Posted On 24 Jul 2017
Meet the LA-based Singer-Songwriter, Dylan Dunlap! He recently released his EP Feels Right At Home. In hopes to raise awareness on mental health, Dylan will be donating 100% of the proceeds from the sales of this EP, towards PSA Behavioral Health Agency in Phoenix, AZ. Their vision is to bring services to multiple communities by promoting hope, recovery, diversity, and wellness via innovative programs, affordable housing, and peer-directed treatment for children and adults with behavioral health issues.
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Learn more about Dylan Dunlap in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! How has 2017 been treating you? Musically, did you approach this year any differently then you did last year?
Hey! Thanks so much for having me. 2017 has been quite the roller coaster, but I am definitely getting closer to finding overall stability with this crazy career path. In terms of doing things differently, I guess I decided to work on appreciating the hardships more as they come my way instead of instantly becoming overwhelmed due to things not happening a certain way.
Where does this interview find you today? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it? What kind of music do you listen to when you are working? What music gets you instantly out of a bad mood?
I am sitting in my bedroom studio in Studio City. It’s 4PM and I just got back from teaching a boy (also named Dylan) some piano in North Hollywood, and now I’m taking a moment to answer these questions before I begin sending out some e-mails today! To answer your question, it really varies depending on my mood. I feel most comfortable blasting music to get me out of a funk when I’m driving, but I typically like to keep my head pretty silent and composed while I’m working in my studio and coffee shops. I will say that anytime I throw on a song by “BOY”, my day is instantly much better. They’re fantastic.
Growing up, have you always wanted to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
Music is pretty much all I’ve ever wanted to do ever since I was 6 years old. My earliest memory is probably writing the world’s worst original song for my 2nd grade talent show. It was just awful.
If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing?
Nothing. Well, maybe a film critic, but I simply love going to the movies and I don’t think I’ll ever have something bad to say about a film, so I guess I’d get fired pretty quickly. I think I’ll stick to music!
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city or town has influenced them as an artist now. So how do you think your hometown of Los Angeles has shaped who you are as a musician and the art that you create?
Oh gosh. I’ve never really thought of that. To be honest with you, Los Angeles hasn’t really influenced any of the art specifically, but it has definitely humbled me throughout the creation process. There are just so many beautiful voices to be heard and it overwhelms me because I pray that they all can be heard! The problem is that LA is one of the most unpredictable cities. You could have the most ridiculous talent in the world, but sometimes your social skills might be what ultimately holds you back, and as an introvert, I’ve certainly had a lot to learn throughout my career. All in all, I have a love/hate relationship with the city, but I have never respected and appreciated coming from (and currently living in) this place than I do right now.
Let’s talk about your recently released EP, “Feels Right At Home.” What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you about the whole process?
The EP was actually recorded multiple times. What you’re hearing is the final product which ended up taking some serious blood, sweat, and tears. It’s crazy to think that months and months of hard work turned into a mere 15 minutes of music, and we have never been more proud of something. What surprised me most was how much we implemented the “less is more” mentality, and how much that mentality shaped the record into what it is now. I have always wanted to create easy-listening music that doesn’t give people a headache to analyze, you know?
What was the inspiration for these tracks? What was it like to self-produce this collection?
So much inspired these four songs. “Feels Right at Home” was inspired by going against the stereotypes of being labeled as an introvert, “Uncharted Land” was inspired by a girl I am absolutely in love with, “Purpose” dives into the idea that it might be healthy to stop and be still for a moment in the middle of a race against time (trying to achieve fame in this industry), and I wrote “Bleed the Same” with hopes that it could bring people together to realize that kindness will forever and always be the better option. Producing this ourselves was an absolute blast.
How do you think that you have grown as an artist since your very first album called “Thoughts Become Things” was released? What has remained the same about your songwriting?
Kirk Adolph (guitar/bass/co-producer), Ben Zelico (drums/co-producer) and I really made sure we weren’t settling with anything in regards to the mixes. I think that’s something I didn’t take into account when I put out my album in 2016. I was so worried about deadlines that I convinced myself I was satisfied. The difference with this EP is that we REALLY made sure we loved what we were listening to.
How did you first get involved with the PSA Behavioral Health Agency in Phoenix, AZ? Why is this particular organization important to you right now?
It’s funny. The same week that I began to think about donating 100% of the digital purchases somewhere, they reached out to me about playing one of their upcoming events. They thought I was a local in since I was about to do a coffee shop in Chandler, but I unfortunately had to decline. It was definitely one of those God things though. After looking into what they were about, I responded with, “Sorry, BUT what do you think about this?!” and asked them if they’d be okay with me promoting them through my EP. Then I ended up visiting their location in the Spring and falling in love with how beautiful their community was. As a strong advocate for mental health, I’m more than happy to spread some awareness about what they do.
Can you talk about some of the upcoming tour dates you have this summer? (I love that you booked them yourself and then called the tour that!) What other plans do you have this summer?
Haha! Yes. I’ll be touring on the East Coast for a couple weeks this Summer and couldn’t be more excited! I don’t have much else planned, but keep your eyes peeled. October is going to be nuts.
What has been your favorite show so far? What do you think makes for an ideal performance for you?
My favorite show will have to be a tie between opening for Phil Wickham in Bakersfield last October and our most recent show at The Hotel Cafe in Hollywood. An ideal performance is every performance though. I’m so blessed to be able to do what I do for a living.
Who are some of your very favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
I know I say it time and time again in these interviews, but Coldplay has inspired me more than I can even explain! Off the top of my head, Ty Taylor (Vintage Trouble), James Bay, and the guys in Amber Run have also motivated me to perform with the utmost energy and gratitude.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
This is my message: I do not know all the answers, but I’m going to spread all the love and positivity that I physically can. What I hope people can do after they listen to my music is smile. That’s all, really.
What advice would you give to someone just getting started on this music path? Or even to someone young that is thinking of becoming a musician one day?
I will say that the whole “10,000 hours” argument is definitely valid. I sometimes hop from different coffee shops in the same day and stare at my prehistoric Macbook until my eyes feel like scrambled eggs. I send dozens and dozens of e-mails and probably get a 5% response rate. It’s just how it goes. I’m in this for the rest of my life though, and if anybody out there is thinking about pursuing music full-time, I would recommend that they work harder than they’ve ever worked in their life, and then work even harder than that, but also find a way to prioritize the time to relax and appreciate the mystery of it all.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
Other than nudging the readers to buy the EP online so that we can raise an insane amount of cash for the agency in Phoenix, I think I might have covered it all! Haha I hope you enjoyed my novel of responses and thank you so much for having me!