Written and recorded in just four months among avocado trees in Tauranga and in a dimly lit studio in Auckland, Avalanche City's third album titled My Babylon is out tomorrow.
Singer-songwriter Dave Baxter is taking his trademark multi-instrument set-up on a four-date solo tour in New Zealand, which includes a gig at Folk in Tauranga on March 2.
Baxter lives in Tauranga on an avocado farm with his wife and son.
Avalanche City emerged in 2011 with his breakout hit song Love, Love, Love. It established Baxter as one of the country's most talented songwriters, winning the prestigious Silver Scroll in 2011 and preceded the release of his debut full-length album Our New Life Above the Ground.
He returned in 2015 with another critically acclaimed album, We Are For the Wild Places. This record's lead single Inside Out was certified platinum in New Zealand.
These successful years were followed by a tumultuous time, which saw the artist caught up in a lengthy legal battle with his previous manager.
"It left me feeling pretty drained. It was sort of the dominant force in my life at that time. I didn't want my next album to only be about that, and it took some time to move on and be able to write songs about other things," he says.
Baxter decided to take a year out from writing his own material, before returning to the studio to work on the record number three. The new album captures a real moment in time for him.
"The album came together really fast," he says. "It was all written and recorded over a four-month period. I guess closing off that chapter in my life opened up another one in a big way."
Avalanche City made his comeback late 2018 with the single Prayed For Love, a catchy tune which has been played a lot on New Zealand radio over summer. This was followed by the song My Babylon, which is Baxter's personal favourite.
"It's the track I'm most proud of, and most excited about you hearing," he says.
"I didn't really set out to make the whole album about one thing in particular. I'd had a big break, found a new sound, and was excited to get stuck in. I don't try and steer things concept-wise for an album. But because the songs were written pretty much all within a few months, there are common themes," he says.
"My wife Sharanna was pregnant with Billy, and I guess I was feeling that everything was on the verge of change. If there's something that ties the songs together, it's the way life is constantly shifting.
"Circumstances are always changing, new things opening up, old things closing off. I'm just trying to make sense of that. And I guess getting older you have a larger scope to look back on. You see things from a different perspective than when you're younger," he explains.
The success of his first two records saw Avalanche City tour the world, and with My Babylon he is taking it back to where it all began — the towns and cities of New Zealand.
The venues for this tour were handpicked for their special vibe. They are all cool, small, and intimate spaces.
"I like doing the first show of an album as a little solo performance. It's how I started Avalanche City, and it's really fun for me to go back to that format. Choosing Folk in Tauranga made sense, as the shows there are always so much fun. Hans, who runs Folk, is really passionate about it, plus he serves the best coffee around," Baxter says.
After this special New Zealand solo tour, another overseas trip is on the cards.
"We're heading off to Europe for a few months soon, Sharanna, Billy and I. We're basing ourselves in Valencia. I have some shows around Europe, and we thought we'd go as a family and get away for a bit. Billy will be 6 months old, we don't know if that's a good or a bad thing, but we love Spain so we want to spend some time there."
What: Avalanche City — My Babylon Tour
Where: Folk, 148 Durham St, Tauranga
When: Saturday, March 2
Tickets: $30 from justtheticketnz.com