Dave Matthews Band released their ninth studio album Come Tomorrow on June 8, the group's first studio release since 2012's Away from the World. The album debuted at number one with the biggest sales week for a rock album in over four years. Dave Matthews stopped by Inside the Studio, a brand new podcast series on iHeartRadio, to talk about what sets Come Tomorrow apart from his previous work, as well as why it took the band six years to make it.
During his appearance on Inside the Studio, Matthews said he's never felt better about the music he's playing, especially because it's such an inward facing album. Come Tomorrow is an album about family, love, and the future. It feels like a sort of "rebirth moment" for the Dave Matthews Band. After six years without releasing an album, as well as taking time off from performing after twenty five consecutive years of tours, Matthews had a lot of time to reflect on where the band has been and where he wanted them to go.
I have been struggling a bit with the band, with the sound of the band, where we've been going...I think that bringing in Buddy Strong, it was realizing now, just this ingredient of energy and of focus that has changed. It's like finding the last part of some ... not just saying there wasn't a magic. I'm not saying that, but I'm saying there's this new ingredient that changed all of us.
With new members adding a revitalized energy to the band, Matthews was ready to get back to recording and touring. The result is Come Tomorrow, which features studio versions of a few songs The Dave Matthews Band has been playing live for years. Despite pulling songs from different eras of their backlog for the new album, Matthews created an extremely focused record. Themes of love, marriage, lasting relationships, and hope for the future weave the tracks together to create something that feels very personal.
I think, maybe, allowing myself a little bit of that, was feeling comfortable to talk about it. Maybe that says something about where I am with my family, and also where I am with the band. Maybe it's turning 50, whatever it is, I do feel like a lot of this is looking inward, and even that song "Black and Blue Bird" is a little bit of a part of conversations that I had with my son and with my daughters.
It sort of is like the words, the things I've learned to think about in some ways, I wanted them to think about when we're having conversations either about the world, or about selfishness, or about what's happening, or the wonder, always try and remember that the universe is much bigger than we are.
Matthews spoke a lot about how turning 50 changed his outlook on life, as well as his outlook on the band. After years of aggressive touring and promotion for the band, Matthews decided to take a step back and give himself a "selfish year." He spoke at length about what this experience did for him both personally and professionally.
I think there was a lot of different thoughts. I think for me, I've never been ungrateful for what I managed with the band and what all the guys in the band have taught me, but I do think when I turned 50 I was like, "I really have to have a selfish year."
How did that "selfish year" change Matthews? He gained some perspective and new appreciation for his lengthy music career.
It's funny, because I do sometimes hear my own voice saying, "There's no way I'm going to be doing this when I'm 40."
It is a crazy thing, unless you're working as a musician, and you've had to work all your life to be lucky enough to get where we are, and keep being able to do it at that age. I'm very lucky. I don't take it for granted for the most part. There was a while I take for granted. I do feel like I don't care as much about what people think as I did 20 years ago.
I think I deeply cared. Now, I'm kind of like, "If you don't think that what I did was good, I don't care. I'm not saying you're wrong, although I think you're wrong, I'm just saying that I don't care, because it's good."
It's liberated Matthews from caring what other people think of his career and the kind of music he wants to make. He's more excited than ever about his band's music, as well as about hitting the road and performing the tracks live. And if you don't like the record? Well, that's no skin off Matthews' nose.
I think that if someone listens to this album and says, "I don't get it." They should either listen again, or I don't know go eat a cupcake. It's their loss to me. It's such a good record. I feel so good about it.
Matthews isn't sure what, exactly, he should credit his success to. He has one feeling he can't shake, though, that what he's created with his band over the years is something truly special.
That makes me think, "We did something right, even though we lost some friends along the way, we did something. We found something in each other that is really remarkable, and I don't take it for granted.
Each episode of Inside the Studio spotlights an artist celebrating a milestone, heading out on tour or, as in Dave's case, about to release new material.
Hear the whole podcast by checking it out here.