“DÉJÀ VU” THE DEBUT SINGLE FROM DAVID ULLMAN
Northeast Ohio newcomer David Ullman quietly released his debut single “Déjà vu” on December 19, 2006. The single, which includes an acoustic mix of the song “Secondhand,” features two eccentric B sides, “Snakebit” and “Mulletman,” as well. “Déjà vu” will also feature on Ullman’s forthcoming album DOG DAYS which is due for release this summer.
Like those from his impending full-length release, the songs on “Déjà vu” were recorded by Ullman himself—piecemeal in bedrooms, basements and bathrooms over a period of several years. The low-key approach to the sessions yielded intimate and unaffected performances from Ullman as well from his brother Brian (electric guitars & bass), and longtime friends Sean Kammer (keys) and Logan Ramsier (percussion).
This serendipitous method of recording also inspired the promotional video for “Déjà vu,” which was produced by the Pennsylvania-based Ship-King Media LLC (www.ship-king.com) in July of 2005. The video dramatizes Ullman’s writing and recording of the song, using the acoustics of bathroom-tile to enliven the track. Downloadable on www.davidullman.net, the clip was co-directed by Ship-King partner David Urbanic and Ullman’s longtime collaborator, the internationally acclaimed visual artist Matthew Jackson.
Brian Ullman, David’s younger brother, engineered the sessions for “Mulletman” and “Snakebit,” as well as creating the electronic drum loop for the latter, which he edited together from industrial sounds recorded at a factory where both brothers once worked. Brian also played bass and electric guitar as well as acting a general sounding-board for the elder Ullman’s own attempts at producing. In addition to digitally mastering the mixes for public release, Sean Kammer played piano on “Déjà vu,” and Logan Ramsier performed the live percussion parts under David’s direction.
“Déjà vu” will appear, unaltered, on the full-length DOG DAYS, as will a full-band mix of “Secondhand.” The B sides are exclusive to the single.
David Ullman’s music is at once poignant and intimate and fiercely intense. In outpourings of passion that are sometimes savage and other times delicate, Ullman sings brooding "sad bastard" songs with an underlying optimism. Ranging from a whisper to a roar, his soulful voice rises above the melodies plucked and pounded out on his guitar to deliver personal, candid, and insightful lyrics that linger with listeners long after his final note fades.
“Playing music was an integral part of my upbringing,” Ullman says. “My Dad taught my brother and I how to play guitar as kids, and we’ve both stuck with it.” Ullman began learning Buddy Holly songs at age eight, employing the rock & roll pioneer’s practice of overdubbing vocal and guitar parts to fill out his own amateur recordings. In the bathroom of his childhood home, Ullman taped himself performing a mixture of Holly’s signature tunes as well as his own early efforts at songwriting—sometimes recruiting his father to play the lead guitar lines. During his adolescence, he began gravitating towards acoustic arrangements, as they enabled him to carry a tune unaccompanied; and throughout his teens, the young singer developed the ability to imitate his favorite performers, closely emulating their vocal delivery and style for small gatherings of family and friends.
However, Ullman would ultimately find freedom in singing his own words. “I’m finally finding my voice. A lot of that has to do with having something to say, something that I need to communicate for my own emotional wellbeing, and I’ve found that songwriting provides me with the most visceral and immediate means of expression.”
With interests that extend beyond just playing music, David Ullman is intimately involved in all aspects of the artistic experience. A devout “do-it-yourselfer,” he maintains his own website, as well as doing the bulk of his own recording and graphic design work. An experienced and award-winning filmmaker, with four feature-length productions, countless short-subjects, and over 60 broadcasts to his credit, Ullman also takes a hands-on approach to his music videos. Collaborating with the Pennsylvania-based production company Ship King Media LLC, the singer-songwriter co-produced the clip for his first single, “Déjà vu.”
Like many original artists, Ullman finds it difficult to describe his own music. “I suppose my songs incorporate different styles and approaches. Some tend to be very mellow and reserved, while others are loud and edgy. It’s not uncommon for all of that to be going on in one song.”
Raised in rural Ohio, Ullman, 27, lived in Raleigh, North Carolina for several years before moving back to Ohio in 2004. He now resides in Kent, where, in addition to playing music, he is a full-time student at Kent State University. His debut album, DOG DAYS, is due out this year. The disc’s first single, “Déjà Vu,” was recently released on Ullman’s own Dreaming Out Loud Records.