Life Of Dillon Talk Debut Single “Overload,” Meghan Trainor & Their Debut EP ‘Prologue’: Idolator Interview
Life Of Dillon’s debut single “Overload” is shaping up to be a summer smash. The breezy, folk-tinged electro-anthem is finding a lot of love on pop radio and has already racked up half a million streams on YouTube. That number will increase exponentially when the UK trio (comprised of David Keiffer and brothers Joe and Robert Griffith) joins Meghan Trainor’s The MTRAIN Tour in July.
I recently caught up with the band in their rehearsal space in Culver City, Los Angeles and asked them about making the leap from songwriters and producers to pop stars. Life Of Dillon also explained the meaning behind their breakthrough hit and dropped a couple of hints about what we can expect from their debut EP Prologue. Another top of conversation was their varied influences and excitement at touring with Meghan. Find out more below.
There isn’t a lot of information about you online. Why the mystery?
David: You always try to do something different at the beginning. We wanted people to attach themselves with the music before they saw who was behind it. Then you get to a point where you think, oh crap, maybe people want to see a face or something.
How did you make the leap from unsigned band to a priority for a major label so quick?
Joe: It happened quickly and at the same time it didn’t. We spent a lot of time making music, trying to write for other people, some of it being successful, some of it not being successful. You begin to wonder is this really what I’m meant to do? Is this what I want to do? It’s like what they say. It takes ten years to make an overnight success.
I’ve known David for about eight years and we’ve been making music all our lives. All of us have and it’s only six months ago that we actually reached a point where everything just turned around and now it’s running away with us. We actually found the label. We were looking for management at the time and we were just reaching out to everybody that we could through the internet.
You said you write for other people. Anyone we would know?
Joe: Me and David were writing a lot and pitching a lot to the Asian market. A lot of the artists, to be honest. I don’t even know who they are. They send you the briefs and you’d look them up on YouTube and they’re doing pretty well. David actually got a cut out there with this band called Arashi. They’re the biggest thing out there.
Robert: I was working with my brother, my other brother. He had himself a deal with Mercury in the UK and we were working on his album. In the end things didn’t go so well but off the back of that I managed to get a publishing deal and also had a track with Cheryl Cole a few years ago. That’s how it all started for us, getting our toes into the music industry.
Which one was that?
Robert: It was called “One Thousand” it was on her A Million Lights album.
Was it your intention to sidestep the UK a little bit and get the ball rolling in America?
David: Not really, it just happened that way. We would have loved things to blow up in the UK. I guess people in America, the managers we were reaching out to, were a lot more receptive. I think our music has a folk-y kind of element to it as well which isn’t so well received in the UK. Things are changing. There are people like George Ezra are coming through.
Do you think having success in America will help you in the UK?
David: I think the plan is to try and get them growing at the same time. If we put stuff up on the internet it’s available everywhere. It’s not just in America. I think our plan is to try and help things move both sides of the UK and the US.
“Overload” is such a catchy song. Did you know when you wrote it that it was going to be a hit?
Joe: No. We had no idea. We were just making songs every day, having fun with it and it definitely wasn’t by any means a song that we thought was going to be the single. When we actually did meet the label, they were focused on other songs. We come from a writing background. We had done so many different styles.
Are you shocked by how well it has been received by pop radio?
Robert: We never hear it, man.
You’re listening to the wrong stations.
Joe: All I hear on the radio is “Uptown Funk”!
What’s the message behind the song?
Joe: We left it quite open to interpretation, but we were writing from the perspective of someone looking at themselves and pepping themselves up to say… they reach a point where they want to do something else. Just to explain that a bit further, a lot of us get caught up in doing the same old thing every day. You wake up, you pour the coffee, you know what I’m talking about.
You just fall into this routine of doing what you have to do to pay your bills and that sort of thing and we were in a similar situation at one point and when we decided to actually just take the chance and do what we wanted to do with our lives, that was the point at which as we say in the song we start overloading. That’s basically what the song is about, just that transition.
David: It’s the tipping point.
Is “Overload” indicative of the EP?
David: I would take away the organic sound. There’s some [tracks] that are a bit more maybe R&B influenced and some of it’s got a bit more of a country thing and one that’s a bit more, there’s no guitar, well there’s less guitar and it’s more piano based.
Joe: Because we’ve been making music for so long and we can make them pretty quickly, it would be extremely boring to do the same thing over and over again. So we’re definitely trying to push the boundaries and experiment and do something different which I think is why people are responding to “Overload” because it doesn’t really sound like anything else out there at the moment.
Do you write and produce everything yourselves or are you working with any other people?
Joe: We do everything in house.
Robert: Yeah, we do everything apart from mixing and mastering. We’ll start writing a song, put the drums to it, we’ll produce it, mix it a little bit and then send it off to be polished up a bit.
David: We’ll give them a reference mix.
Which artists are you listening to at the moment?
David: I guess Sam Smith. His vocals.
Joe: I think my favorite artist right now is Drake. I love what he’s doing. It’s just his own thing. I think what he does is pretty cool.
Robert: Personally I would listen to a lot of electronic music. Oh and Hozier. I actually can’t stop listening to his album.
You’re going on tour with Meghan Trainor, which is a really big deal over here. Are you fans?
David: I think she’s great. I think if she keeps churning up songs like she’s been, I think she’s going to do great. I like that first song. You always wonder if she’s going to be a one-hit wonder. She keeps delivering songs. She’s a writer herself, so we hear.
Is there a little bit of apprehension or excitement about what her fan base will make of you?
Joe: I personally don’t think too much about that. I think we’re just going to go out there and smash it.
David: A ton of people to hear our music and that’s the most important thing for us regardless of whether they’re twelve or sixteen.
Joe: We’re recording this interview here in our rehearsal space and that’s where our focus is going into because that’s what matters. Once you’re on the stage I think you just have to feel it and gauge the crowd and enjoy it more than anything. Just enjoy it and that’ll come across.
Have you done a lot of live shows?
David: We’re pretty brand new to this.
Joe: We only really became a band six months ago and everyone’s now calling us a band but really we’re studio guys. We come from more of a production team sort of outlook on things. We haven’t done too much performing. Maybe about four performances together.
David: I think we’ll be fine. Joe’s done a lot of performing before. I’ve done some stuff with our older brother. Rob’s pretty fresh to it.
Robert: We’ll be fine.
Watch Life Of Dillon’s “Overload” video below:
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