Interview with Dillon Ryan & The Dream Romantic
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I got heavily into Music when I was about three years old. My father had a lot of different Neil Young & Crazy Horse cassettes in his truck that we would listen to. Without knowing it at the time. It’s easy to say that it was an instant obsession. I would say that’s the catalyst for love of music. It’s really hard for me to imagine what I would be doing today if I wasn’t involved in Music because it’s always been the goal to do music as far back as I can remember. Weather that means performing, producing, writing music or teaching music. I’ve always wanted to just live under this broad spectrum of working in Music.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
In the last few years (Since the pandemic) I’ve taken a real passion in Cooking and learning about different cuisine (100% as a hobby. 0 career ambition). Just something that I find fascinating. There’s such an artistry built in how different dishes are created and presented. I really respect the “do’s” and “dont’s” of different cultures food. A lot of which is built on limitations with ingredients. Embracing the idea of less is more. I think you can make the analogy in music that having too many different instruments or tools to work with can be somewhat of real hindrance to the Production process.
How long have you been making music?
I’ve been making music in different bands since about 2007-2008. So I’m about 15 years in at this point. I’ve been doing my own solo project or the past 10 years. I’m a musician that is very open to collaborations with other artists as well. I find that process very rewarding. Especially when I get to work with someone who is doing wildly different stuff than what I would do on my own. It makes me have better ideas going forward with my own Music.
Where are you based and how did that influence your music?
The band is based out of “Moncton, New Brunswick” currently. However, I grew up in a small city in New Brunswick called “Miramichi”. There’s about 20,000 people here. I definitely feel that has had an impact on my music in that sense that some of the limitations of being in a small town actually grew to
help me. It was easier to constantly be in a rotation of musicians that were getting shows within the city because there were less people competing to get gigs. If you were in a bigger city center like Toronto or Vancouver. You might have more options and resources of places to play but you have to realize that you one of thousands of musicians within that area looking for gigs. So I’m very fortunate to Miramichi to have been able to cut my teeth playing anywhere from 5-10 bar/pub gigs a month for several years doing 4 sets a night. It really helped myself become a better singer/guitarist & performer. I was able to work at the “10,000 hours to be good at something” notion without really having to leave town all that often!
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
I’ve lost track but I think I’ve played live over 500 times in the past decade or so. Memorable shows happen so frequently it’s hard to really pinpoint a few in particular . I think It’s easy to want to automatically go to some of the bigger shows, showcases or festivals an artist has played in their career and assume that was the height of enjoyment for the artist. Honestly though…..It tends to be smaller shows. A lot of times in small remote towns. Often times it’s a memory about the show that actually has nothing to do with the performance itself. Some of my favorite shows are because of interesting people that I’ve met and talked to afterwards.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I have many! The Oak-Tree Pub in Perth-Andover, New Brunswick is always a favorite to play. Just amazing/fun people to perform to. The Red Herring Pub in Saint Andrews, The Tipsy Muse in Fredericton, Tide & Boar in Moncton and New Maritime Brewery in Miramichi. That’s just a few. When I released my last record I did 5 release shows at all wildly different venues. I did a release show at a Theatre, A record store, A restaurant, a pub and a coffee shop. It really made for an interesting contrast from night to night.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Tough question! Out of bands that are still active. I think I would go with (My band, then Echo & The Bunnymen, Johnny Marr & The Cure would headline). That’s wishful thinking :)
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
I think the best advice I can give and have given is that you have to be ok with the fact that there will massive ups and downs to a career in music. The Ebb and Flow of being a musician is always going to be there. Sometimes things will be going extremely well for you and sometimes they won’t. Take both with a grain of salt and just keep working hard towards creating and performing music that you feel passionate about.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
“The Winter Of You” is a song that comes to mind. It’s one of my most personal songs. I’ve struggled with seasonal depression most of my life. It was very cathartic to put pen to paper towards with that idea in mind. I wrote the song a couple winters ago in a hotel room. I was isolating during covid. I sat there on the bed with my guitar staring out the window at the snow coming down and I wrote the lyrics down on the free notepad they leave in your hotel room. I went from feeling this profound melancholy while writing the song to a weird sense of ease when the song was finished.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I personally enjoy playing them all but the song that gets requested the most is probably “River Of Past Reflection”. It’s probably our most known song that we’ve released to date. There’s a lot of people regionally that know the song and occasionally will sing along live. Probably for that reason alone it’s also my favorite song to play live!
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
There’s no set creative process. Almost anything can inspire me to write music. Anything from a phrase that I hear and I’ll write a song around that phrase. Sometimes a piece of music can come first and that will evoke a certain lyrical theme. I’m a firm believer though that a great song should be able to be played at it’s simplest form and still be great. Then you can add all the bells and whistles afterwards. When I’m recording music I really take the time to listen to a lot of different music that I love. I think influences and reference points are so crucial when searching for inspiration when writing/recording music.
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music, if so please tell me about them?
From a lyrical standpoint I try and touch on topics that are very universal. Love, Loss, Dreams/Goals, Anxiety, Depression etc
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
At the moment we are just working some more new music and will hopefully have a new “Dillon Ryan & The Dream Romantic” album out this summer with some tour dates to follow!
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?