Like many singer-songwriters, Dallas’ Mr. Carter Davis made his first recordings in his bedroom. But then he recorded a couple songs in a studio at Dallas Baptist University thanks to friends who work at the school. From there, he decided to record demos for his next album at eight Apple Stores in cities all over the country, both for inspiration and to draw some attention to his work.
Davis started at the Knox-Henderson location in Dallas on May 1. It wasn’t so much a tour as a decision to record on the road. He funded the whole thing, driving for Uber to save the funds. “It’s actually kind of complicated to get a hold of managers at stores,” Davis says.
So Davis decided to just show up at stores. He knew they had allowed recordings in the past, but had no idea if he would be allowed until he tried. “As soon as we got there, we talked to a floor manager and they were all very helpful,” Davis says. “We were nervous going into that first Apple Store here in Dallas,” Davis admits. “But after that first day we felt pretty good about the trip.”
Using GarageBand, a microphone and an acoustic guitar, Davis did his acoustic demos in one take for Soundcloud files. But sometimes he did it twice for the sake of the video camera. “I kept it as simple as possible,” Davis says.
A solo artist playing folk pop similar to Fleet Foxes and Father John Misty, Davis adds enough ambience effect to his vocals to make them reminiscent of Pet Sounds, as if they were recorded in a large church. Driving back to Dallas from Pilot Point with his brother after visiting his grandparents for Christmas, Davis first had the idea to record demos at Apple Stores.
“It’s important to realize that life is fleeting,” Davis says. “But also to live in the moment. To travel around the country and record an album was a way to pursue my dreams to the fullest and inspire others to do the same.” Davis just figured Apple Stores were feasible options that would encourage others. He also simply likes Apple products.
He decided that each song would be about the city it is recorded in. “It was a concept album in the truest sense of the word,” Davis says. “I was planning the album and the trip at the same time.” Many of the songs were partially written and matching them up with cities was surprisingly easy, even true to life.
“Hotels” was recorded in a Los Angeles Apple Store and it is about two young artists in love, trying to make it, and ultimately deciding to leave. “For the Love of the Lake” was recorded in Chicago and it is about staying at a lake house. “There’s a Future” captures Davis’ excitement about visiting New York City for the first time. “Storms” was recorded in Seattle and it is, appropriately, about gloomy weather.
He returned to Dallas on May 15 after traveling 7,600 miles and capped off the road trip with another recording at the Knox-Henderson location. “I think music changes the environment around you,” he says.