Interview with David Hyams – Musician, Composer, Producer

David Hyams is one of Western Australia’s most accomplished composers, producers, and multi-instrumentalists. Playing acoustic, electric and steel guitars, as well as mandolin, bass, dobro and harmonica, he has performed in a wide range of musical styles, from blues, pop/rock and country to the progressive folk of popular WA acts Devils on Horseback, The Press Gang and Reel to Reel. He even does a great Neil Young act. Not surprising as Old Man is one of his favourites songs.

After many years as a ’sideman’, David emerged in 2000 as a composer and artist in his own right with the release of his critically acclaimed debut Miles To Go. The 13 track instrumental album attracted considerable radio airplay across Australia and a string of great reviews at home and abroad. Live performances by his 7 piece Miles To Go band followed, the band soon becoming a festival favourite and 8 times nominated for Best World Music Act at the WA Music Industry Associations awards – the WAMIs.

In 2005, he released his follow up, Knowing the Place, which also received widespread airplay, particularly in North America, where it was placed in the Top albums and songs of 2007 (compiled from the playlists of 149 Folk DJs). This led to performances at Folk Alliance International in Memphis in 2009-2010.

David has composed for documentary and feature film, with his music being aired on numerous TV soundtracks. He also wrote the title song to the Australian feature Mad Bomber in Love, which received high rotation airplay on ABC radio.

As a songwriter he has collaborated with many artists and has been 3 times nominated for the WAM Song of the year awards. He was a finalist in the national MusicOz awards in 2006 and 2007, as well as the Australian Songwriters Association Awards in 2008 and 2014. In 2009 he signed a publishing deal with Shock Publishing Australia.

David released his third album Travelling Bones in 2013.

David has been a major contributor to WA’s music industry – as a longstanding board member for WAM and Fairbridge festival. He was WAM President from 2006 – 2008 and, in 2010, was made the organisation’s 3rd honorary life member.

For many years David has shared his skills and experience through his work in community projects involving a wide range of musical styles – from the country and ‘desert reggae’ styles of Central Desert Aboriginal communities, to the rap and hip hop of WA’s maximum security prisons. Particularly known for his ability to work with diverse groups of people, David has been an Artist in Residence in the Cocos Islands Malay Community and several regional WA towns . He has had a long involvement with WA Indigenous musicians, including Kimberley artists Peter Brandy and Kerriane Cox, and he currently tours with and produces John Bennett from Bidyadanga community, winner of the 2019 WA Country Music Artist (and Album) of the year. He has worked with the Central Desert communities of Jameson (Mantamaru) and with the Martu people of the Western Desert.

In 2012 – 2013 David was producer, sound engineer and musical director for the Murru project for leading Australian arts and social justice company BighART. This involved bringing prominent Australian musicians to the Pilbara town of Roebourne to write songs with the community and the inmates of the jail, recording them on location.

The project culminated in the Murru band opening the 2014 Melbourne festival to a 5000 strong crowd in Federation Square, the band including Lucky Oceans, Emma Donovan, Trevor Jameson and Wendy Matthews.

David continues to be involved with the Roebourne community through the Songs For Peace and Songs For Freedom projects, the latter of which brought the Roebourne community to Perth for concerts at Point Walter in 2021 and 2022.

You’ll find more about David and his music on Meta, Bandcamp and Apple.

Our editor, Michael Barker, had the great fortune to meet with David Hyams to discuss David’s wonderful career in music to date, as well as what lies around the corner. Don’t miss the podcast. Put in your earbuds, lean back and enjoy!

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