An exclusive video previewing Dave Matthews Band's new album and an in-depth conversation with Matthews himself.

Dave Matthews Band Billboard CoverThere had to have been two different vibes in the studio before and after LeRoi's accident.

We were pretty focused on what we had to do. I think it was real therapeutic, in hindsight. Everything was really hard after Roi's death, but I guess when we were all spending time and sat all together and listened to what he had already played, there were times when we really had time to think about him and be grateful for the time we had with him. This record is, among other things, our paying respects to him.

We did, I think, stand up for him on this record. He [had been] so excited; I'd never seen him so fired up about a record. He was always the one saying, "Man, we've got to get it right in the studio. If we fulfilled our potential in the studio, it would be a whole different thing.
That's where we should be excelling."

The really sad thing about this is he's not here to see the finished product, but I think we came up with a record that he would have been really happy with. We missed him in the making of it.

Dave Matthews Band
By The Numbers
32.9 million
Total album sales in the Nielsen SoundScan era (1991-present) for the Dave Matthews Band and Matthews solo projects
4.8 million
Total track sales for Dave Matthews Band and Matthews solo projects
21*
Number of albums from the Dave Matthews Band and Matthews solo that have charted on the Billboard 200
* Of those, 13 were top 10s and four hit No. 1: "Before These Crowded Streets," "Everyday," "Busted Stuff" and "Stand Up."

Though it has its moments, it doesn't really strike me as an overly dark album. It feels ultimately optimistic.

I tend toward the optimistic, but there's a lot [about] life and death on the record, a lot of reflection and searching in the lyrics. But I don't think there's any need to be lonely and overtly, self-indulgently mournful. That wouldn't serve us, Roi or anybody.

One of the things about playing music for all of us is that it's a source of joy. So even if we're singing about death or loss or the end of the world, at the very core of everything there's got to be hope.

"Dive In" seems optimistic, then at the fade everything drops off unexpectedly.

It's a really dark song. To me, it's about the end of the world. The chorus itself, "wake up sleepy head, I think the sun's a little brighter today / Smile and watch the icicles melt away / and see the waters rising. Summer's here to stay and all the summer dreams will last forever / let's go down to the shore and kick off our shoes and dive in the empty ocean."

It's really about, whether you believe it or not, the possible end of everything. I did it in this way of trying to disguise it as an "everything's going to be fine" kind of song. It's a sneaky song.

I hope as people listen to it they'll go "wait a minute, it's not happy, what the hell's going on here?" When you hear what the lyrics are actually talking about, it becomes really sad. But it's got that happy feeling to it, which makes it become more of an ache, the ache that comes with happiness in it when you think of all the beautiful things in our lives. And the idea of all that going away doesn't take away from the fact that there are all these beautiful things in our lives. [It is] the sweetness that comes with a heavy does of sobering bitterness.

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