We chat with the coolest guy in California, dylAn.
Mixing laid back Californian sounds with openly emotional lyrics, dylAn is the LA based rapper bringing us huge tracks and huge feels alike. Having found his love for rap after his brother, producer Daniel D’artiste, sent Willow Smith some tracks of him rapping and she liked it so much she finished the beat, dylAn’s first track “Tower 158” was completed and the rest is history.
Now he is in the midst of his latest project Kids Keep Secrets which he is releasing in phases, and “Lemons” is our latest fix. Always pushing conceptual boundaries, dylAn is creating exciting and soul bearing music which we can’t get enough of. We sat down to have a chat with him about his latest project and what he’s got planned for the future.
When did you decide that you wanted to make music?
I decided that I wanted to make music about three years ago. I had just moved back to California (Canoga Park) a few days after I turned eighteen. My older brother and producer, Daniel D’artiste, was working on an album at the time, called “The End of Summer”-which blew my mind because a few days prior to that, I wrote a poem with the same title. It just seemed like destiny to me; I was on that album, and it was the first time I ever recorded my poetry over a beat or any type of musical composition. I was making SONGS, a new feeling/experience that I fell in love with almost instantly.
Tell us, what’s the meaning behind the capital A in your name?
At first it was just a play off of Pretty Little Liars Haha! I used to watch that show a lot in my early stages of music making and shit. I was intrigued by the character, A, and the idea behind it–all the power and control that one unknown entity possessed. Then, it naturally became an alias, something to hide behind but also identify with. The capital A in my name stands for Alfred, it’s the sad, emotional, sensitive side of dylAn. Alfred is a cool guy, he doesn’t go out often, though. Instead he stays alone inside, transforming his pain and struggles into vulnerable spoken word/rap music. The kids relate to it a lot. They may not know Dylan, or even dylAn, but they know Alfred. My followers and supporters have been listening to Alfred since “Tower158”, my first song. My career up until this point is his story, so, people are familiar with him but just don’t know it. Kids Keep Secrets is Alfred’s coming-of-age journey.
You’ve been compared to artists like Chance The Rapper, Tyler, The Creator and Kevin Abstract. Is there a particular musician you’d love to collaborate with?
It’s actually funny, Kevin and I were been like internet pals for quite some time, back when Brockhampton went by “A$F”; I wasn’t even doing music then. Met him in person about 2 years ago at my friend Teo’s house. It’s hilarious because I don’t even think we sound alike or anything AT ALL Haha! But yo Ian if you see this HI, ILY & GOOD JOB ON YOUR ALBUM! Anyways, um, I really like Kido Yoji a lot, very lowkey dude-I don’t even think he makes music under that name anymore, but, would love to make a song with him. Oh, and London O’Connor, one of my biggest influences and greatest friends. He’s next on my list for collaborations for sure. DONALD. GLOVER. Number one, without a doubt, and of course Kid Cudi.
You’re part of the MSFTSRepublic crew, alongside people like Jaden and Willow Smith. What can you tell us about that?
It’s a movement. It’s more than just a clothing line or a brand, per-say. It’s a lifestyle; it is something made by the youth, for the youth! It will ultimately better our planet and save the world. From the subliminal sacred-teachings on the t-shirts, to the positive, spiritual messages in our music. MSFTS Republic is a vessel in acquiring knowledge and uniting our people.
“The capital A in my name stands for Alfred, it’s the sad, emotional, sensitive side of dylAn. Alfred is a cool guy, he doesn’t go out often, though. Instead he stays alone inside, transforming his pain and struggles into vulnerable spoken word/rap music.”
Your track with Jaden, “Bad Day”, made waves when it dropped last summer. What was the inspiration behind it?
What’s hysterical about that is, that song was leaked Hahahaha! Pretty tight how a leak made some waves though; because I did see all the commotion about the unfinished record. People were loving it. Dan Kanter even reached out and said he liked my line about him, that was epic. I don’t know though, to be honest I was having a pretty fucking bad day that day, and it’s like, people make relatable stuff but not out there or to the point enough. Jaden and I were like dude lets like really go in about having a shitty day or something, everyone has ‘em, and that conversation took place when the verses were done because we freestyled them, so, naturally it pieced itself together I would say. Still to this day we have no idea how it leaked either.
Your new album, Kids Keep Secrets, is a series of phases. Can you walk us through them?
Sure, I mean, generally I can’t “tell you all about it” because, then there would be no secrets to keep, but, I can slightly brief you in on whats to come. But first, KKS isn’t necessarily an album, it’s more so a follow-along experience with different mediums of art presented in phases, like videos, photos, songs, merchandise etc. As time goes by you will slowly by lured in to the world of Kids Keep Secrets. The phases are based off of different sub-emotions, but all surround and stem from, sadness. So, throughout the year, you will get this embodiment of work, that all ties together, and is ONE THING, but not all at once. You will hear the new songs, see the new videos and films, experience the reality that I am creating for everyone, but as it’s happening. There WILL be a play that you will be able to purchase tickets to and WATCH. Every month there will be content related to KKS somehow, someway, announced on my twitter. We are in Phase 2 right now.
You’ve just premiered the music video for your new track “Lemons”, which is the second instalment to your project. What was the idea behind the video?
Loneliness. Sadness. The idea was based off of confusion. This lost perception I have on reality. You notice that lost shot at the end, with Alfred sitting alone on the swing set, yeah, it doesn’t make sense. He was just having a good time with his friends, but, internally, that’s the feeling he has, it ties together with the lyrics, so, I wanted to convey that sense of bottled-up emotion visually. Juxtaposition, ya know?
What do you hope to accomplish with this project?
I want to unite people. I ultimately want everyone hearing this project to feel good about themselves, but not for their egos or anything like that. I want people to respect their flaws, in themselves and in others. I want this project to allow people to honour the differences in each other, to ultimately inspire and promote love. It’s ok to be different, we all are; after people listen to this, I think they’ll find or be able to identify and see the importance of individuality.
What does 2017 have in store for dylAn?
More live performances/appearances for sure! A few features that I’m really excited about but don’t want to announce. Hopefully a tour!! *fingers crossed*. But most importantly, more music; a lot of vocal shit, I’m producing a lot more as well, definitely want to branch out my diversity musically. 1234 Mixtape. MSFTSRep Mixtape. All I’m gonna say.