INTERVIEW: Noah Dillon

Noah Dillon’s debut album ‘Kill The Dove’ is more than just an introductory body of work to the masses, it’s an honest exploration of who he wants to be as an artist. It’s him finding his voice, and finding his way of conveying his full spectrum of emotions through raw lyricism, and diverse production. It’s a record we are all going to fall in love with during Spring, and it’s then going to soundtrack our Summer with its festival ready singalong’s, and intimate emotional fuelled melodies. 

The Fremantle/Walyalup singer-songwriter has been captivating audiences across Australia after opening for the likes of Spacey Jane, Hope D, Holy Holy, San Cisco, and Teenage Jones. And he’s continually ticking off personal bucket list items like signing to Dew Process in 2021, and doing triple j’s Like A Version. He’s quickly topping so many tastemaker’s “must watch” lists, and rightfully so.

I chatted to Noah Dillon about the spectrum of emotions that is behind his debut album ‘Kill The Dove’, explored the creative process behind songs like ‘Comfort Is Not The Reason (Kill The Dove’, ‘I C.A.N.T’, and ‘Drip Dry’, and reminisced on touring with Hope D earlier this year. Check out the full chat BELOW;

THOMAS BLEACH: Your debut album ‘Kill the Dove’ is a sun-soaked, high energy, and honest body of work. What is the most surprising thing you think listeners are going to hear or learn about you on this album? 

NOAH DILLON: I think the most surprising thing people will find out from listening to this record is the depth of dynamics between the songs. I’m always trying to paint the full spectrum of emotions, and the record gave us enough room to fully explore the dark, light and grey shades of emotion. The songs go from solo ballads to punk inspired anthemic tracks.

TB: Title track ‘Comfort Is Not The Reason (Kill The Dove)’ is the album’s big standout moment. Can you explain the creative process behind this track? 

ND: I wrote this song the night before we recorded it. We were meant to keep tracking the previous day’s song, as we were getting set up I grabbed the acoustic guitar and started playing through the song. Andy stopped what he was setting up and was like “whatever that is let’s record it”. We gave ourselves the whole day to track it and let the song grow in the studio.

TB: “Comfort is not the reason to love me” is a lyric that is going to echo in my head for days, maybe weeks even. What is the emotion or physical place that is triggered in you when you hear that lyric back now?

ND: That lyric somes up the sentiment behind a lot of the record. ‘Kill The Dove’ is about accepting that peace and happiness isn’t something that you will achieve one day and it’ll never go away. It’s about understanding that life is full of ups and down and peace is understanding that, and leaning on friends to ride that roller coaster with you. It takes courage to make life changes that in the present will cause pain but will holistically be for the best and be the healthier option. “Comfort is not the reason to love me” is about staying in a relationship that’s breaking down because it’s easier than leaving. I think people often think they are doing the right thing by someone else by staying in the situation that isn’t working, when really they are just creating an unhealthy space.

TB: On the other end of the spectrum, ‘I C.A.N.T’ is a very energetic and chaotic track that I imagine would have been quite fun to record. How did that recording/writing session look? Did it feel chaotic in the best way possible?

ND: It did feel chaotic in the best way! It was inspired by bands like Idles, Courtney Barnett and Wet Leg. I wanted to have a song where I could speak my mind in a stream of consciousness. My brain is pretty active and there’s a lot going on all the time, so I wanted to make a song feel like my brain feels. I think I freestyled most of the lyrics on the first runthrough of the song when I demoed it. I then bought it to the band, and they gave it the energetic feel I was after.

TB: Opening track ‘Drip Dry’ sonically reminds me of Ball Park Music meets Spacey Jane. What were your sonical references for this particular track?

ND: That’s an amazing thing to hear, I love those bands. I wanted it to sound anthemic and soft at the same time. I actually wrote the riff on the toilet… I had this melody stuck in my head that I couldn’t stop humming, so I made a voice memo of me humming it and then spent all night writing the song based around that melody and feeling.

TB: ‘Nothing Matters’ is an especially warm track that is immediately striking with its lyricism, especially with the line; “And love can be as hard as hate if it means that much”. Can you explain the story behind this particular lyric?

ND: This lyric is about the feeling that to truly love you have to be vulnerable and you have to give a lot of yourself which means you’re in a position to lose a lot. All emotions come with baggage when they are intense and it’s a beautiful thing, but sometimes being vulnerable is hard and scary.

TB: What song went through the most versions to get it to where it is now on the album? And why?

ND: Probably ‘Drifting Apart’. It started as a ballad on the piano, but we wanted to push ourselves to make something that we sonically haven’t gone for yet. We used synths and darker sounds with a sporadic looping drum pattern to make it groove differently than most of our other tracks.

TB: Over the past few years you’ve opened for the likes of Holy Holy, San Cisco, Spacey Jane, Hope D and Teenage Jones. What is something you’ve learnt about yourself as a live performer from doing one of these support slots? 

ND: I’ve learned the value of playing to new audiences and connecting with people we haven’t connected with before. Being in a room where everyone is resonating with an emotion that we’ve created, and have a cathartic experience to it is such a special experience.

TB: You’ve just come off doing the Hope D earlier this year. What was one of the funniest or weirdest things that happened on that tour?

ND: We had a flight at 4.30am out of melbourne, and it was the last show of the tour so the gig turned into a bit of a party. All of a sudden it was 2.30am, so we decided not to sleep and went to the airport. We got there a little late and then had our flight changed to another terminal. We ran as fast as we could, our drummer put his details in and got let on the plane. I went 30 seconds after and was refused entrance because we were too late… we had our flight changed to 10.30pm and then were stuck with all our gear at the airport for 18 hours without sleep. It ended up being the hardest and funniest day.

TB: Let’s play a quick game of rapid first questions about the album, are you ready?

ND: Yep!! Lets go!

TB: The emoji that best describes my debut album ‘Kill The Dove’ is…

ND: Maybe the burning heart emoji.

TB: The song I’m most looking forward to performing live would be…

ND: ‘I won’t Blame You’. I’m a sucker for a big outro live.

TB: The song that nearly didn’t make the album was…

ND: ‘Broken But It’s Working’

TB: The lyric that hurts my heart to hear back is…

ND: “I can’t stop thinking of your hands, And how I’ll never feel their grip again”. 

TB: The song I’d want you to play first from the album for your friends if they’ve never heard of me would be…

ND: I think ‘Drip Dry’ sums up the vibe of our music both lyrically and sonically best.

‘Kill The Dove’ is out now

Noah Dillon Australian Tour

Friday August 12 – Freo Social Club, Fremantle

Thursday August 25 – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle

Friday August 26 – Marys Underground, Sydney

Saturday August 27- La La La’s, Wollongong

Thursday September 1 – Alt Bar Hobart

Friday September 2 – UC Hub, Canberra

Saturday September 3 – The Night Cat, Melbourne

Sunday September 4 – Barwon Club, Geelong

Friday September 8 – Beach Hotel, Byron Bay

Saturday September 10 – Crown & Anchor, Adelaide

Friday September 16 – Rosemount, Perth

Saturday September 17 – The River, Margaret River