INTERVIEW: David Duchovny

Published on, Feb 2018

How Getting Into Music Helped David Duchovny Overcome His Biggest Fear

Embarking on a career in music only a few years ago, Hollywood superstar David Duchovny tells Daniel Cribb how he overcame one of his greatest fears.

Famine, ignorance and war / I keep just outside my door / It’s me, myself and I / And I Let it slide,” sings David Duchovny on Stranger In The Sacred Heart, a cut from his second record, Every Third Thought.

While it’s the album’s fourth song and wasn’t released specifically as a single, it’s one of the more powerful.

“That’s the closest I’ve come to formulating a religion or philosophy for living,” the X-Files star begins from his New York home on the eve of the LP’s release.

The lyrics throughout the new 12-track effort are “extremely personal”, but don’t try to connect the dots between each song as “there’s nothing juicy in there” that’ll reveal specifics about his personal life. “I feel like the way that I write lyrics, I’m not writing a point-by-point confessional,” he explains.

His music has laid-back vocals and a folk edge, so it’s not surprising he’s drawing inspiration from the likes of Bob Dylan. “I don’t give a fuck, really, what happened in Bob Dylan’s life, but something happened and it made him an amazing lyricist and same with [Tom] Petty, same with The Beatles.”

Each song captures a point in Duchovny’s life and looking back on the album, it’s fitting the acclaimed actor sees each song as its own “character”.

“The person singing the song is like a different person,” he tells. “Some of these songs were written over a period of two years, so my point of view is changing within the songs and I think if you approach each song as a story or character in and of itself then, to me, that’s the right way to approach the album and not really as a statement.”

It was only a few years ago that Duchovny decided to branch out into music, unveiling his debut Hell Or Highwater in 2015, and since then he’s become a lot more comfortable calling himself a musician.

“I’m not a trained singer or natural singer, so it was a real struggle recording the first album,” he reveals. “I was able to hook up with an amazing voice coach here in New York named Don Lawrence and I’ve been working with him for like three or four years now.”

“I’m not under the illusion that I’m an amazing singer, but I have more confidence in what it is I do and how to go about doing it, so not only recording this album but also performing live is a much more comfortable place for me to be.”

And it’s with this newfound confidence that he’ll bring Every Third Thought to Australia. “I’ll be on your time schedule soon enough and I hope I don’t walk through two weeks of concerts jetlagged; I’m a little concerned,” he laughs.

He may play the part of Hank Moody onstage, but when Duchovny first started performing in front of live audiences, it wasn’t an easy feat. “I would have told you that my greatest fear, up until I started doing it, would have been [singing],” he says.

“It couldn’t be further from what I ever expected to be doing, so in that way, it’ll never be not shocking to me. At some point, I realised it’s about the song; it’s not about me, and it’s like, yeah, I’m going to try and sing it the way it is on the record, where I had a bunch of goes at it and could get it as close to note-perfect as I could, but I’m not the kind of singer that’s going to do that live. I don’t care because people don’t come to hear notes, they come to hear a song and they come to hear a story and feel something.”

And that experience is where Duchovny hopes to bridge the gap for fans of shows like The X-FilesCalifornication and more. “I guess with two albums, maybe [fans] know the music better, but the first time, I knew I was lucky. I could sell 2,500 seats and it wasn’t because of the music – they came to see me.

“I don’t really care why you came out, I’m happy that you came out and I’m confident that what we’re doing has merit and emotional traction to it.

“I feel like we’re making good music and we’re singing good songs and telling interesting stories, so I feel like you’ll come back for the music.”