Right now Dylan Stark doesn’t have a Facebook following, or a twitter feed. He hasn’t been hyping his Tumblr presence or pushing for subscribers on Youtube. Instead the 24 year old Portland, Oregon resident has focused every bit of his time making some of the most richly immersive and intricate music we’ve ever heard.
Dylan’s passion for music began at age 5 when he started studying piano intensely. At a crossroads at the age of 18 he boldly rejected attending any college place in order to wholeheartedly devote himself to making his own music.
Dylan says, “I quickly decided to not show my music to anyone, I hated the idea of making mediocre music that I spent all of my time pushing to get people to accept. I wanted to show people only work I was proud of; I wanted my music to be emotional and powerful enough that it didn’t need any explanation or personality attached, that it could stand completely by itself. I wanted people to hear it and have an immediate connection and reaction.”
So often the development of countless want-to-be musicians is accompanied by the need for instant upload, evaluation and affirmation, but Dylan’s approach – his patience and confidence – has allowed him to debut (and it really is a true debut, there’s nothing else anywhere you could listen to with his name on it) a highly sophisticated and fully realised long-player: ‘Heartland’.
There is an emotional awakening that imbues all of Dylan Stark’s music. Joyous and beautifully ingenuous, his tropical and immersive creations brim with emotion and celebration. Crafted from huge banks of meticulously collected sounds and samples – that he seemingly conducts as if conducting an orchestra – his music is alive, cinematic, intensely layered, infinitely detailed and constantly blurring the line between electronic and organic. Drums are made from recordings of Ghanaian fishermen chanting while bringing boats ashore; Harmonies are created from recordings of women’s cheerleading championships or Hawaiian Luaus; The sound of trees growing, ice cracking or an air conditioner running may give a rich warmth and depth to a track.
Dylan says, “I want to create music that is intensely cinematic and extremely detailed and layered. You see musicians limiting what and how they use samples; ‘Heartland’ is unlimited in a sense, any sound is a possible source of inspiration.”
After four years of working tirelessly over thousands of iterations, Dylan sent out a handful of CD demos and one landed on the desk of Mark Shelley at Civil Music. Mark signed him immediately. He says, “It was something special – to call it a demo doesn’t do it justice – what Dylan sent us was something exceptional. Original, emotional and perfectly considered. What was on that CD is the exact album that Civil is releasing, no changes, reworking or restructuring required. That at 23 years old he’s created something this unique and mature is amazing, and that this is the first music he’s shared with anyone is just astonishing!”
Since signing with Civil, Dylan has developed his live show and is being represented by the Surefire Agency – along side such electronic music luminaries as Andy Stott, Ron Morelli, Mala, Kode9, Knxwledge, Mister Saturday Night, Awesome Tapes From Africa and Girl Unit – signing before playing even a single show, he will debut his live set at SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas on 19th March. Also look out for Stark’s unique and sometimes unorthodox DJ sets, a regular at clubs in Portland and around the pacific northwest he’s taking them on the road too.
When listening to Dylan’s music you are immediately immersed in a wild, expressive world of his creation; there is an emotional quality that can’t be captured in descriptions or comparisons. He doesn’t need a hip, curated Tumblr or a witty Twitter feed to grab your attention, the greatest reason to be a fan of Dylan Stark is the only reason he wants you to consider: the music.
Dylan Stark – “Heartland” LP is released 6th April 2015 on Civil Music.