Interview: Americana artist David Rosales on new album 'Brave Ones' and 'Lift Your Hands' video series
Courtesy of David Rosales

His last name is Spanish for “roses,” and if you think of his songs as flowers then David Rosales has just given his fans a very nice bouquet; the Americana artist released his debut full-length album Brave Ones in April. Rosales is even presenting the music videos from Brave Ones in the form of the “Lift Your Hands” video series, a collection that includes the aforementioned cut along with “Good to Be Alive,” “Brighter Days” and “Brave Ones (Come with Me).”

The “Lift Your Hands” video series also gives fans an insight into what inspires Rosales’ songwriting as each video begins with the singer telling a little bit about the song. Today we present the video series along with additional input from Rosales that will help new fans get to know this Los Angeles-based rising roots music star. His commentary below was given by email exclusively to AXS.com.

AXS: You chose to shoot your “Lift Your Hands” video series in black and white. What was it about the format that encouraged you to do so?

David Rosales: In general I’m a big fan of the high-contrast simplicity of black & white. It tends to give off a timeless effect. I also felt like the visual would be less distracting and place more emphasis on the music.

AXS: In the introduction to the “Brighter Days” video, you talk about how everyone has to pay their dues in life. Can you take us through a rough patch in your career and explain how you overcame it?

DR: Where do I start? As any artist I’m sure can attest, you often go through self-doubt and financial struggles following this career path, times where you wonder what you’re doing with your life. I left a well-paying corporate job in my early 20s to pursue music full time and ended up not having enough money for bills and selling off whatever I could to make rent. There were times where I was sleeping on the floor in some Los Angeles sublet with blankets down for padding and cockroaches doing wind sprints next to my head while I tried to sleep. I’d drive 800-miles through the nasty combination of Wyoming wind and snow only to make it to a gig to end up having to fight for a comped Budweiser. I’d get jacked around on the night of shows because I simply didn’t have any leverage as an opening act. Ups and downs are just par for the course. I’ve paid dues and I’m sure I have more to pay. It’s just the way it is. The music is the easy part.

AXS: Your solo work is far removed from the rock music you played when you were in Silent Treatment. Were you also into Americana music back then, or did you get a taste for it later?

DR: A bit of both. I’ve always been a fan of great voices, songs and songwriters no matter what the genre, be it metal, punk, soul, country, blues, folk, bluegrass or rock. So once I started down this road away from the harder rock and metal stuff, it opened up a lot of doors for instruments and sounds I had been wanting to explore as a songwriter. As a student of the craft, I began to study more and more contemporaries in the genre for inspiration and ideas. The great thing about Americana music as a genre is that it takes up a huge amount of acreage in the sonic landscape. I like the freedom and space.

AXS: Your recent east coast tour included a stop in our nation’s capital. Did you indulge in any sightseeing during your free time in Washington?

DR: I did. I was driving in from Manhattan and once I got through the D.C. rush-hour traffic, which wasn’t as bad as what everyone made it out to be --- I am from Los Angeles after all --- I headed to the venue, loaded out and took a walk around Georgetown. I’m a big horror movie guy and I had to check out some locations from “The Exorcist.” Then after the show I took a drive around the White House and walked the National Mall. I had a beautiful and awe-inspiring experience sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial looking out over the reflecting pool at 2 am. There in the dark and quiet, with Lincoln at my back and the Washington Monument lit like a beacon of hope in the distance, I thought long and hard about the men and women who had given their lives so that I may be able to sit there as a free man able to sing the songs I choose to sing without fear or consequence.

AXS: You live in Huntington Beach, California and you like to spend time on and in the ocean. What are some of your favorite beach activities, and does spending time there with your family ever inspire your songwriting?

DR: I’m a water baby. I’ve felt drawn to the ocean ever since I was a little kid. I enjoy surfing, lobster diving, body surfing, fishing and playing with my kids in and around the ocean. I dig the laid back vibe of the beach. I get relaxed and I suppose being in that mindset allows me to dig into my songwriting a bit more. The people and places around me are certainly sources of inspiration.

Follow David Rosales here.