Daryl Hall Is Recording New Solo Music with Dave Stewart: Exclusive Interview
Daryl Hall is in a better place this winter, hanging out in the Bahamas. But it's a working vacation, as Hall digs deep into writing with producer and friend Dave Stewart.
He has a long history with the co-founding member of Eurythmics, who is well known as a producer with Tom Petty, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan and others. They first collaborated professionally on Hall's second solo album, 1986's Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine, but their friendship goes further back.
More than an albums worth of songs are currently taking shape, Hall said during a Zoom conversation with UCR from Stewart's house. It was clear that they're thoroughly enjoying having the chance to explore new creative avenues.
Meanwhile, the April 1 release of his BeforeAfter retrospective will give fans a chance to catch up with the solo side of the Hall and Oates frontman's career. He'll hit the road that same day with colleague and friend Todd Rundgren for a touring run that promises shared moments on stage, in addition to their own sets.
You’re working on new solo music with Dave Stewart. How did that start up?
I’ve known Dave since the ‘80s. He and I made that album, Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine, back in 1986. We’ve been friends ever since. I mean, we’ve done a lot together. He’s taken pictures of me and we’ve written songs together and done things on various albums. I mean, it’s a long relationship. I used to have a house here on Harbor Island, where I am. Dave came down here because of me and then I sold the house. [Laughs.] Dave’s here and I don’t have a house here now!
So I’ve been staying in his guesthouse and we’ve just been hanging out. You know, we’re writing songs and he has a recording studio that he built down here. It’s going great. It’s really just the two of us making music with an engineer who is sort of a multi-instrumentalist engineer from Nashville, who came down [to work with us]. It’s really homemade good stuff.
How would you describe the music?
Boy, in its own way, it’s sort of like the Three Hearts stuff I did with Dave. We have a certain writing style that we do. It’s sort of in that direction.
How did you two cross paths initially?
I can’t remember, if you want the truth. Over the years, I’ve lived in London and spent a lot of time there. Somehow, somebody said we should get together. I can’t remember who or why. Maybe he knows. I can’t remember. [Laughs.] But I just wound up going to his house. The first time I actually physically met him, we started writing songs immediately. We just sat down and started like we had known each other forever.
You've previously mentioned that Robert Fripp is going to be involved in some fashion with this project. So you two have stayed in touch over the years since working together on the Sacred Songs album?
Yeah! And again, that’s a situation where Robert and I were friends before we collaborated together, way back in the ‘70s. We’ve kept in touch over the years. Recently, I emailed him, it was as simple as that. He was really happy to hear from me and said “Let’s do something together.” I was supposed to go to England and the pandemic kind of screwed that up. But I’m going to go over in a few weeks and see Robert, and let’s see what comes out of that. You know, there will be some kind of music.
It seems like you thrive on the collaborative side of what you do – and like a lot of collaborations, what comes out is something you might not have done if left to your own devices.
Yeah, I love collaboration; I love interaction. It’s more than the sum of its parts. I thrive on it and it stimulates me. That’s why I do it that way so much. I’m not that one-man-band kind of thing, where I sit in the studio and play all of the parts myself and don’t talk to anybody. [Laughs.] I need interaction.
When we spoke 2020, you were working on songs for a proposed Hall and Oates album with Jett Rebel. It seems like those songs went on the shelf. What's the latest?
It’s funny, I’ve just been in email contact with Jett over the past few days. We’re going to resume some things and revisit them. We’ll revisit some of the songs and continue them. I have a great relationship with him and I feel the same way as I did when I talked to you the last time. He’s a really talented and gifted musician. He will somehow fit into whatever this [project] is that I’m creating here. I’m not sure how yet, but he’ll be around.