It’s safe to say nearly all of us wish we had ditched our ‘real lives’ to pursue and make a living off of our art. It’s always interesting to meet those who have the drive, talent, and perseverance to make such a lifestyle for themselves. Dylan Baldi just happens to be one of these individuals. Early on, just months into college he had that moment of clarity and acknowledged that a traditional college education and working american lifestyle just wasn’t for him. From his meager beginnings as a low-fi pop rocker to his headlining on the upcoming Galax Z Fair, Dylan has been nothing short of prolific producing an album each year since 2010, working on a fourth album to be released this fall. The style of music has ranged from low-fi pop-punk to very heavy feeling variant of grunge.
We had the opportunity to discuss with Dylan about his evolution of the albums and what he’s looking forward to.
GD: What was it like to have lived your whole life in Ohio and then suddenly catapult into the life of a touring musician traveling U.S. and Europe?
Great. It’s been providing a much more enriching learning experience than an academic environment ever could have, for me at least. All of the travel that I’ve done has contributed to my life in very positive ways.
GD: You have described the evolution of your music as: first album is pop, second album pop/punk, third album darker. Do you think the changes in style are a reflection of the changes in your life transitioning into adulthood. Can you point out specifics on what cause this?
The changes in style are a reflection of my desire to experiment with song structures and forms. The first two records are basically just me trying to learn how to write pop songs, and the third record messes with those standard rules a little bit, since I finally felt comfortable enough with them to do so. Still lots of room to expand, though!
GD: You’ve said in a previous interview that you sometimes write songs about random people you see walking around and make up a story about their life. Could you reveal a Cloud Nothings song where you have done just that?
The only one I can think of off the top of my head is “Strummin,” from Turning On. That’s the reason it sounds so different from the rest of that record.
GD: There will always be bad reviews out there for any person that makes a career out of art? Do you think it has helped you as a creative artist to avoid reading reviews on your band?
I don’t think it has affected me in any particular way. Bad reviews don’t really mean anything to me, unless someone is truly offended by my music, in which case it’s sort of funny, so I’ll read the review when I need something to laugh at.
GD: You have said that you went into college knowing that you wanted to drop out but still stayed for three months until you left to work on your music. What was the catalyst that made you decide to make that big decision?
One day I just realized that I had other options. The college environment is perfect for some people, but not for me at the moment.
GD: You wrote a seven page paper to your parents explaining why you dropped out, so you knew that they would be hurt by your decision. What was their reaction?
They were very supportive, and they’d had a feeling I’d leave school sooner or later. I wrote that letter more for myself than them, really, since going to college is just what everyone seems to do when you grow up where I did. I wanted to know why I felt the need to do something different.
GD: How did you reassure yourself after dropping out that you made the right decision in such a competitive industry?
Playing and learning about music makes me happy, so I just knew I needed to do it.
GD: Early in your career you created several fake bands, each with their own Myspace page; almost chose Crazy Dorm Stories. What was the purpose of this? Were you aware that there is a fake twitter account under your name posing as you? (The person claims he wants to be Tina Turner and his idol is Kenny G. (@DylansCrzyWorld) on Twitter)
I don’t know that I ever had a band called Crazy Dorm Stories, but I was just making all those bands up because I was bored. And I’m aware of that Twitter, it’s nice to know it exists, I guess. I actually just deleted our band account since the whole concept weirds me out.
GD: In previous interviews you revealed that your band is the type to go to sleep after a show. What has kept you centered and focused. Why no rock star antics?
Because we’re not rock stars, by any means. It would feel silly to do generic ‘rock star’ shit, it’d feel like acting in a play about a band rather than just living my life.
GD: Going into studio in April for new album, (which is expected to release date in fall 2013) we know you’re already sitting on a lot of material for it, could you give us an idea of what direction you’re going in with this album?
I don’t know, really. We’ll see.
GD: Kind of a random question, but what’s your favorite pizza topping.
There’s a pizza place in Cleveland that puts soft pretzels on pizza with cheese sauce instead of tomato sauce. That’s the one.
Be sure to catch Cloud Nothings along with 13 other bands and artists at the Galax Z Fair – South Texas’s Premier Alternative Music and Arts Festival this Monday, March 11 at Cine El Rey in downtown McAllen