Artist of the day: Dylar
Since forming in September, Dylar has released its debut EP, opened for ’90s Shoegaze darlings The Veldt and performed at Crowbar’s popular annual hot dog-eating contest. Not too shabby for a 10-month-old.
The band — which borrows its name from Don DeLillo, whose fictional drug Dylar is the focus of his novel White Noise — plays a soundscape of reverb-soaked synth-pop. They lean heavily upon ’80s style production and the thick vastness of ’90s shoegaze. But by no means are they a ripoff of either genre. They merely use these influences as paint in their paintbox, blending sounds as a visual artist would blend colors.
Dylar consists of brother and sister Philip Pietri on guitar and vocals; and Amanda Eckes, synths and vocals; along with Amanda’s husband Jake, lead guitar; Josh Price, bass; and Loren Rackley, drums.
Dylar will return to Crowbar on Friday for the All Good Five Year Anniversary Party. Beforehand, Pietri and Amanda Eckes spoke with us about all things Dylar.
What is the artistic impetus that drives Dylar?
Pietri: We all have this kind of weird love of ’80s New Romantic music, but everyone’s kind of doing that sort of thing right now, so we took a little bit of a rock/shoegaze twist to New Romantic.
Eckes: We both like that nostalgic ’80s sound.
For those who may be unfamiliar, could you describe the genres of shoegaze, and New Romantic, please?
Pietri: New Romantic is kind of the sappier side of ’80s New Wave music; think Prefab Sprout, Tears For Fears. Shoegaze had more of a heavy, girthy sound; again, you can easily namedrop the big ones: My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive. … The Cure’s Disintegration album had pretty big influence on the direction that we took our music.
Is Dylar a democracy or dictatorship?
Pietri: A little bit of both (laughs). I write a lot of the music, so I kind of have a vision, so I kind of steer the influence a little bit. When we’re playing, (I’ll say) think this way, or think that way, and let’s see what you come up with. So, it’s not a brutal dictatorship. Amanda writes some of them too.
Eckes: Once all of the elements come together, because of all our different musical backgrounds, we have an idea — well, mostly him, he has an idea of what it’s gonna sound like, but it takes on a very different shape.
Peitri: Which is okay, because sometimes the outcome might be a little bit different from what I initially had envisioned, but it has its own unique sound because it’s a blend of different ideas.
What is unique about Dylar, as opposed to throwback bands that don’t augment genre specific music and stay true to (copy) the form?
Pietri: Personally, we’re not afraid to give it a conventional pop twist, whereas some of the bands that fall into those categories are VERY dramatic. We’re not afraid to make a little more accessible. I don’t think there are many people doing this in Tampa right now; not that it’s anything special.
Eckes: I think it’s a genre that hasn’t been touched for a while, locally. Either people know that kind of music from the past, and it’s coming back with us, or it’s people that are being introduced to this type of music.
It would be safe to say you take your music seriously without taking yourselves too seriously?
Pietri: That’s a fair statement.