Asst. Arts and Culture Co-Editor
Published: April 18, 2012
When the Observer caught up with David Pollack, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’13, he couldn’t wait to grab his guitar and sing us a song. Pollack, a communications and media studies major at FCLC and lead singer and guitarist of Brooklyn-based indie-pop band, Bridges, exhibits an unmistakable passion for music. With commitments extending far beyond being Bridges’ front man (he also writes all of the band’s original songs, and has other writing projects on the side), he exudes an inspiring energy and excitement about all aspects of the industry both on and offstage. Pollack aspires to become a producer for other artists. Judging by the catchy melodies and relatable lyrics on his bands’ most recent EP, “Groundwork,” he’s got a good idea of what people want to hear. We sat down with Pollack to talk training, band mates, college crowds and, of course, to hear him play.
Observer: How did Bridges start?
David Pollack: I went to the University of Vermont (UVM) for a couple of years in Burlington but I decided to move back to New York and my friend’s little brother, Steele, was just getting out of a band so we decided to form Bridges together. It was pretty serious from the beginning; we were really into it. We started playing gigs almost right away because I already had songs written. We’ve had a lot of different members come in and out of the band but it’s always been Steele and I since the beginning. Our other guitarist, Tim, and our bassist, Abe, are relatively new. They’re great.
Observer: Had you been in a band before?
D. P.: Yeah. I was in a band for most of high school and we played a lot of shows around New York City. When I was living in Burlington, I was in a band there and I was doing a lot of songwriting and working with other artists as well.
Observer: Where is your favorite place to perform with Bridges?
D. P.: Colleges. Definitely colleges. The shows are free so people just come. Students get really into it. We’ve played at Bard, Yale, the University of Vermont, Rutgers and Swarthmore. We played here at Fordham for Relay for Life. House parties are really fun to play, too. Usually when we play at a college, we try to play at a party near campus afterwards.
Observer: Where else have you played in New York City?
D. P.: Sullivan Hall, many times. Knitting Factory, Cake Shop, Spike Hill. We haven’t played at the new Knitting Factory yet; I really want to play there.
Observer: How did you first get into music?
D. P.: I was always kind of connected to music since I was really little. My parents said when I was younger I always hummed along with songs, even before I could talk. I had a little Sony play recorder and I made up this thing called, “David’s Greatest Hits” where I would just sing along with songs on the radio. It was really silly.
Observer: Do you have any formal training?
D. P.: I got a guitar when I was 12 or 13 and started taking some lessons. I took lessons for about five or six years with a couple of different teachers. I also took piano and voice lessons for a couple of years. When I was in my early teens I went to this creative arts camp and that was when I really blossomed and really began to take music seriously. Those were probably the best summers ever. I got lessons there and I was writing a lot and playing a lot and getting feedback and just gaining a lot of experience.
Observer: Why didn’t you choose to major in music in college?
D. P.: I did for a little bit, actually. I went to Berklee College of Music in Boston for a summer program but realized I didn’t want to go to a conservatory. Then I was studying music at UVM, which was fine, but I decided I didn’t want to continue doing that because I realized you can’t really teach songwriting. I enjoy working at it, but I didn’t really enjoy studying it. It just takes the fun out of it for me.
Observer: How did you get into writing songs?
D. P.: When I first started picking up the guitar, I wrote my first song and my guitar teacher helped me put it together. From then on, I started writing a lot.
Observer: What do you write about?
D. P.: All different things. Social commentary. A lot of songs about love.
Observer: Which artists would you consider your greatest musical influences?
D. P.: Weezer. I love Weezer, those guys are probably my favorites. Simon and Garfunkel are really great. Joni Mitchell, those kinds of artists.
Observer: Do you want a career in music?
D. P.: Definitely. I want to be a songwriter and producer. I like to work with artists. I’m working with a few artists right now, writing and producing.
Observer: What goes into producing exactly?
D. P.: Hearing a song and then creating an arrangement for it. Giving little ideas to make the song better.
Observer: What’s in store for the future of Bridges?
D. P.: I don’t know. I’m not sure where this band is going to go but I’d like to play more festivals and colleges for now. I think that’s the most lucrative market right now.