It’s Dennis Lloyd’s first tour of Australia after releasing music for four years and the humble singer-songwriter is still shocked and excited that people from across the world want to see him live. Walking into his dressing room before his Brisbane headline show at 256 Wickham, he calmly sits on a couch playing FIFA with his saxophonist. After exchanging hello’s we talk about the reactions he’s had from the Australian shows so far. “Sydney and Melbourne were so wild” he exclaims before asking if Brisbane would be just as crazy. I assured him that if he created a rivalry between the Sydney and Brisbane crowds that he would get the Brisbane crowd pretty rowdy.
Hailing from Israel, this visit is very different to what he’s used to but he’s excited to be in Australia and finally playing shows to his longer term Australian fans. After all, ‘Nevermind’ became a smash hit with over 477 million streams on Spotify alone which is an incredible feat.
Whilst sitting down with Dennis we chatted about the expectations he had for his first visit down under, why he’s never written a happy song and the cultural and religious reaction he’s had to his music back in Israel. Check it out HERE;
TB: You’re currently in Australia for the first ever time, which must be a very exciting thing for you. But what has been one of the most unexpected things you’ve found about Australia or our crowds from your time here?
DL: I would say the people. I didn’t know what to expect in general but the people are so friendly, everyone is so nice. My Manager Josh and I take a lot of elevators and every time we hop into one we are like “why is everyone smiling” *Laughs*. It’s so chill.
TB: Is there a general consensus about Australia that you’ve heard that once you got here you realised wasn’t true?
DL: They said every animal in the country is going to try and kill me. But we haven’t had any run-ins just yet which is nice. I do want to meet a kangaroo but I don’t go to zoo’s so I’m hoping I just find one when I go to explore Perth.
TB: Throughout your career you’ve toured quite a lot, so what would you say is the biggest thing you’ve learnt about yourself as an artist through playing live shows?
DL: The most important thing in live shows is to have people say that you are connected. I’ve known my saxophonist for ten years. He used to busk in the streets of Tel Aviv. Where as I’ve also known my drummer for 6 years and I’ve worked with my manager Josh for 2 years. So our connection is real. If you come to see a show of ours, you will see the energy that we create as a group is honest and is so powerful. So having that connection is the most important thing to me.
TB: Your EP ‘Exident’ is a very vulnerable affair. So reflecting on your releases, what would you say has been your most vulnerable moment as a songwriter?
DL: I think every time I write a song is fucking vulnerable *laughs*. I only write when it’s bad, I never write when it’s good.
TB: So you’ve never written a happy love song?
Nope! I would say everything is vulnerable when you’re a songwriter. Writing about real emotions and real experiences is a super vulnerable experience. I would say the most vulnerable lyric on ‘Exident’ is “I wrote you a letter, dear future wife. You brought the emptiness into my life” from the song ‘Aura’.
TB: ’Aura’ has this really soulful empowerment to it that oozes from it’s soaring guitar solos that just transport you to a whole other world. So what was your production goals in particular with this song and EP?
DL: In general, when I started producing my songs I would over use instruments and synthesisers. The first song I released as Dennis Lloyd was ‘Playa (Say That)’. So when I originally wrote and recorded that song, it was massive. There were so many instruments, more than I could count. I just listened to it and it wasn’t good. So I deleted everything and started editing it together piece by piece and that’s how I create all of my music now. Minimalism is key, and that’s true. I try to create an emotion within the music in the most minimal way I can and that’s the way to be in my opinion. It’s not about how grand the production is, it’s about what is the artist trying to make you feel.
TB: Reflecting back on your back catalogue, I still love the production on ‘Snow White’ so much and that song continually stands out to me. But is there anything about your old songs production that you wished you had delved more into at the time?
DL: That’s a good question because I used to have mixed thoughts about it, but I actually love it now because I like to hear the progress in the music and see the progress when I’m out on the road playing shows. Also with the songs, what I think is cool is that you can listen to ‘Playa (Say That) from 2015 and ‘Leftover’ from 2016 and hear the distinct difference in production. When I go and listen to my favourite artists like Childish Gambino’s back catalogue, I listen to their first EP and then listen to their new releases so I can compare their growth.
TB: ’Nevermind’ has had over 474 million streams on Spotify alone, does that number sometimes overwhelm you when you think about how your music has reached the hearts and minds of so many people?
DL: It’s crazy! I don’t really look at numbers, charts, or certifications though. If it’s there it’s nice, but if it’s not then it’s still fine. But it is so crazy being able to have such an impact on everyone and we just reached the one billion mark worldwide across all the platforms which is insane to me!
TB: As an artist who hails from Israel, did you find any pushback to the progressive music you were creating?
DL: I’m from Tel Aviv and it’s a very liberal city. We have some more religious cities like Jerusalem but never in my life have I experienced any push back. Actually, I get messages from religious people asking if I can do my shows on Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday night because of Shabbat. So I never do shows on Friday night in Israel in respect to them.
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 pre show pump up song is…
DL: It’s all these very trash pop songs *laughs*.
TB: Pineapple on pizza is…
DL: A big no! I’ve never heard of people doing that. I’m very problematic with food.
TB: most mornings I
DL: Push the snooze button.
TB: The emoji that best describes my EP ‘Exident’ is…
DL: The broken heart!
Manager: I would say it’s the middle finger.
DL: No, ‘Exident’ is definitely the broken heart, the next EP is going to be the middle finger *laughs*.
TB: If I could have any super power it would be…
DL: To breathe under water.
Dennis Lloyd’s new EP ‘Exident’ is out now!