Noah Dillon’s debut LP - Kill The Dove
“I feel like the record grows with me through it.”
Photo by Michael Tartaglia.
Interview by Will Backler, words from Veronica Zurzolo.
Walyalup/ Fremantle singer-songwriter Noah Dillon has had an impressive couple of years, the team here at Pilerats watching his honest lyricism and charismatic live performance grow from intimate local stages - to headline shows and support slots across the nation (with the likes of likes of Holy Holy, San Cisco, Sly Withers, Spacey Jane, and Teenage Jones), a triple j’s Like A Version, and signing to Dew Process/ Universal Music Australia.
Writing songs that poignantly capture the human condition and spirit resonate with a wide range of listeners Australia wide and beyond, Noah and his band gear up to the highly anticipated release of their debut LP; Kill The Dove, out tomorrow, alongside the artists biggest nationwide headline tour to date this August to September.
Whilst keeping to his winning brand of songwriting, personal and specific tales that unpack relationships and interactions, the LP’s sound vary’s to reflect a broad range of sounds and shades. From the infectious pop moments of Drifting Apart, Drip Dry, and Nothing Matters, the post-punk energy or recent singles I C.A.N.T and collaboration with indie punk Queen, Sarah Tudzin of Illuminati Hotties Broken But It’s Working, and the soft and tender ballads Comfort Is Not The Reason, Who You Used To Be, Hold Me In Your Arms, and album closer Don’t Go Away, it’s a classic LP that see's art imitate life, with a little something for everyone sonically.
With this massive milestone imminent, we took the opportunity to catch up with Noah Dillon himself to chat all things Kill The Dove, and the journey to the LP’s release.
Congrats on the album bro, it’s fucking awesome! I want to hear all about it in a second, and I don’t want to start on a negative note but we’re chatting the morning of what was supposed to be your hometown album show which has been cancelled due to safety concerns with the venue and staff… I don’t want to dwell on that, instead I’m curious about what goes into the decision to postpone a show in a situation like this?
Yeah, it was pretty hard. We were just talking with our booking agent and the venue the whole week. It’s hard because you’re trying to like, decipher what’s going on, and I guess for us trying to decipher if the safety protocols are going to be there for, you know, people that buy a ticket.
And yeah it was a hard one because this gig was the first gig, like I’ve been really keen to make our gigs a little bit more accessible to the whole community, and this gag was the first time we had a group from Buddy Up, which is a group I work with and we do like, mental health stuff with kids with autism and down syndrome. So I had that whole crew coming through, we had like a sensory section where people could wear ear muffs and be seated and be a little bit away from the strobes. In my head, I really wanted to create a space that was like, really nice for the whole community, and then obviously with this stuff coming out, it just didn’t feel right to be putting people in that position, and it was really hard, I mean, yeah, it’s a real hard one to know what to do. I think at the end of the day we err on the side of caution and like, you know, we’d rather be too safe than put anyone at risk.
But the exciting news is we manage to reschedule to Port Beach, we just fucking went crazy yesterday afternoon running around, I was like “I’m gonna throw this party in my backyard if I have to” *laughs*. So we’re gonna do it there, yeah it should be fun.
So sick, glad to hear it could still go ahead! Well let’s talk about the record now, Kill The Dove - as someone who’s listened to all your music from the start, it’s so dope to hear the diversity of sounds and genres across the 12 tracks, when was this collection of music written?
Sort of over like a year period I’d say, but the writing period was kind of weird. Like, the earliest song I probably wrote a year before we recorded it. Then there’s a song called Comfort which was written like the night before we recorded it. So it sort of spans over that whole time period, which I think is kind of nice, because it sort of like grows, I feel like the record grows with me through it.
Ahh and I wanted to ask about the track Comfort Is Not The Reason (Kill The Dove) - so that’s the track you wrote the night before you went into the studio, so then what come first, that track name or the album title?
The album title, actually. I sort of sat down and like, listened to all the songs and was trying to ask myself “what is it all about?” I guess because all the songs are just written with the emotionality of when I was writing them and putting them all together so I needed to really sit down and analyse it. I felt like all of it is sort of about like, finding happiness and peace through grief. And also like, I guess sort of going against toxic positivity, I think for a while there I sort of got fed a lot of like, “one day you’ll be happy” and “shit’s gonna be good” and peace is like this “everlasting happiness that you’ll just reach one day” when I just don’t think that’s true. I think that life is always going to be kind of hard, like there’s always going to be ups and downs and grief is sort of inevitable in life. Understanding that and grasping that like, that sort of peace and happiness lies in that fact that, like, when you have friends and family around you that you love, all that stuff is manageable no matter what happens, but there is still going to be ups and downs that’s just part of life and it’s kind of beautiful.
So I guess it’s sort of a message to like, kill that analogy of peace and happiness that’s like “it’s all gonna be fucking sick if you just drink kombucha” *laughs* I don’t know, it’s gonna be this thing that you just reach and then you’ve got it? Where like, it’s actually just always evolving.
Yeah, oh man, fucking feel that and, you know, I’m not saying there’s only one correct way to look at life but I guess a lot of people never reach that perspective? Which is a sad thing in itself as well, always chasing the unattainable, like it’s a quantifiable item or something?
Yeah, yeah - fully. Life is so fickle that you can’t control so much of it that like, pretending you can control it sort of like, feels wrong when you actually don’t have control.
So did you just listen to the tracks from the album, think about all of this and then go like “oh shit, I need to get on the piano!”.
Yeah, sort of, I was like “what is this imagery that all the songs are navigating”, like navigating peace and happiness and I guess battling my own expectation of my own happiness and peace and like, what I thought that would feel like and what it does feel like. Then yeah, I guess I thought of “Kill The Dove” as the name and then that song just sort of happened, and I was like “oh, I should put a little outro in, fuck this would be the perfect spot for the name of the album”.
Love it dude. So were there more tracks from the album sessions that you demoed that didn’t make the cut?
Yeah I think we had like 30 or so that were demoed, and then picked 10 that we started with, and then I wrote two during the process. And then we recorded another one that didn’t make it.
So how do you make those decisions of what gets cut and what makes the album, especially on a record like this with such nice ebbs and flows?
I don’t know, I think my hope for the whole thing was just like, which ones feel like the mean the most to me, but then I feel like I was too close to it really at that stage. It’s just like, fuck, I don’t know, I can’t listen to my own voice as much as 30 songs. So I relied a fair bit on the band and Andy [Lawson, producer/owner Debaser Studio], who I trust a lot to be like “which ones make you guys feel a certain way, and which ones fit together to tell the right narratives?” and yeah, I don’t know. We all agreed, I think like, the other ones were probably shit *laughs*
Whatever works! So what about linking up with Sarah from Illuminati Hotties? How did that go down and what was that like?
I just love that band, and I love Sarah’s writing, I always have. We were just talking to our label about that and they were like “oh, I think we’ve got a connection there”, and then they just literally like emailed that afternoon like “do you wanna jump in on a writing session with Sarah tomorrow?” and I was just like “Oh my god, yes” and yeah, just jumped in on the zoom, just me and her and it was so nice. She’s such a lovely person, it was so much fun. Like, I’ve done a few writing sessions and I never go into them expecting anything. I think like, if you come out with something you’ve struck gold, and if you haven’t it’s still a good experience. But yeah, me and Sarah just got along so well and then, I don’t know, I think it really takes you being on a similar wavelength in writing for it to flow like it did.
I think we both understood the concept we were writing about, Broken But It’s Working, and yeah we literally just traded lines, like back and forth and it was such an easy writing process - it took like an hour to write the whole song. And then yeah, that was sort of it. I demoed it that day and we just left it there, and then we were making the decision on what tracks to make the album and people were like “let’s do that one, that one should go in”. And then just had the idea of seeing if Sarah wanted to sing the second verse which I was like, you know, that’s a bit of a hail mary. But she was keen as and yeah, so good, so much fun, such a mind blowing experience.
So I’m like, when are you guys going to the States?
You know, that’s a plan, yeah, we talked about that. I think we wanna do like a vice versa Australian American tour, would be so much fun.
Oh my god, I’d love for that to happen. And then yeah, there’s a fun kind trippy video for Broken But It’s Working as well?
Well we sorta ran outta money so I was like, alright, I need to do this shit myself, so just got my housemate’s camera, got a TV and like somee party stuff and just decorated a room. Then I got Sarah to send me a video while she was on tour, like singing the song and managed to get a green screen and green screen her onto the TV. Yeah, just like opened Premiere Pro and watched about six hours of Youtube tutorials, so it’s really funny.
Like, as a teenager who would sneak outside, smoke can bongs and then watch channel 31 public access TV…
Yeah, that was the vibe.
Are you interested in doing more of you own video work after that?
Yeah, I think I am. I mean, I’ve always enjoyed having a creative input directly into the videos and stuff. I think I need someone to help me shoot it but yeah, I’m keen, I’m keen.
Yeah the little bit of video editing and stuff that I’ve done, like I found it was pretty similar to audio mixing in a way?
That was it, once I realised that like, I’m just working in Logic pretty much making videos like, it’s on a timeline, so layers are kind of easy and even some it was like the same key shortcuts.
Editing maestro in the future then. So, speaking of future, you’ve got a huge tour coming up kicking off with that rescheduled Perth show again now, so how’s the album feeling live?
Really good. Like, really good. There’s lots of songs on the album that we haven’t released, like that aren’t singles that I think are gonna be so much fun to play live. Like lots of big, emotional moments, which I love. It feels like a step up and a different like, maturity level for us as a live band, and I think the thing we sort of always prided ourselves on was our dynamics live, making it this show that sort of waves through being real loud and having punky sections and then having the sort of intimate moments. I think that this album has given us a big scope to really lean into that dynamic, so that’s really exciting. Can’t wait for the tour, it’s gonna be great with Asha Jefferies and Smol Fish.
Yeah sick, sounds like it’s going to be so much fun! And congrats again on the record bro, thanks for chatting!
See ya soon!
Noah Dillon's debut album Kill The Dove is out Friday August 19th via Dew Process and Universal Music Australia.
triple j, Dew Process, Select Music and Blue Grey Pink presents
KILL THE DOVE AUSTRALIAN TOUR
with special guests Asha Jefferies and Smol Fish
Friday, August 12 - Freo Social Club, Fremantle*
Thursday, August 25 - Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
Friday, August 26 - Marys Underground, Sydney
Saturday, August 27- La La La’s, Wollongong
Thursday, September 1 - Alt Bar Hobart
Friday, September 2 - UC Hub, Canberra
Saturday, September 3 - The Night Cat, Melbourne
Sunday, September 4 - Barwon Club, Geelong
Friday, September 8 - Beach Hotel, Byron Bay
Saturday, September 10 - Crown & Anchor, Adelaide
Friday, September 16 - Rosemount, Perth
Saturday, September 17 - The River, Margaret River
*Asha Jefferies & Smol Fish not appearing.
Tickets on sale HERE