Interview: David Duchovny discusses his new album, ‘Every Third Thought,’ songwriting
Photo courtesy: Erika Tooker and used with permission

David Duchovny, the award-winning actor, director and novelist has just released his new album, Every Third Thought. It’s the follow up to his 2015 debut, Hell or Highwater.

Crafted with elements of folk, classic rock and pop, Every Third Thought showcases Duchovny’s eclectic influences, which range from artists like The Beatles and David Bowie to the bright, haunting and acoustic-driven songs from 1970’s bands like America.

Recorded in Brooklyn in December of 2016, Duchovny finds a deeper level of lyrical maturity and musical expression with Every Third Thought. His honest storytelling speaks of personal reflection but is meticulously crafted with universal themes.

AXS recently spoke with David Duchovny about Every Third Thought, songwriting and more in this exclusive new interview.

AXS: How does Every Third Thought compare to your first album, Hell Or Highwater?

David Duchovny: This album is more musically varied and ambitious. The songs all started the same way, which was me throwing chords together with an acoustic guitar and then singing my words over it. Once I started collaborating more with my band--who are such advanced musicians--it allowed them to bring in their own sonic tastes. So, it wasn’t just me saying I’ve got this song but was more like I’m hearing a David Bowie, “Heroes” vibe, which was the case with the song, “Half Life.” Or from me saying “Last First Time” feels like a 70’s power rock ballad. They were able to open the song up and execute the things that I couldn’t.

AXS: Have you found that your lyrical style has matured with this new album?

DD: Having written a bunch of songs, I’m starting to get a better feel for how lyrics work. I still very clearly recall writing my first song, “The Things” on Hell or Highwater. I remember thinking that if I’m going to write a song, I’m not going to say anything specific in it because I don't want people asking me what it means. And what could be more neutral than saying, “It’s about this "thing" [laughs].” I try to straddle the line of a song being very personal but also universal. Everybody’s life has a very similar shape. You try to write as personally as you can and write to the shape of everybody's life.

AXS: What was the writing process like for Every Third Thought?

DD: It's always different. Sometimes, I’ll have a melodic hook in my mind and a chord progression waiting for words. Other times, the words will come first and they're waiting for a melody. I’ve got a bunch of lyrics off to the side on my iPad and a bunch of progressions off to another side. Sometimes, I’ll sit down and start introducing them to one another and see who wants to make out [laughs].

AXS: What can you tell me about the song, “Maybe I Can’t”?

DD: That’s an older song originally called “Blue Sky Rain” that we left off Hell or Highwater. The chords have a real haunting sense to them. Then my guitarist, Pat [McCusker] wrote that beautiful, picked intro. I wanted it to sound like one of those old, really clean-acoustic America songs.

AXS: Do you find the creative satisfaction in writing songs to be similar to that of acting and writing books?

DD: Songwriting is very unexpected to me. When I have a book that I’ve written in my hands it feels great, but I always knew I would write so it doesn’t feel like it's something that just fell out of the sky. With movies and television, I’ve been doing that for a long time and it feels great to see or to have other people see it. But the idea that there’s a song that didn't exist before and now it’s here because I sat down and played some chords with friends, it’s very small, personal and wonderful. Then you get to share it with others and it can take on an entirely different life.

AXS: You'll soon be touring Australia and New Zealand for the first time. Do you have plans to perform any U.S. shows this year?

DD: Because of my shooting schedule, my tours have been small and only for a few weeks. I’m sure we’ll be doing another East Coast swing at some point and maybe even a West Coast swing as well.

AXS: What can you tell me about your upcoming book, “Miss Subways”?

DD:Miss Subways” comes out in May and is set in New York. The premise is, all these waves of immigrants have come to this country from all over the world, but what happened to all of the local religions, gods and customs as these cultures assimilated into a general, American Christianity vibe? The idea is that they brought them with them and neglected them. They’re still here, but they’re pissed off and bored.

AXS: What excites you the most about the new album, Every Third Thought, and this next phase of your career?

DD: In terms of the music, on the one hand, I’m afraid that I’ll never write another song because I didn’t write one for the first fifty-three years that I've been here [laughs]. On the other hand, I’m excited to become a better musician and see what kind of doors that opens up for me as a songwriter.

David Duchovny Tour Dates:

February 20 - Auckland, NZ
February 21 - Wellington, NZ
February 23 - Melbourne, AU
February 24 - Sydney, AU
February 25 - Wollongong, AU
February 28 - Newcastle, AU
March 1 - Brisbane, AU