Interview: Life of Dillon
Fri, 30 Jan 2015 10:12:46
Life of Dillon bring a whole new energy to electronic music. The three-piece—David Keiffer, Joe Griffith, and Robert Griffith—infuse acoustic guitars and an organic spark into delightfully danceable grooves on their new single “Overload.” It’s undeniably unshakable, and it serious has all of the hallmarks of a huge crossover smash. They’ve concocted a fascinating sonic amalgam. Moreover, you need to start listening to them now!
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Life of Dillon talk “Overload” and so much more.
What's the story behind "Overload"? How did the song come together and what does it mean to you?
We’d been working hard for a long time with little to no payoff, and if things didn’t pick up for us, we would have had to pursue careers other than music to make a living. Joe had already enlisted in an accounting course and we all had deadlines to make money or we were going to get kicked out of where were living together. It’s that pressure that led us to make things happen out of necessity, we needed it more than the air we breathe, and this is where the concept for the song came from. Daily routines can consume people, and it’s about breaking the cycle, when you’re at that tipping point in your life where you can’t take anymore.
It's very visual. Is it important for you to paint pictures and tell stories with the songs?
Absolutely, we don’t just want people to hear our songs, we want them to see what we see in our minds. Words can be very powerful if you use them in the right way.
What artists shaped you? Who have you listened to since childhood?
We all have very different tastes in music so we thought it would be easier to answer individually.
David: As a kid, I used to listen to a lot of punk/rock music, like Sum 41, Green Day, blink-182 and was in a punk band for a number of years as a drummer. My father had a very eclectic taste in music, from AC/DC to Ravi Shankar, so I was influenced by a lot of his taste—generally along the more guitar and banjo side of things. My father used to make musical instruments, so I had access to a range of instruments from a young age, though I tended to stick around the guitar. John Mayer was someone that I used to listen to a lot. His playing was, and still is exceptional. I really love his songwriting. I would also listen to Bela Fleck for his crazy banjo runs and melodies.
Joe: When we were kids, we grew up on my mom’s music, so there was a lot of Motown, Michael Jackson, Gladys Knight, etc. and the likes of Fela Kuti... But the styles of music that I listened to changed as I went from Brazil to England to Nigeria and back again. Whilst living in Nigeria, everyone at that time listened predominantly to hip-hop and R&B music. So there, I listened to the usual suspects like 50 Cent or Lauryn Hill, but I’ve been into everything from grime to house music to Afrobeat. My biggest influence of all time if I had to name one would be Michael Jackson, but when I started making music more I began to listen to what others were doing less in order to find my own identity.
Robert: We have so much music that you could literally leave our iTunes playing and to listen from beginning to end would take roughly six days! I started producing at an early age after listening to a lot of Timbaland, R. Kelly, Nas etc... But as time went on and sounds evolved I started listening to the likes of Benga and Skrillex. Our influences are pretty eclectic to say the least.
What else tends to inspire you outside of music? Movies? Books?
Outside of music there are no limits to what inspires us and that’s because art imitates life. Our real life experiences are what generally feed our lyrical content and our melodies we sort of just pluck from thin air. It comes to you when you’ve grown up around music.
If your album or EP were a movie or a combination of movies what would it be?
Hook, The Pursuit of Happyness, and The Hangover!
What's your vision for Life of Dillon's sound?
We would like to think that our sound has no boundaries. We’re not trying to box ourselves into a specific genre or sound. We like the freedom to experiment with new sounds bringing a different flavor to every song. We’re fans of all types of music. For us, it’s about the lyrics, melodies and just having fun with it.
What does the group name mean?
The group name actually came about when we were on a trip to Brazil last year, and we met this guy Dillon. He told us crazy stories about his life—places he’d been, people he’d met and how he’d been traveling the globe for the last four years with no home, no destination just this free-spirited, enjoy-every-waking-moment frame of mind. He inspired us to make a change in our lives and focus on making music that really embodied the same care-free, positive attitude towards life. The name of our group is directly related to the songs we sing, some being about Dillon and some incorporating our own experiences into the mix. All artists are storytellers to some degree, and “Life of Dillon” is our book.
What's next for you?
We want to continue sharing our music, living like Dillon, and writing more songs. Hopefully we get the chance to see a bit more of the world as there are so many places we’d love to visit. We also love to collaborate with other artists, especially when you find someone you really connect with. That’s what makes for the best songs. So hopefully we get a chance to do that too.
Have you heard Life of Dillon?
See our review of “Overload” here!