Hello readers, me again. Here this time with a very special interview, because it features another good friend of mine Dylan David Hart. I have known Dylan for the better part of about 4 years now and I am proud to call him my friend. A year or two into our friendship, I learned that Dylan was in fact a musician. Now I ask you a question reader; What were you doing at 12? I guarantee nothing quite like Mr. Hart. After both having busy schedules, Dylan and I finally had time to chat and he agreed to let me interview him. So here it is, my interview with Dylan David Hart.
First of all for the readers who aren’t familiar with you, tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Dylan David Hart, I am 17 years old from Alberta, Canada. I’m currently working as a freelance musician, writer, and photographer. On top of that, I’m thoroughly interested in history and intend to study more on that.
When did you first take an interest in music? On top of that, who are some of your inspirations?
I first took interest in music when I was around 3 or 4. My dad plays guitar and sings and like most kids, I wanted to be like my parents. What made me start playing was when he came home when I think I was five, and he handed me a CD and said, “Here, go listen to this” and I was apprehensive because there was a naked baby on it. But, I listened to it anyway and Smells Like Teen Spirit is the lead track on Nevermind and it really put the whole thing into motion. Now I wouldn’t list Nirvana as one of my leading inspirations, but they’re certainly there. My top inspirations would probably be Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Pearl Jam, and James Brown.
You mentioned your parents there, are they big supporters of you?
Absolutely. They always have been and they still always support me. They help me out when I get down, my dad gives me musical advice all the time and my mom is always there when I need her. They are both huge supporters of my dream and they always will be. I really really appreciate that kind of support because I don’t know if I would have even gotten this far without it.
When did you first decide to record yourself? What was the process like?
Well, when I was really young, I recorded a little tape with my dad that I still have. I sound hilarious but I’ve still got it around. Then when I was like 12, I looked through my notebooks and went, “Well I should do something with all these songs” and then I did, and some days I wish I hadn’t haha. I wish I had waited until I had fully developed my voice and my writing style, but it is what it is, ya know? I treat Goodmorning & Goodnight as my first recording officially however, and that came about through a family friend by the name of Charlie Jacobson. My uncle and I went over to his studio and we recorded the whole album in about 7 hours and it was a really groovy experience. A little nerve-wracking performing songs I hadn’t performed for anyone else to my uncle and Charlie but when I got the final product back, I felt like I was on top of the world. That was such a pure moment of absolute joy.
I’m glad you mentioned that, because that’s not the only album you’ve done? What have you worked on since?
After Goodmorning & Goodnight (Which was released in 2014 I believe) I took a long while off recording. But last year, I took it upon myself to record, mix, engineer and produce my second album, Sanctuary. The final product, more on some songs than others, is what I wanted my artistic direction to go all along. Then, just last week actually, I put out my first EP titled Love Is A Fire. I named it after a Leonard Cohen poem I read a long time ago. I recorded those songs in memory of Leonard Cohen who passed away late 2016.
I do have more questions in regards to what you just said, but very quickly could you elaborate on what Leonard Cohen meant to you?
When I was in middle school, I started really paying attention to what Cohen was saying. His words were so potent and meaningful but in a simplistic and careless sort of way that it helped shape how I would write from then to now. I grew up thinking poetry was lame and that there wasn’t substance to it until in the Eighth grade I believe when I read Leonard Cohen’s Book of Longing and it changed my whole perspective. I never thought that so much meaning could be distilled to just a few words but Cohen always managed to do it. The biggest compliment I ever received was also in eighth grade when I entered a poetry writing contest where they gave you a dictionary page to pick a word from to write a poem about. I, by some miracle, got the word “saint” which was really easy to write about. Apparently the judges had deliberated afterward and said that my poem either sound like Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen and the fact anyone has said that about my writing is flooring.
Touching on what was said before, you mentioned the work that went into your second album. What behind the scenes skills do you have and what instruments can you play? Do you have a favourite instrument, a favourite brand?
Man, the amount of work that you have to put into recording, mixing, engineering, and producing is a whole lot more than I expected going into it. I thought I could just record it and it would sound fine and I could put it out. But from actually re-recording songs because the microphone was just a bit out of place, to having to slave away on particular songs because you need just the right effect going on, it was more work than I had anticipated, but after recording, mixing, and producing got done in one day, I put it out, and I felt beyond accomplished. It gave me a new perspective on what I wanted to really do with it, and gave me some experience with production which over the next little while, I intend to further. I can play guitar, bass, drums, harmonica, ukulele, piano, and a little bit of mandolin. And if I had to pick a favourite, I would have to go with Fender. I have one Fender stratocaster and it’s my favourite guitar to just jam on.
Obviously there you mentioned recording, which I imagine is a lot of singing on your own. What is it like performing live? Do you get nervous? What are the differences in feeling when live, as opposed to being alone?
Performing is always a new experience. New venues, new people, new songs, new triumphs, and new failures. I’ve never not been nervous. A few weeks ago I opened for Jesse Roads, a local celebrity, and I was absolutely terrified to go on. But I did it, and despite a few difficulties (My harmonica holder broke mid show) the show went great. I think the nervousness brings out a particular on-stage persona for me and it helps keep the show going. As long as I can pretend it’s not me up there I can do a show with next to no problems. But, when you hit a note just right and the whole crowd cheers, nothing beats it. I’ve watched a few of my performances and seen those parts of the show and it still gives me those chills up my spine. It’s beyond rewarding, whereas playing alone, I just nitpick what I’m doing until it’s perfect. But, performing is a whole new world and the more I do it, the more I love it.
What are some of your dream places to perform?
Dream places, um, the Apollo Theatre comes to mind. That’s where James Brown performed and really really lifted off his career with a risky live album. He also claimed it was the proving ground. Carnegie Hall comes to mind, many amazing artist performed there. Royal Albert Hall is probably the one I want to perform most though. Bob Dylan performed there in 1966 and the Bootleg Series album he put out for it mesmerized me. The whole tour, which is documented in D.A Pennebaker’s Dont Look Back is really surreal. But any of those places, and many more, would be a dream come true. To stand where they once stood, it would be an honour.
From dream places to perform, to another fantasy question. Who would you like to work with most if you could, living or dead?
The people I would love to work with most living, would be Five Alarm Funk and Bob Dylan. Dead however, just to play backup for Leonard Cohen was a dream of mine that I sadly never got to achieve. Maybe even playing with Bootsy Collins or Joe Bonamassa. I try to play as many styles as I possibly can just to keep my doors open. Playing bass, guitar, drums, harmonica, I don’t care. If Bootsy were to call me tomorrow, I would be there in a heartbeat. That’s always been a big part of why I play so many styles of music.
If I could, I’d like to ask about other musical ventures. Have you ever been in a band? Maybe you’ve thought of branching out into other areas of music?
I haven’t been in a band yet. I’ve received an invitation from some buddies of mine in a band called The Bandolier Brigade to come and jam and I hope to do that sooner rather than later. I did jam with a couple friends and we recorded a short tape that will probably never see the light of day, but, playing with a group and playing solo has a lot of differences. Solo, I hold sole creative control and can play what songs I want in whatever order. I’m famously indecisive among friends so when I’m performing everything get’s mixed and mangled. But in a group everything has to be to a point and in a particular order so everyone is on the same page. I would definitely like to work in a band environment but that’ll happen when it does. I’m in no real hurry to start a group. With other areas of music though, I mentioned before that I wanted to work on production and getting people recorded as well as promoting gigs/festivals. It’s all been stuff I’ve just been toying with along with starting a small label for local musicians. It all seems like a big open world for me and I intend to work in every branch that I can.
With a creative mind and a bundle of musical talent, have you considered working in theatre? It’s not unheard of for musicians to venture into that realm?
I’ve actually acted in 6 plays and directed 1. 3 of those were musicals, 2 of which I had a lead or very important role. It’s a whole other universe entirely. You’d think more of your skills would transfer from one to the other but, the added movement and precise enunciation of your words, it’s incredibly difficult. But it was always fun being on that stage. Have to say though, I will always prefer just playing music to acting, as much fun as it was, and as cool as it was to have someone have to kiss me every performance for two straight weekends, the added pressure of remembering all those lines is a bit too much most days. Who knows, maybe I will venture back to it someday, I met a lot of amazing people through it who have even helped me with just my music. It’ll always have a special place in my heart.
Some final questions now. You’re young and have a bright future ahead of you, what are some long term career goals for you? On top of that, what’s next for you now?
Long term, just to be able to live off of this. Even if I’m not rich, if I’m making enough to survive on my music and have the ability to tour and have people come out and enjoy my music, that’s enough for me. On top of that, I’ve been looking into publishing a short volume of poetry for quite some time. What’s next though, I’m totally unsure. I’m working on my third LP now, getting all the songs good to go, setting up a small studio in my house, and maybe signing onto a tour as an opening act. Maybe some sYou can follow me on Facebook, Soundcloud, Bandcamp and YouTube! It’ll all be on there and you can see what’s going on these coming months and pick up my albums digitally.mall gigs here and there. The whole thing is open and I’m excited to be a part of this growing music scene here in Alberta, and hope to be a part of the worldwide music scene sooner rather than later.
Lastly, where can we follow your career?
You can follow me on Facebook, Soundcloud, Bandcamp and YouTube! It’ll all be on there and you can see what’s going on these coming months and pick up my albums digitally.
Thank you for your time.
Thank you for having me. I really appreciate the opportunity to speak with you,
So there we have it. Unbelievable really, only 17 and wiser than anyone 3 times his age. You can find him at these links;
All pics courtesy of Dylan David Hart.