Q&A with “Acoustic House” Trio – LIFE OF DILLON
Posted On 20 Jul 2015
Tag: acoustic, acoustic house music, Adam Alpert, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, allaccessmusicnicole, ATV, Band, BUKU Fest, Charlie Puth, Common Ground Music Festival, Disruptor Records, Doug Morris, England, Epic, Epic Records, Festival, Fox, Fox 2, house, house music, Interview, Lansing, Life Of Dillon, London, Marty Bandier, Meghan Trainor, Mercury Records, Michigan, MTrain Tour, Music, Music Festival, music interview, Musician, Sandwich, Sony, Sony Music Entertainment, Sony Records, Sony/ATV, The Nine, U.K., United Kingdom, United States, US
Self-termed “acoustic house” trio Life of Dillon consist of David Keiffer and brothers Joe and Robert Griffith. The group formed in late 2014, though Keiffer and Joe Griffith had known one another for years. As told by their press biography, Life of Dillon took their name from a surfing Nepalese wanderer they encountered while visiting Brazil, the Griffith brothers’ birthplace. The trip as a whole informed their first recordings, conceived upon a return to their native London, England. The trio’s debut release, the anthemic single “Overload,” fused not only folk and house but also pop. It was released in early 2015 on Disruptor, a division of major label Epic.
All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa had a chance to catch up with the band between gigs on their current tour. Read more in their interview below!
Hey there! How are you guys today? What’s on the agenda today besides our interview?
Hello! Fantastic thank you for asking! We just played out first show last night on the MTrainTour to an incredible crowd in Lansing, MI at the Common Ground Music Festival and we’re currently on the tour bus headed towards Detroit. We have our first ever television performance/interview on Fox 2 “The Nine” tomorrow morning so we’re just prepping for that.
For those that are not familiar with you and your music, how did you get your start? Who or what was the catalyst for you to want to live the life of a musical gypsy?
David: Haha musical gypsy! Well we all have very musical backgrounds and families which obviously played a big part in our love for music. We started out in the South East of England in a town called ‘Sandwich’, yup ‘Sandwich’, 8 years ago, where I met Joseph at boarding school, and from day 1 our friendship was based on songwriting. That summer he introduced me to his older brother Robert, who was into the more technical production side of songwriting. It was perfect, I played some instruments, Joseph sung and Rob produced. We’ve literally been making music ever since, after class, weekends, holidays, wherever we could. Our main focus was primarily songwriting and producing for other artists, as this seemed like a more achievable goal, we’d obviously dreamed of being artists ourselves and singing our own songs, but it seemed so unattainable.
Being a songwriter and producing other artists must have opened up some doors though, no?
Robert got a publishing deal with Sony/ATV in the UK about 4 years ago after producing a lot of their older brother L Marshall’s songs, who was signed to Universals Mercury Records in the UK. From the sidelines we’d kind of had a taste of what it was like to live the life of an artist, by no means did it look easy. What it did was an provide us with understanding of what was expected.
So did you guys basically live, eat and breathe recording after that?
After graduating University 3 years ago Joseph, Robert and I moved in together and made music practically every day. We totally boxed ourselves in from the outside world, writing song after song and never actually putting any music out for anyone to hear for fear of songs being ripped off or stolen without the right team/protection around us.
A year ago, this summer, we reached a crossroads where we had to either get jobs and make some money, or get out of our house and disband. That added pressure made us lose the fear of making music available online and reach out to hundreds of people within the industry via email to show them what we had.
How was the feedback you received at that point?
Fortunately for us we had a LOT of music and we received some amazing responses. One of which coming from Adam Alpert, who just so happened to have signed a joint venture with Doug Morris at Sony Music Entertainment called ‘Disruptor Records’, which Robert, Joseph and myself signed a record deal with as ‘Life Of Dillon’ 3 months later. 10 days after signing our deal with Disruptor we flew to NY and met with Doug Morris, who introduced us to LA Reid who instantly fell in love with all the music and with no more than a handshake we were co-signed to Epic Records. Two months later we brought Turn First management into the family and ever since it’s been non-stop travelling, promoting our music and touring with well-known artist Meghan Trainor and Charlie Puth across the US.
That’s so exciting! Congratulations guys! This has really been quite an eventful year for the band with lots more on the way.
Adam Alpert also signed a joint venture with Marty Bandier at Sony/ATV last year, which Joseph and I just signed to in the United States 2 weeks ago. It really has been an eventful year, but the work is only just beginning, we have so much more we want to achieve and we now have a world class team to make everything possible and live the lives we’ve always dreamed of.
How would you describe your sound to those not as familiar with you?
Robert: We like to call it ‘Acoustic House’. Sort of energetic, rhythmic, acoustic tones mixed with high quality beats and production. It’s a blend of all three of our influences. Some songs have a more acoustic, chilled-out vibe like ‘Bluebirds’, some a more EDM, energetic vibe like our new single ‘Dreams’ and some caught in between like ‘Overload’, but all with the intention of making music that makes you feel good.
Where did the bands name come from? It’s a pretty interesting story….
Joseph: Last year we went to Fortaleza, Brazil, where our mum lives and where Robert and I were born. We had been working on music all day every day for some years and needed to get away from it all so we took a short trip to Fortaleza to be with some family and chill out. While we were there we met this guy, Dillon, who’s lifestyle was very free-spirited and care-free.
It was really quite inspiring to meet someone who didn’t share the same concerns as most of us, like how am I going to pay my rent, or how can I get a raise, or what time do I have to be up tomorrow morning for work. This guy just took each day as it came and it’s like the saying: ‘Living the life of Riley’, except his name was Dillon. At the time when we were coming up with a name, we wanted to put music on YouTube but weren’t trying to idolize ourselves in any kind of way. We just wanted the music to be anonymous and speak for itself, so we chose a name that fit our sound and had a message behind it.
Who have been your inspirations growing up that also inspire you today?
David: I grew up on mainly rock and country, from ACDC to Dave Matthews Band and listening to musicians like Eric Johnson, Bela Fleck, Paul Simon, and John Mayer.
Joseph: Growing I listened to so much music you could literally leave our iTunes on for 6 days without it ending. My biggest influence growing up was definitely Michael Jackson, he was a great artist but I listened to everybody from Lauryn Hill to Mavado to Alicia Keys to Eminem. The list would be endless but those are a few to mention.
Robert: As a child I listened to many different genres and artists, from Gladys Knight to Deadmau5 to System of a Down. As a producer I was heavily influenced by some of the great EDM, Dubstep and HipHop producers such as Swedish House Mafia, Skrillex and Timbaland. I would analyze the beats trying to figure out the secrets to their success, listening to all the little details that made their songs and beats so amazing. These are just some of the people I admire and look up to, but again, the list could go on forever.
You guys are originally from London. Is that still considered home for you? How do you thinking growing up there has influenced you?
Joseph: Myself and Robert were actually born in Brazil and spent a lot of our childhood between a town in Brazil, Nigeria and England. So in a way we have more than one home, especially when it comes to Nigeria as we have lots of family there and I certainly have many friends from back in the day over there. So although I have lived most of my life in London, I definitely love going back to Brazil and Nigeria and consider all of these places to be a home to some degree. Travelling that much, you can end up feeling like you are from all these places and nowhere at the same time.
I met David in the South of England by the coast where he grew up and roughly 4 years ago we all moved in together in London. It’s a very cosmopolitan city, you’ll find people from all over the world there, so you can go from a Dubstep rave in South London to dancehall music at Notting Hill carnival, to a chilled pub in Shoreditch playing acoustic music. There really is something for everyone living there. This is probably one of the main reasons we have such a broad musical palette and are willing to experiment and blend these different styles.
David: To be honest, right now we’re not entirely sure where home is. There will always be homes for us in London and in Kent, but right now home seems to be wherever we’re laying our heads. I think in the long run we would love to be living out here in the states. NY and LA are extremely appealing to us. Hawaii’s also crossed our mind a few times haha.
What was the inspiration for your new anthemic single, “Overload”?
David: It sort of ties in with where we were at a year ago, at that crossroads back in England where we had to either step up our game or quit what we were doing and look for another way to make a living. The verses highlight that rising tension at which you can feel something big about to happen, but you have no idea what it is. It’s that overloading feeling we were getting when we decided that we needed to make a change in our lives. The actual production was laid down relatively quickly, layering guitars, ukuleles, banjos and steel drums that give it this island-folk vibe.
What was the first album that you purchased for yourself?
David – Blink182: Untitled
Joseph – Usher: 8701
Rob – Wyclef Jean: The Ecleftic
Who is in your current playlist? What artists or bands are in current rotation for you?
Robert: We all really loving the new Weekend track ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ and Felix Jaehn’s remix of Omi’s ‘Cheerleader’ has been on repeat for some time! We’ve actually created a playlist for some songs that we’ve been listening too recently in Spotify, feel free to check that out HERE .
What’s on tap next for you guys? What are you most excited about for this year?
Joseph: It’s so hard to tell. A year ago we would have never guessed where we would have been today. And now things are getting so busy it’s hard to keep up with our ever changing schedule. However this weekend we are shooting the video for our new single ‘Dreams’ in Atlanta. The director, Andrew Donoho is so talented and has done some great work and we can’t wait to bring our vision to life for the video and share that with everyone out there so definitely keep an eye out for it. Besides that, obviously this tour is an amazing experience. We literally wake up in a new city every other day and will meet and play for thousands of people.
Opening up for Meghan Trainor on the MTrainTour this summer is going to be EVERYTHING.
To learn more about LIFE OF DILLON , visit their website HERE .