Home for the Curious Musician

Ian Davis on Bela Bartok and Raunchy Guitar Solos

Ian Davis interview, soundfly stories

Ian Davis is your standard musical chameleon — with a seemingly infinite number of bands and projects going at any one time. You can catch him touring around the country with Landlady, writing and recording his own family Christmas albums, or even arranging pieces for My Brightest Diamond. We asked him a few questions to learn how he thinks about music.

Which current projects are you working on? Links?

Currently, I’m performing and touring a lot with the two bands I’m involved with: Relatives ( and Landlady ( I’ve also just started work on my annual Christmas album; I write and record a song for each of my immediate family members and get lots of friends to come in and play/sing on them. Over the years they have grown quite ambitious!

What is your favorite music to play? Listen to?

I love singing with other people and feeling my voice resonate and blend with theirs. I love playing Bach’s well-tempered clavier and Bartok’s Mikrokosmos on piano at night in a quiet room. I love playing Manuel Ponce and Heitor Villa-Lobos pieces on guitar. I love conducting an ensemble through a piece or an arrangement of mine and hearing the days, or weeks, or months of writing alone come to life through the cumulative talent of others. I also love freaking out and taking really raunchy guitar solos.

What’s the biggest obstacle facing you as a musician?

The biggest challenge I face as a musician is developing my skills and retaining the information that I acquire through practicing, composing, or playing the music of others, while at the same time remaining skeptical of habits and keeping an open-mind to experimentation and new ways of doing things.

What is your most memorable musical experience?

This sounds cliché, but every one is memorable and necessary for one reason or another.

What does music mean to you?

Music is a complete comfort and constant. It is a way of working through problems and dilemmas that we, as human beings, must face. It is a way of connecting with people non-verbally. It is a completely bottomless world of possibility and discovery of what has come before and what has not yet been done. Music is hard but good.

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Ian Temple

Ian is a pianist, entrepreneur and professional musician. He started Soundfly to help people really find what gets them most excited musically and pursue it. He's toured all over the world with his experimental trio Sontag Shogun. Follow him on Twitter at @ianrtemple.