EXCLUSIVE: Dylan Dunlap Interview On New EP, Omegle, and More!
Stage Right Secrets sat down with Dylan Dunlap to discuss his latest record and what life has been like the past year.
Stage Right Secrets | Congrats on your debut EP, Soldier On! Did you do anything to celebrate its release?
Dylan Dunlap | Thank you so much! My bandmates and I actually did a live stream at a UFO in the desert to celebrate the EP release. Definitely, the coolest way to ring in new music. Then later in the evening, my girlfriend and her roommate made alien-themed cocktails to enjoy while I was updating all of the platforms.
The artwork for the record is breathtaking. How involved were you with the cover?
Kirk Adolph is a man of many talents! Not only is he responsible for electric guitars and co-writing, but he fully understands my vision as a graphic designer. Throughout the years, we’ve become big fans of space, symmetry, and ambiguity. Kirk just knows what I love most about making a cohesive product musically & visually without ever really needing to discuss it. I’m so grateful to have him on my team and, most importantly, to have him as one of my best friends. He actually lives in Arizona, so our relationship proves that ‘long distance’ is merely a state of mind. 🙂
These six songs are all so extremely memorable for different reasons. What was the first song that was created for this project?
The first song created for this project was actually the last song on the tracklist. I find it so ironic that “If That’s Alright” (track 6) preaches about spending the rest of my life practicing self-care. So much that it becomes difficult to learn how to let somebody else in. “Seriously” (track 1) is almost a “where are they now” to what my life would have been like if I followed ITA’s message and chose to only fall in love with myself. I love how this EP ended up being a perfect loop conceptually and organically.
What song was the hardest to write or record?
I wouldn’t say it was hard to write or record, but “Follow My Echo” definitely took the longest to write. When everything shut down, I went a little easier on this machine-like brain of mine and took all the deadline pressures off. I locked myself up in Marisa’s closet with the world’s best acoustics and let myself write one line a day until it was finished. I refused to watch Finding Nemo as inspiration because I wanted to write solely from a place of reminiscence. How did the movie make me feel when I watched it as a kid? What do (and don’t) I remember? I always rooted for Nemo’s innocence and was so frustrated by Marlin’s parenting. Now as an adult, I completely understand why the dad was as protective as he was and I’m proud to have written from such a loving, caring, and stubborn perspective.
How did you go about choosing which songs would make the cut and the track order?
I know it’s my name slapped on the artist bill, but it’s very much a democracy here! I privately asked every member of my team what their top 6 were and then when it came to the official tracklist meeting, we were all in agreement about a majority of them. There’s one song *which will not be named* that unfortunately didn’t make the cut, but my heart isn’t too broken about it as we just confirmed it for the next project. I really do treat every song I work on like it’s the most important song in the world, so because of that, I was equally as obsessed with the replacement. As for the track order, it was coincidentally in the order of how they were released as singles.
How do you think quarantine changed your creative process?
Quarantine forced me to look inward and accept/love the things about myself that I normally swept under the rug. I can’t believe that I’ve somehow managed to get this vulnerable without diminishing the quality of my pop sound. I’ve also written more songs in the last 12 months than I have in my entire career, so I’m just going to keep releasing them all!
What did you do to pass the time aside from music?
Going to the movies was the only thing I loved just as much as writing/recording. It was really difficult to have that outlet stripped from me, but I have a lot of faith that theaters will safely open up here soon.
Have you imagined what these songs will look like in a live setting?
Imagining what these songs will feel like in front of a stadium is actually what fuels me to finish each one. On top of figuring out the best instrumentation to be translated live, I’ve written in much better keys for my voice. I used to destroy my vocal cords singing at restaurants and bars for 5 hours a night and thinking to myself, “the only way to get everyone’s attention is if I overcompensate.” Now I’m learning how to actually take care of myself and sing comfortably. I’m whispering my way through lines and I honestly don’t remember the last time I stood up to sing something. Haha in fact, every song that’s coming out this year was entirely recorded while sitting down.
A couple of months ago you posted a video of you leaking your songs on Omegle, how did that come about? What was the most memorable reaction?
Omegle is awesome. Some of the interactions are so genuine and I’m excited to continue coming up with innovative ways to get my music out there during this time. I think the most memorable reaction was this one girl that literally knew every lyric of an unreleased song by the time I got to the second chorus. It felt so validating! Something just feels different about this upcoming batch of songs and I can’t wait for the rest of the world to hear them.