David Zweig: Artistic Overload
David Zweig has so many creative ideas he can't contain them to just one expressive medium. The 35-year-old Brooklyn native has translated his abstract thoughts into everything from songs to novels and now, with his upcoming documentary, to visuals.
Zweig started performing shows in New York City in the late 90s. "I could hear all these sounds in my head," Zweig says about his conceptual, multi-textured, pop-rock sound. "I think part of why it was fun and worked to a degree is because I didn't know what I was doing."
To help bring his artistic thoughts to life, Zweig found musicians via classified ads, adding cello, strings and horns to his already eclectic set. Soon after, producer Keith Cleversley who has worked with The Flaming Lips and Spiritualized, invited Zweig to Chicago to record an album. The result was "All Now with Wings," released in 2000 on Zweig's own Ebb & Flow Records.
"I tried very much to create my own sound," he says of the album, which was added on over 50 college radio playlists and cracked the top 20 on eight of them, according to Zweig. "I really wanted to have something where if someone heard a song and was reasonably acquainted with my music, they'd know it was mine."
His sound was more defined on his second project, 2003's "Keep Going," for which he re-teamed with Cleversley. The album has a conceptual framework, but has a more intimate quality than his first effort; Zweig's vocals and instruments are up front, his artistry rougher and less obscured by precise production techniques.
So far, Zweig's tunes run the gamut from raw rock to lush pop opuses and focus mainly on underlying musical themes. "It's very hard for me to treat songs as independent entities," he says. "My instinct is more often to work on a song and always have it in mind as part of a larger work."
While he realizes albums are becoming less important in the current single-obsessed climate and the proliferation of digital downloads, Zweig is still hopeful his body of work will spark the interest of some. "I think there is going to be an amount of people out there who will respond, most people won't," he says.
Recently taking a short break from music, Zweig took his craft from the recording booth to paper, writing his first novel this year. "Swimming Inside the Sun" takes place at the start of the decade, shortly after the fall of the World Trade Center, and is about a musician struggling with internal demons.
"Swimming" is another creative outlet through which Zweig hopes to reach people. "There is a certain amount of connection that creative people are seeking with the world or with other people and writing the book was another way I'm trying to connect," he says.
Zweig is also trying his hand at films and is currently at work on an as-yet-untitled documentary. The film deals with the psychological phenomenon called depersonalization, which he also explores in his novel. "Its about how media affects ones sense of self," he says, "the basic concept is we spend so much time of our day viewing things rather than being inside of them."
Additionally, Zweig is back in the studio. He is putting together new music -- including a sing-along element that caters to children much like Karen O and the Kids' "Where the Wild Things Are" Soundtrack -- and hopes to release it with an accompanying book or play. "The best type of art is accessible on multiple levels," he says, "you can dissect it and find all these wonderful nuances and complexities but at the same time a little kid can listen."
Although Zweig's work stretches across many platforms, at the end of it all he just hopes to keep sharing his vision with those who are interested. "I just want to make sure I never say to myself, I wish I tried that idea for that book or that weird thing I wanted to do; I don't ever want to say I wish I tried it. I just want to try it, and do it."