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A Dirty Dozen with DILLON MEALEY from WAKE THE SUN – October 2020

| 9 October 2020 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Wake The Sun has premiered the newly recorded composition “Tell Em All Again” and its accompanying video. The band chose not to sit idle while immersed in the global pandemic, opting to utilize modern technology to collaborate while social distancing. The results capture the core nuances, energy and musicianship define the band’s sound. There is a notion of vintage renaissance in the music and imagery, while also exhibiting a young artist channeling a reawakening of the soulful music that moved and shook generations historically during times of crisis. Today, the band features Dillon Mealey on vocals and rhythm guitar, Jeff Alvarado on bass, James Rubino performing lead guitar, and Andres Valbuena handling drums.  Over the course of 2020, Wake The Sun was forced to adapt and develop remotely. This track is the first of several that will be introduced this year, in to a planned full-length album release next year.” We get singer Dillon to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Our latest release, entitled “Tell Em All Again” illustrates a call to break the cycle of what society deems as normality. The notion that so many people are brought up thinking they need to get a 9-5 job to simply make money, eat, sleep, and repeat until you die. The lyrics are about discovering who you are, creating your own path, and finding your identity. Too often people get wrapped up in others opinions, media views and instant gratification through social channels. The song elucidates the importance of taking time to get away from all that and to find your own happiness. I chose to depict a character, who as the narrator has identified these sentiments and is living them, and is telling his / her friends you can do it too, if you want to. From my perspective, there’s a very real importance to sometimes get away from it all.  Simply to make time for yourself, pursue goals and dreams, and think on your own. All the lead guitars were recorded in our lead guitarist’s apartment because the pandemic didn’t allow us to finish collectively. So that of course made things a little challenging. The bridge of the song has a lot of fluid elements that we sort of compiled through a bunch of ad libs and so, there are a lot of little intricacies that you might miss the first or second listen through.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

It feels like I’ve always been into music in some capacity, even when I was really little. I love music, and was lucky enough to have parents that surrounded me with all different kinds as a kid. The first real time I knew I wanted to be a musician was after my High School talent show, I had written a song and performed for my entire school, and it was absolutely horrible. But my classmates gave my band and me a roaring ovation. And that energy I felt getting off the stage stayed with me, it was addicting.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I would say being a musician, you’re constantly developing and reinventing yourself. It’s hard to pinpoint a specific instance that I could say definitively guided my musical taste. There are definitely some live performances I’ve seen that have gassed me up and helped that fire burn a little brighter though. Performances by Marcus King, Rival Sons, and Unknown Mortal Orchestra to name a few.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

I would have to say my main 5 influences would be (in no particular order) Van Morrison, Led Zeppelin, Tracy Chapman, The Rolling Stones, and Paul Simon.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

If I could call one specific collaborator I would probably dial up Dan Auerbach. I’m all about having a good vibe during a collaboration, and he seems like he’d be incredibly easy and fun to work with. I love what he’s all about, the tonality and vision of his records and stylistically what he’s doing. And having access to some of his incredible vintage gear would be the icing on the cake.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I would describe our music as rock, or blues rock. The classic stuff that has recently been pushed to the side a bit according to many mainstream pundits. I’d compare our sound to a mix of The Spencer Davis Group, The Who and The Rolling Stones. The most cringe worthy comparison we’ve got from someone a long time ago is that we sounded like Nickleback.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

When our band gets together for a hang, usually we’ll go out to eat, we all can cook, but prefer the social aspect of getting out. Jeff, our bass player, is a master mixologist. So he usually will mix up some incredible cocktails for us to enjoy, and can usually make something out of the simplest ingredients. I would say I’m the first to break out the acoustic guitar when the mood is right.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

The last time I was starstruck was meeting Keith Buckley, the lead singer from Every Time I Die. I’m from upstate NY, and a diehard Buffalo Bills fan, and so are they, so I find myself relating a lot to those guys. Their music is far heavier than our stuff, but I love it.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best part of being a musician is playing shows for people, writing a song and then feeling that energy come back to you on stage is bar none. It’s intoxicating. Being onstage and losing yourself in the performance is really something that can’t be explained, but is better than any vice. If I couldn’t be a musician, my dream job would be a park ranger. I love adventure and the outdoors, I think that would be a nice place to be.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

One question I wish interviewers would ask… hmmm… that’s a tough one. Perhaps “What are some of the trials and tribulations of being on the road?” A lot of times people think being a musician is glamorous and all fun. But being on the road for 7 weeks at a time… you have instances where you want to sort of freak out. The van breaks down, you get lost, someone steals all of your merch in San Francisco. It can get frustrating at times. But you learn from it and you grow from it. I guess I’m sort of tired answering “What genre would you consider yourself?” because I would consider ourselves “a rock band” but far too often nowadays people want more than that. There are all these silly subgenres that I think put certain musicians in a box. I think it’s important to play the music that you love, and it’s ok if you don’t fall within the lines 100% of the time. That’s how you evolve and where great songs come from.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Missteps? We’ve certainly had our fair share. I won’t go into specific detail, but I could offer some words of wisdom. And that is, many people in this industry are not honest and/or have hidden agendas, and it is important to always be mindful that if something sounds too good to be true, it almost always is.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Oh man, if I could go back in time… I’d love to be a fly on the wall while Led Zeppelin recorded Led Zeppelin III or IV… those records are solid gold front to back. So many great tunes.

BONUS QUESTION – Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

I’ve discovered I really miss playing for people on a stage. I’ve had the opportunity to do some solo acoustic stuff recently, but it’s not the same as wailing on electric guitars and thundering drums behind you. I hope we can get back to that very soon.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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