Ahead of his new single, Dylan Dunlap speaks about how “Follow My Echo” came to be
Coldplay, Finding Nemo, Film scores. While seemingly unrelated, Dylan Dunlap believes each was crucial to his career as an artist. Going from busking on the corners of Burbank to playing alongside OneRepublic, Dunlap has been carving a rather unique path for himself as an artist. Following a slew of singles released throughout 2020, Dunlap’s new track, titled “Follow My Echo,” is a stirring track growing and receding within itself creating a lush and immersive sound ultimately topped by Dunlap’s cutting, adolescence-fueled lyrics.
Dunlap spoke to COLLiDE leading up to this release.
“Follow My Echo” was inspired by “Finding Nemo,” which was released in 2004. What did you initially love about this film, and what about it still inspires you years later?
“Finding Nemo” was one of the first scores that I noticed as a kid. I often had difficulty absorbing dialogue and understanding what was happening on the big screen in general, so movie scores (specifically Thomas Newmans’) brought a lot of comfort. And we all know Pixar movies are really for adults, so re-watching this one throughout my adolescence has provided me with so much more insight.
Have movies inspired any of your past projects?
This is the first! It’s inspiring me to dive even deeper into my love for cinema and write about it more.
The track is lyrically and sonically reminiscent of the ocean. What choices did you make during production to capture that vibe?
One of my favorite things to do is to produce a fully polished indie/folk apartment demo for Ben (my drummer/producer/mixer/unrelated brother) and then give him complete freedom to build the song out however he wants. I feel like he had a lot of fun exploring different sounds and messing with my vocals more than usual to create its immersive environment. Since recent releases of mine have dynamically built up to these massive stadium-sounding final choruses, we thought it’d be fun to switch things up and keep FME slightly more tamed.
Film and music are both popular creative platforms. What do you like about each, and do you find any similarities between the two?
I love that both platforms lean on each other for support. A beautiful score complements its film, while a captivating music video helps provide a visual representation for its song.
Where did your love of movies begin? Are there any films from growing up that stuck with you?
My dad took me to the movies every weekend, that he had custody of me. He and I never really communicated too well with each other, so it was our opportunity to be still and appreciate a different kind of art together. He and I would even place bets on who we thought scored whatever we were watching and celebrated like it was New Year’s Eve when either one of us got it right. It’s more the movie-going experience that has stuck with me to this day than the films themselves!
It’s a nightmare question for a film buff, but what is your favorite movie and why?
I feel like if there’s a film I love most, there has to be a film I hate most. Piggybacking off that last answer, I am at my happiest in a theater regardless of what I’m watching. Haha, I could never make a list of favorites even if I tried (although I do distinctly remember walking out of “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”). Still, I WILL say that “The Trial of the Chicago 7”, “Sound of Metal,” and “Tenet” were the top 3 of 2020 for me.
What kind of music were you listening to growing up? Did it influence your style in any way?
The one band that I’ve looked up to my entire life has been Coldplay. I know I’m a solo artist, but I thoroughly enjoy treating my team like we’re one big band and can’t express enough how thankful I am for those guys instilling that mentality in me. (If anyone wants to be immediately inspired, check out A Head Full of Dreams on Prime Video)
Your music deals with some heavy subject matter, touching on subjects like toxic masculinity, grief and mental health issues. What was the most difficult track to write or record for the EP?
Writing and recording music with heavy subject matter used to be difficult for me, but now I fully embrace it. I have absolutely no issue hopping on a Zoom session with a stranger (lol #2020) and immediately pouring my heart out. I feel like we have nothing to lose and everything to gain when practicing vulnerability. Looking back on the narratives in this EP, I’ve realized that a lot of my struggles have stemmed from the lack of closure in my life, and that’s okay. I’m not always going to fully understand why certain people walked out of my life or even why my brain operates the way it does. I’m just thankful to tell my stories of perseverance in hopes that they encourage others to tell their own.
How important is it for you to create a dialogue about those subjects and discuss them openly?
It’s the most important privilege and responsibility as an artist.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us! Is there anything you’d like to add?
Thanks for having me! I hope everyone enjoys the new single and stay tuned for more.
“Follow My Echo” releases Friday, January 22nd on all streaming platforms.