There's no way around it: Dave Cedillo is a treasure. Hailing from Overland Park, KS, he brings a tremendous amount of fun and delightful weirdness to whatever he does. In 2014 Dave won a Rocket Grant to bring his Beep Goes the Weasel project to the masses. For anyone interested in the intersection of pop music, science and vegetables(not to mention RiffTrax videos), Dave Cedillo's multimedia extravaganza is crazy entertaining. Dave is also an accomplished musician and songwriter with a knack for melody and strangely humorous lyrics. It's a pleasure to be able to share Dave's art with you on Listen Local.
Tell us about yourself. How long have you been a musician and songwriter?
My dad is a musician. He's the one who showed me the middle C on piano, and how to make chords on a guitar when I was in grade school. I was intimidated by both instruments as a child. When I was 20 or 21 I met a friend (Chris Mull) who wrote his own material, sang, and played guitar. He came over at night, and we wrote poems, found melodies, and turned them into songs. For the next 20 plus years we continued to write and play together. There is a bio on my blog that takes some liberties with the truth if you want to read more about it. During that period I also learned how to strum a guitar and sing at the same time, and play the harmonica.
You’re involved with many different multimedIa projects. How do you balance all of your creative endeavors with work and home life?
It can be a struggle. My wife, Jenny, has helped me get more organized over the years. She reminds me to write important dates on our wall calendar. I'll take a picture of that calendar month with my smartphone, and reference it when someone asks me if I'm available for certain dates. I also put reminders on my smartphone so I don't forget stuff. When Jenny's home I try to not to work on music because we both work regular jobs and our time together seems short at times, but if I get an idea for a song, she understands if I need to write something down or record a lyric. I usually work on creative projects in the morning before I go to work around noon. Every once in awhile I'll write or record something in the middle of the night.
How your different projects Inform each other?
Not sure what this question means... do you mean how do the projects differ from each other? I play in a semi normal church band that has a drummer, an acoustic guitarist, a mandolin/banjo player, and me. We all sing melody and harmony. I usually play rhythm on electric guitar, but sometimes I'll play something out of the ordinary like a Casio VL-tone keyboard that can fit in your pocket (it's also a calculator). This band is called Wailin’ Wall and under this name we play classic rock, bluegrass/folk, and anything else we can get our heads around. My other projects are MONDO BEEP and BEEP GOES THE WEASEL. MONDO BEEP is synchronized chaos that started over three years ago on First Fridays. I usually start a drum sequence, and slowly add other electronic devices. BEEP GOES THE WEASEL is less noise, more structure, and it exists to interact with individuals.
Describe your songwriting process. Who or what inspires you?
Here's a short list of people, places, things, and circumstances that have resulted in a song:
Tom Waits, Lake Olathe, driving through foggy conditions, Elvis Costello, my morning shower, vacant lots, Lucinda Williams, Metcalf South Mall... Sometimes the rhythm of a phrase will get the song started. If it doesn't sound too much like someone else's song, I'll figure out a chord progression next. When I write lyrics, they are usually the same words I use In conversation.
Where and how do you record your music? What advice do you have for others who want to do the same?
I record everything on my desktop computer in the living room. I can plug any instrument directly into it using a line in jack. I also have a microphone to record my vocals. I use Audacity to record and mix tracks. It doesn't matter if I have an entire song or a partial song, I just record the idea whether it is all there or not. Anyone with time, patience, imagination, and a computer can do what I'm doing.
AT DAY'S CLOSE: NIGHT IN TIMES PAST (book) - ThIs book takes the edge off insomnIa, and puts me in touch wIth my inner ancient self.
INNOCENT WHEN YOU DREAM (book) - A collectIon of intervIews with my favorite recording and performing artist, Tom Waits. I would love to answer a question like he does. Here's an example, Jerry Hubbard: Tom, where do you hail from professionally? Is It the BIg Apple as they call New York, I think? Or Is It Hollywood? WaIts: I live at bedlam and squalor [points] It's that way.
MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 (DVD) - The library has multiple volumes of this show that aired on Comedy Central, and I've seen every one. It's comforting to know that there's someone trapped in space with two little robots, forced to watch bad movies, and they still have a sense of humor.
BICYCLE DIARIES (book) - ThIs got my attention because it was written by TalkIng Heads front man DavId Byrne. The book details hIs travels around the world on a ten speed bicycle. There's even cool bike racks drawn by the author on the last few pages.
BETWEEN A HEART AND A ROCK PLACE (book) - The Pat Benatar story.
MORTIFIED (book) - I wonder If DavId Nadelberg knew he would find so many kindred spirIts when he started this project where embarrassing teenage diary entries are unearthed.