At 18 years old with a massive amount of talent, singer / songwriter Dylan Gardner is ready to take on the world. His self-released album Adventures In Real Time in pure pop perfection, featuring superbly infectious tunes that will dazzle the senses. At press time, Dylan just signed the dotted line with Warner Brothers Records – and now an adventure in the music industry is about to commence. A few weeks prior, we caught up with Dylan just right before a show at the Levitt Pavilion in Pasadena. Read on as we get to know this exciting new artist on the rise…
What was the name of the first song you wrote, how old were you and what was that song about?
It was called “Rock and Roll Highway” and I was 6-7 years old. It sounded very close to AC/DC’s “TNT” and that was the first song and I held onto it for a while. I never did anything with it. I actually demo’d it on the four track I had at home, but I heard my voice for the first time and I was bummed out. I didn’t really try writing songs again for a long time, until around 2010 when I was 14.
Is there any overall story or concept behind the title Adventures in Real Time?
I figured once the album was done, I listened to all the tracks that we had and I thought it sounded adventurous. My first thought was well, somehow the name “adventure” should be involved in here. I had a brainstorming session with my brother, and after an hour of coming up with all these names, we got “Adventures in Real Time” listening to the album is like an “Adventures in Real Time” – you’ve taken in ten different places with the ten different songs. So I love the title, I think it sums it up real well. It also rolls off the tongue, which always helps.
Select any two songs off “Adventures in Real Time” and what inspired the lyrics.
The most interesting story is probably “The Actor.” It’s inspired by Joaquin Phoenix when he stopped acting and grew the beard, the sunglasses and did his own thing. That was how I saw it. He was my favorite actor in the entire universe and he did that thing, I was like wow that’s an interesting story. Another song, “Sing For The Stars” is an interesting one. Those lyrics are inspired by me sitting on my bed at night, looking up at the sky and wondering where do you go from here? Where do your dreams take you? What are you going to do when you grow up? It’s a pretty big song that touches on a lot of my dreams. A lot of the songs on “Adventures in Real Time” are about dreams, the next bigger phase and wanting to get there.
What can one expect from your live show tonight?
An energetic experience. They can expect sing-alongs, some surprises, A lot of chemistry between my brother and I. Anyone who comes is not going to forget who I am and everyone is going to have left having a great time. It’s an audience participation show.
Any strange or scary stories from the road that you can share?
Nothing scary yet, but I’ve played a lot of strange shows. I’ve played the closing sale of a Circuit City way back when. I cut my teeth playing gigs at banks in Illinois. I used to play Oxford Bank. Luckily I haven’t had any scary stories yet, there’s a time and place for everything though.
If you could open for any band either now or from the past, who and why?
If I had to give one answer, it’d probably be the band Fun. They got their start, I feel, in Arizona. They were playing a lot of shows around my house for free. I’d go see them before Some Nights came out. I was obsessed with their first album. I saw and met those guys twice and the last time I met them, the second time, was the day Some Nights came out. They were having a release party at Zia Records in Phoenix. I told them, I’m having talks with labels now and you guys are such a huge inspiration on me, I can’t wait to open for you guys one day. I’ll see you guys at the Grammy’s. They were like, yeah right we’ll never get to the Grammy’s. Next thing you know, they’re the best new artist. That’d be the most sweet thing for me, to open for those guys. Especially since I’ve been very inspired by them. To be with those guys is really a dream.
Sir Paul McCartney asks you to appear on a Beatles tribute album. You can cover any one of their songs, what song?
I love performing “I Saw Her Standing There,” which I’m performing it tonight. I’d do one that Paul sang out of respect for him asking me to do it. Oh gosh. My answer changes every minute. I like “The Night Before,” let’s go with that. Maybe “Eleanor Rigby.” Let’s go with “The Night Before” – that’s a fun song…
You’ve written over 100 songs, what is the count now?
I have no idea what the count is. By the time – back when I had Rock and Roll Highway, I already had 30 songs then. I still remember how all of them went, I had a voice recorder back then so it’s all there. They were all done, then a long time passed. Then in 2010 I started writing songs again and then from there I wrote about 100 songs. Then I wrote another 30 and out of that 30, became Adventures in Real Time and with “The Actor” plucked out of that batch of 100 and I haven’t stopped since then. I couldnt give you an honest count.
How close are you to recording a new album?
I could start tonight. The second album is done being written, and it’s better than the first album in my opinion. I’m working on the third album right now. The second album is not going to come out any time soon, since the first album just came out but it exists and for anyone that cares, it’s better and I love it. I’m very proud of it. I do this all in my room, it’s fully demo’d just like my album before it. I’m able to have hindsight and listen to it – I’ve been living with it for a while and I love it.
What’s up next for you in the immediate future?
I really want to tour, that’s probably the next big thing. I want to do it all. Tour, put the album out there, meet people but as far as the one most immediate, it’s touring. I haven’t done full fledged out on the road touring and that’s what I want to do.
Do you have any messages for people reading this right now who should check your music out?
Go listen to Adventures in Real Time and let me know what you think, your opinion matters. For anyone who doesn’t listen, I’ll always try to keep giving them fun, energetic music that they’ll all love. We all want to celebrate music here, that’s the greatest thing about music. It’s the greatest thing ever invented.
(Interview and Photos by Ken Morton)
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