THEAUSSIEWORD.COM special interview with Dylan Hartigan.
How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?
- Well it all began in my basement. My dad had an old shitty acoustic he played when I was a kid and one day I blew the dust off of it and started playing. Since that day it’s really all I’ve ever been able to think about. I grew up in the epitome of a New Jersey working class family but when my dad would come home late from work he would play his acoustic to calm down. It faded through the years but when I got older I remembered how he used to play behind closed doors and I wanted to try it. Now it’s how I calm down.
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?
- What motivates me is the way I feel when I hear a beautiful song. It’s so easy to forget that we do this because we love it, not because we want a ton of money or to be “cool” whatever that means. When I hear a truly beautiful song, both lyrically and sonically, I remember that we are all just translators. We are here to help whatever those spirits and energies around us are trying to say. I find that to be so relieving because now I don’t need to worry about myself. It pushes me to just keep being open and kind and caring and let these waves of sound flow through me like water. It’s a subtle but effective form of dissociation.
What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?
- Well a tangible goal is selling out red rocks. Honestly just playing to a sold out show at red rocks is my goal. I’ve told myself once I get there, it would be okay to stop. There is something about that place, something so special and ethereal.
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?
- Well I’m actually coming to the end of a tour with the wonderful Maggie Rose. So for me these next coming months are hunkering down on my writing. I have family out on Astypalaia in Greece so I’m going to go out there for a few months and work on fishing charters and write. Hoping to come out of there with a book and an album. If nothing, I’m going to be getting drunk with old greek men and listening to sea shanties and stories. A dream.
Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?
- I just released my debut album “The Way My Bones Creak” and its full spectrum. The goal behind this album was to touch every possible alley that the artist “Dylan Hartigan” could go down. I feel like most people figure out their genre prior to creating their first album (duh) but I wanted to show everyone the process. It’s pop, funk, rock, acoustic, folk i mean really all of it. I think after the process and where my heart is resonating I’m going to lean pretty heavy into the folkier singer songwriter stuff.
Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?
- Well well well. Everything gets me writing. I’m constantly writing whether it be songs, poems, novels, screenplays. I grew up with stories and they’re my favorite thing in the world. I have a strange yet necessary desire to escape my own existence and live even for a moment in a fictional place. I escape to wherever I am writing and it gives meaning to my life. I think that’s what it is for fans and that’s certainly what it is for me.
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?
- I write a lot of environmental pieces. I’ve been advocating environmental sustainability for a while now and I think it’s very important. There is very little literal to metaphorical interpretation for my songs. They pretty much speak exactly what they’re supposed to. For example, “My Island” is a song about a woman shipwrecked washing upon the shore of an island (My Island). In order for her survival she needs to make it a home, uninvited by me and the woman who has my heart. There is stolen love, and a warning and the lyrics are dense and meaningful but it’s pretty easily interpreted when you have them in front of you. Same goes for the majority of the songs on this album.
Success, what is the secret to it?
- If I knew, I would certainly tell you LOL. if you happen upon anybody who actually knows the answer to this please give them my number!
What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
- I would say my career highlight was my album release show. I have been on much bigger stages, in front of many more people but this show was a culmination of a lot of loved ones’ hard work and care for the songs I have written. It also put an end to 2 years of waiting for the pandemic to end. It honestly, as days go on, feels like 100lb weights are just falling off of my shoulders.
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
- Gregory Alan Isakov, Taylor Swift, Ruston Kelly. All in their own ways. Gregory has always been a huge inspiration to me because he’s been a horticulturist his whole music career and prior. I actually took a horticulture class in highschool because of him. His connection with the earth is pretty magnificent. If I built a career identical to his I would be a very happy man.
Are there any new projects in the pipeline?
- I may have a couple albums up my sleeve. Like I said, all I ever do is write. I have a TON of songs i’ve just been sitting on especially since this last year i haven’t been able to do anything anyway. So, Yes. and Hopefully some really cool collabs cause that’s my favorite thing about music.
The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself a few years?
- I see myself being able to see the world because of my music. I think it has the ability to resonate all over and I am such a gypsy kid that I don’t really need to make a home anywhere. I want to play for anyone and everyone who wants to hear.
What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?
- My least favorite thing is that this is a “line of Work”. Too many people get lost in this maze and I’m guilty of it too. It chews you up and since music is heavily dependent on you KNOWING who you are most people get fucked. Nobody knows who they are, that’s literally the whole point of living, so you can continue to build upon who you are. I exist in an industry that essentially says, “hey stop your growth and give me whatever you’ve got now”. It’s sad. The best thing is that you can middle finger all that shit and still succeed. I’m never gonna stop growing, I’m never gonna stop learning and I’m never gonna stop creating. If you take that mindset then you will literally never fail. IT’S IMPOSSIBLE!!
Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.
Tash Sultana, Matt Corby, Sticky Fingers and cody simpson are all artists I’ve been listening to for years. Then you have the legends Tame and AC/DC
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media. How do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
- There is a lot more music. With that comes pros and cons. Pros is that there is a LOT more good music. Cons is that there is a LOT LOT more bad music. It’s also way harder to find any music nowadays. You can’t just roll up to the record shop and see what is popping right now. Streaming has taken a lot of money out of the pockets of the artist and put it into the pockets of the already rich big business fuckers. Not stoked on what’s going on in the industry but at the end of the day good music always prevails and I’m not worried about changes.
How will you continue appealing to the international market?
- You tell me?! You want me to come play a show out there? I’ll get on a plane right now with nothing but underwear and a guitar. No jokes.
Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?
- Well, Gregory is on my wish list. But I’ve got a team of people here in Nashville who are working on attainable goals right now until we reach that level. A couple incredible writers based out of here are Ruston Kelly, Jack Newsome. I would love to write with Lizzy Mcalpine, pinegrove honestly everyone I like I wanna write with just to have a beer.
What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?
- Don’t. I know I say a lot of shit but you’ve gotta blaze your own path. Also don’t be stupid like me and neglect popular music simply because its “Popular”. It is popular for a reason so see it, understand it and learn from it. You don’t have to like it but you should always understand it. If you want to be in this as a “business” you’ve gotta see that stuff for what it is.
A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?
- I am all over instagram. Just message me and I’ll hit you back @goesbydylan. Most of my fans know this by now since we have late night depression talks.
Any last words?
- Yea go outside today and take a walk. Even if it’s just for a cigarette, breathe a little fresh air and know that the planet’s gotchu. Thanks for the love Brian and aussie.