bark. But we’re all on the same tree. It’s something you owe yourself and it should be mandatory to travel.

ML: We like to ask well-traveled people, like yourself, if there are any destinations that they haven’t been to yet but need to see. What are your top three?

DB: I haven’t been to Australia and would love to go there. I would also love to go to Central/South Africa. I haven’t been past Mexico and would love to go to South America as well. Sometimes, I feel more like just being on the beach and not doing anything. I just want to get away, be pampered and spoiled. Most of the time though, I’m about getting out and experiencing things.

I remember being in Egypt and we met this local cab driver. He took us to the hotel and was super nice. He was like, “Here’s my number. If you ever need to go anywhere, you can always call me. I would like to take care of you while you’re here.” We decided to go with that. Of course, a great move when you don’t know anything. But, that’s just part of traveling. He ended up taking care of us, driving us around and on the second to last night, he invited us home. It was just crazy. That was the part that was most touching because we saw how happy they were and how little their needs were. This would be considered, “Oh my god,” in the [United States] or in Europe. But, they were the happiest kids. The food was phenomenal and we ate traditionally on the floor with our hands. Everything was local and it was the wife that cooked everything.

Travel Profile: David Boyd of New Politics© Ali Hegazy

ML: I bet that was probably the best meal of the whole trip.

DB: Absolutely. That was the cherry on the cake. I love to do things like that. I’m very into history, so in cities, I love to see the old so-called meaningful architecture and historic buildings. I would love to do that across Africa and South America. I would go to Antarctica in a heartbeat, as well.

ML: I’m sure you and the band could think of something amazing to do there too.

DB: Yeah, we need a performance there!

ML: Lastly, what do the next couple of months have in store for you and the band?

DB: We’re writing a ton! We’ve really gotten on a roll with our writing. It’s super fun to be back into writing. That’s really what we’re doing. We’re aiming to release something next year. We’re going to be doing this fall tour and working on grinding for our fans. We want to write our greatest album yet, push our limits a little bit and just tour. Touring is key.

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For more on New Politics, visit their website:

Travel Profile: David Boyd of New Politics

About The Writer
Mehnaz Ladha

By: Mehnaz Ladha | Published on September 17, 2018

   
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