After the release of his debut album ‘Authentic Lemonade’ in 2015, Dylan Joel has been doing a lot writing, recording and touring whilst trying to get his sophomore follow up in the right creative space. After a lot of artistic soul searching the Melbourne singer-songwriter has put together a new collective of vulnerable storylines and slick beat driven riffs. ‘You Were Made To Blossom’ perfectly re-introduces himself to listeners and steers his sound towards where he wants to be as an artist which is an exciting 2000’s R&B influenced reflection. Inspired by the likes of Timbaland, Justin Timberlake and Pharrell he drives the songs with an acoustic guitar before layering the production with beats which is a sound we don’t hear a lot of now.
I recently chatted to Dylan Joel about taking control of your anxieties, searching for the balance of vulnerable storytelling and strong production and find out why he is so fascinated by early 2000’s R&B. Check out the chat HERE;
TB: The Concept behind the collection ‘You Were Made To Blossom’ is to silence your inner critic and believe in yourself more. Which is honestly such a powerful and impactful sentiment to have in the world at the moment. So how do you personally calm yourself down when your anxiety or inner critic takes over?
DJ: I think it’s different for everyone. But for me, I try to take time out every morning even just for 15 minutes to sit outside, clear my mind and then go through some of the things I’m thankful for. Sounds funny, but doing this generally makes me feel so much more at ease about any previous concerns or doubts. Everything becomes a little more simple and a lot more life-giving.
TB: How have you found that social media and the easy accessibility of music now has impacted the way that you reflect on yourself as an artist and as a person?
DJ: I honestly don’t think it’s changed the way I view myself. I think it’s challenged me to not hold so much value to everything that I release. Whether people find it sad or some find it life giving, songs feel a little more temporary now. And I think the challenge is just to find the beauty in that and enjoy the present moment more by not holding on to the past. To be honest, I’m still figuring out how to do that in the healthiest way possible.
TB: In between the playful vibe of this collection there is an emotional vulnerability that drives the storytelling. So what would you say is the collections most vulnerable moment for you as a songwriter?
DJ: I think the title song ‘Blossom’ is the most vulnerable song for me. It’s made up of all the critical things I’ve said to myself at some point in my life. I thought having those words out in public, would feel a little nerve racking but to be honest, I actually just feel a lot lighter and free. It’s kinda really cool actually.
TB: Reflecting on the creative process what song took the longest for you to put together and what about it posed the biggest hurdle for you?
DJ: *Laughs* There’s this song called ‘Wet Clothes’ on the collective that took WAY longer than it should have to nail the production. I really have no idea why. But once I got in the studio with Mphazes and let him have a go at it, it was all gravy. He really helped bring my vision to life on that one.
TB: Your sound is so unique and is also inspired by early 2000’s R&B. So what is it about that production style that you love so much?
DJ: There’s actually not a heap of banging songs out with Acoustic guitar. It’s just a hard instrument to create a high energy song around. It’s an incredible instrument for creating vulnerability and sense of intimacy, but to get it bumping is super hard. And the early 2000’s fully nailed that. Almost every hit from that era has acoustic guitar as a feature and that’s my go to instrument to write songs with, so that’s probably why I’m such a 2000’s R&B fan.
TB: And I have to ask… what is one of your favourite Timbaland songs? Because let be real, he is a production king.
DJ: Damn, too many! ‘Bounce’ from ‘Shock Value’ or maybe ‘Carry Out’ from ‘Shock Value II’.
TB: You’ve played a lot of shows around Australia. So what has playing live shows taught you the most about yourself as an artist?
DJ: That the best performances I can ever do and the most artistic I can ever be is when I’m as present as I can possibly be. No thinking about what’s just happened, or what’s yet to come, but just purely being in the moment. That’s when I’m the best form of myself as a person and as an artist.
TB: Triple J and Triple J Unearthed have been massive supports of yours in your career, so who is an Australian newcomer that you think people need to check out at the moment?
DJ: Bene! She’s no underground artist, she’s already a huge deal. But I really believe she’s going to shake up the industry on a world scale. One of my favourite artists most recently for sure.
TB: Let’s play a little game of rapid fire questions where I’m going to ask you some questions that you just need to answer with the first thing that comes to mind.
TB: My morning pump up song is…
DJ: ’GOT IT GOOD’ by Kaytranada
TB: Pineapple on pizza is…
DJ: Fucking great. I’ll eat everyone elses!
TB: If I could have any superpower it would be…
DJ: To fly.
TB: This morning I…
DJ: Forgot to make my bed and do the dishes.
TB: The emoji that best describes my new collection of tracks is…
DJ: The three squirty rain drops
‘You Were Made To Blossom’ is out now