Interview – David Duchovny

Life is never a straight path. Just when you think you are heading in one direction, you take a detour and start an entirely new journey. New York native David Duchovny can vouch for changing up life’s plans, departing from a pending career in academics to  pursue a career in the arts.

Not looking back since, Duchovny has won two Golden Globes, sustained a career in acting for three decades, and become one of the most-recognized faces on television. From The X-Files to Californication, as well as a list of feature films, Duchovny has quite the résumé. Again, taking on a new role, in recent years Duchovny has entered the world of music, ireleasing his debut album, Hell or Highwater, in 2015.

Now back for more, Duchovny offers the world Every Third Thought, which hit the public back on Friday, February 9, 2018. Recently we caught up with the busy performer to talk his career in entertainment, his entrance into music, playing live, and much more. – You have been involved in entertainment for over three decades now. From acting to music, you have built a fantastic résumé. Briefly tell us what inspired you to dive into the world of entertainment?

David Duchovny – At the beginning, I was kind of on this trajectory where I finished college and I was in graduate school for English Literature and I was getting a PhD. That meant after that I would have gotten a job at another college, and I would have gotten on a 10-year track, then after 7 years of publishing articles maybe become a professor at a college. What it meant was, from the age of 17 until I died, I would have been on a college campus. That sounds kind of nice, but at the time it felt a little cloistered and insular. It felt like I wanted to expand out into a bigger world, at least in my young man’s mind that’s how it appeared. – It seems like it all worked out in the end. Among your acting credits you have starred in a list of memorable films and television series including The X-Files and Californication. Beyond acting, you have a passion for music. Is music something that has always been an important part of your life?

David Duchovny – Yeah, as a listener but not always as a player! I always loved music like most people did. I spent all my hard earned money for lifeguarding on Fire Island on a big stereo system when I was 16-years-old. Music was always important to me, but I didn’t start playing an instrument till about 6-7 years ago when I picked up the guitar. After that, it was just kind of a discovery that I could write songs, which was surprising to me because I had never done it before. I am not a singer and I hadn’t sung before. The idea that I could come up with melodies and such was all very surprising to me.

Showtime – It is really fascinating how it happened later on in life for you like that.  You simply never know where your creativity is going to take you sometimes. Back in 2015, you released your debut album, Hell or Highwater. Now you are back with Every Third Thought. A crisp Rock-n-Roll album, what was the inspiration behind these new songs?

David Duchovny – Well, the lyrical inspiration, which is just a daily thing – it is whatever is occuring to me on the day I happen to have the idea that turned into that song. It is not a concept album! I think of each song as being like a character – like an actor might put on a role, each song has its own character or point of view to me.

Musically, I am limited to the chords that I know; I know enough of them but I throw them together in different combinations. I hear melodies over those chords or I don’t. If I do hear those melodies, I bring them to my band but I will say, ‘I kind of feel like this is a heavy one’ or ‘I feel like this is a Bowie song or like Petty.’

This song “Mo,” the way I was playing it was with my thumb. I was strumming with my thumb and kept hitting my bass E. What I created was a bass-line by mistake and I said to our Bassist, Mitch Stewart, ‘I’m hearing this bass-line, I will give it to you and I really think it should have a Fleetwood Mac vibe.’ Every song took on its own character and musically too. – Feel has a lot to do with songwriting. Speaking of the lyrics, these songs come across extremely personal. Would you say they act as a therapeutic release?

David Duchovny – I think music is therapeutic, but not in the sense of therapy. I think it is healing but not in the sense of, “Oh, I really had to get that out.” I think music just heals! Even if we are listening to terribly sad songs, it somehow leaves us less sad when we hear it. For me, it is really just the universal aspect of myself reaching out to other people. The intent is not to share my story with other people, my intent is to share my humanity with other people where they can join in. That is what music is: it is not about confession or specifics, it is about what makes us all one.

King Baby/GMG – Yes, the best music is created that way. It is always something we can all relate to. You have done some live shows over the last few years. Additionally, you have some live performances lined up through March. With much of your credit being as a film/TV actor, how would you compare performing music live opposed to acting in front of a camera?

David Duchovny – It is more like doing a stage play I would say, but even that is different. When you are doing a play, you realize every time you perform it is going to be different; not only because you’re different but the audience is different. The audience is going to be responsive in different ways. The audience is like animals in that way: they are just different on different nights, they are not always the same. It’s the same when you are performing live music: the audience is going to be in different moods; they are going to gravitate towards wanting to move or they want to listen. As the guy up there with the microphone, it’s fun for me to feel that out and kind of take us on this journey where they want to go. – It has to be exciting to have that instant reaction as well, very much like a stage play.

David Duchovny – Yes, absolutely. I’ll always remember my first instinct was to come out and talk. Brad Davidson, who is running this side of my life, he said, “No, just come out and start the music.” That was my insecurity: I felt I would get on their good side by telling a funny story right away. He told me, “No man, this music, just get it out there.”

Fox – Right, the music does most of the talking when it comes to a live performance. It is exciting that you can have creative outlets with music, writing, and acting. Speaking of which, after 15 years, were you excited to see The X-Files return?

David Duchovny – It is a unique position to be in as an actor to have started playing a character in 1993 and to be asked again in 2017-18 to play the same guy. As an actor, you get to ask yourself questions that you never get to ask yourself as an actor, which is, “How do I play this guy 25 years later?” You just don’t get to do that. Maybe in a movie you have flashbacks or flash forwards, but this is how do I sustain this guy? How do I make him the same guy but he is not the same – 25 years have happened, he’s changed – yet he is the same guy. These are all really questions to ask as an actor. Just from the creative side, you might look at it as how boring to have to go back and do the same thing; but it is not the same, it is actually a very interesting acting problem.

Tour Dates:
Feb 20 – Auckland, NZ
Feb 21 – Wellington, NZ
Feb 23 – Melbourne, AU
Feb 24 – Sydney, AU
Feb 25 – Wollongong, AU
Feb 28 – Newcastle, AU
March 1 – Brisbane, AU

For more on David Duchovny: | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram 

Purchase Every Third Thought:

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