Dreamer Boy's sophomore album, All The Ways We Are Together, is out now! We chat to the musician about the release, environmental impact and so much more!
Image: Adam Alonzo
Earlier this year, Nashville singer-songwriter Dreamer Boy made his return with his exquisite sophomore record, All The Ways We Are Together. The musician has also unveiled a taste of the record, sharing his new single Easier Said Than Done.
Arriving on Earth Day, a date selected by Zach Taylor, the musical mastermind behind Dreamer Boy, to reflect the global communal spirit he feels with people and our shared environment, the record documents love and meaningful relationships, but also the effects that we as humans have on the world. Sonically, the hazy and sentimental body of work defies genre, travering alt-pop, R&B, funk, dream folk and more, creating a unique listening experience.
Through the implementation of a microsite where fans could stream the record to contribute to the planting of trees, the musician has been able to schedule 1,500 trees to be planted, through a partnership with One Tree Planted. Additionally, Taylor hosted community zooms with fans to discuss ways to give back and engage in a day of action on Earth Day, as well as participating in a local Nashville rubbish clean up
All The Ways We Are Together is out now! Read our interview with Dreamer Boy below.
Could you tell us a bit about your musical background and just how you got into music?
It was sort of just like something that as the kid was like around and I always enjoyed the idea of getting up in front of people and like, I don't know, even if I didn't have a talent back then when I was like five years old, I just liked making people laugh or just like being goofy from like my family. My grandmother was a big singer, not like a big singer she wasn't like famous, but she's just like always singing and same with my grandpa. I just have memories of like listening to CDs that I would find in my parents shelves and just having certain tracks numbers that I remember, like not knowing the names of the songs, but just like knowing the track number. It was like James Taylor and like The Chicks. I don't know if you know The Chicks, some country inspiration there. That was kinda like the earliest memories I have.
Your new album, All The Ways We Are Together, documents love and meaningful relationships, but also the effects that we as humans have on the world. How important was it for you to use this album as a vehicle to represent these themes that are so universally relevant?
I think I'm just trying to do my best to do some good with whatever platform I have. I think it was important to me point to some meaningful things, as well as ask questions from people who know more about like certain things than I do, like with environmental stuff or like how can we create safer shows, like that sort of thing. There's definitely some real world applications to what I think I want to help with as an artist. But I think with the music, I just hope it is encouraging to people to, you know, take a second to be present, look at their relationships, learn more about love. Learn more about, I guess just the light that is there, if you tune into it. I don't know, I think that's hopefully what it's doing and I guess I'm just doing my best to like help people out or just like be a friend and that sort of thing. So I guess the music is definitely one of the ways that I'm trying to do that, especially during this time.
The record is quite sonically diverse. We hear R&B sounds, hints of funk and dream folk and more. How did you arrive at the kind of overall sonic exploration of the album? Was it like a lot of experimenting? A lot of trying out different sounds?
Yeah, definitely. There's definitely a lot of experimentation with this album. In some ways I feel like this album, what it represents in terms of my own growth now that it's kind of behind me and I'm reflecting on it, it really is just exploring all my different influences and I guess learning and uncovering more of like who I am. I think this album is very foundational. But I think going forward, this was definitely a necessary step and definitely a necessary process. I'm excited just to take what I've learned and continue to make music and stuff.
This is also your second full length album. What do you think you were bringing to the writing sessions for this record, that differed from your debut? Was there any kind of new knowledge and how you approached creating the record?
Definitely. I definitely think in terms of writing. I think like the first album was sort of very reflective. I mean nostalgia's in the name of the first album and it definitely is very like a past life. I wrote it from that perspective, you know, in a way. I felt like when I was writing this album, it felt a lot more present. It felt like I was writing about what I was being swept up in right then. And I think that there's many ways to like write a song, you know? But I definitely think something that is consistent through this one is that I think it ties into like a specific season and I think that that's the place that a lot of these songs started, it was a very concentrated period of time. So it's beautiful to see how that season in my life as life has I guess grown into something that I've like been able to highlight or even find more in over time.
If you had to pick three songs off the album to play to someone who had never heard your music to make them an instant diehard fan, which three songs do you think you'd choose and why?
That's a good question! I think the first one I would play is the intro [All The Ways We Are Together] to the album, because of the soul and the spirit behind that song, and the way it came about. I think it just has the spirit of the album in it. And then I probably played Don't Be A Fool because I think that's one of my favourite songs on the album. I think the last one I would play would be the outro [All Or Nothing], I guess I would just play them All Or Nothing. Because I think that that one is another one that I just think has the spirit of the album in it and I think through those three songs you could probably understand the journey I was on in a way.
You've also released some super great visuals throughout the albums rollout. How important are the visuals to you when it comes to conveying the story is present on the tracks?
It is definitely one of the most fun parts of working on an album. I direct all the videos with my friend Adam, who's my roommate and just close creative partner and it's honestly just amazing to bring the songs to life visually. I think that sometimes we go for something that feels more like a narrative and then sometimes we go for stuff that just feels like motion and emotion, you know? That was a nice little, little rhyme there. I think it's just like the same thing with music, every time we do one it just feels like we learn something or we get better at something or capture something. It's just a fun, little documentation of how we're wanting to portray that song or that feeling.
So you're fairly involved with conceptualising the visuals as well?
Yeah, definitely. Definitely. That is definitely part of it that that happens alongside of writing the songs for me is like, I guess, conceptualising everything. It's funny cause I've only just put out this album, but it's like I've already kinda got the next one pretty much like fleshed out in my mind and I already have like a bunch of songs for it. So that part of things is always in ways the easiest part. It's the hardest part when it's like having to execute it. But I'm finding more freedom in that though. More freedom in just the process.
If All The Ways We Are Together was a piece of preexisting visual art, which artwork do you think would sum it up and why?
Oh, this is a good question. It's a couple of different things from this artist, but Yoko Ono was definitely a big inspiration for a lot of the art and just like conceptually what she was doing with her art. There's this one art piece where it's this ladder that she set up and you walk up the ladder and there's a magnifying glass hanging from the ceiling. Have you seen that one?
And then you just look at this tiny little word on the ceiling that you have to use the magnifying glass for. And it just says yes. You know? That was just the first one that came to mind. I love her encouragement and the way she sees the world.
She actually did this massive retrospective exhibition here in Sydney probably around seven years ago now. That It was just this beautiful, amazing show down at the Museum of Contemporary art in Circular Quay in Sydney. It was amazing.
That sounds great. She's definitely a dreamer and I feel like I'm a dreamer because of her and many others art. So she's definitely one I got to shout out.
You also partnered with Roots Nashville on the release, which came out Earth Day, to encourage fans to take part in Earth Day and implement those ways of maintain our planet into everyday life. Could you tell us a bit about that initiative and the importance behind it?
We just sort of began the relationship with them and I think earth day was the beginning of hopefully a lot more projects that we can do here in Nashville. I think All The Ways We Are Together is something that I want to help grow beyond just the music. All The Ways We Are Together as like a community, almost like a nonprofit, is sort of something that me and some friends have kind of been mutually hoping for with it. I think we're about to start putting in a lot more work to make that happen. On earth day, partnering with Roots was just an amazing way to get that relationship started with them and honestly, I think we're just going to be coming to them for more projects or advice on how we can make a difference here, as well as how we can expand the community that we're building around the world to make a difference. I'm excited for that and it's definitely going to be a challenge because I just make music and make music videos. But it's something that I would love to like be a part of and help, I guess, facilitate with my platform. So it's definitely something exciting that I hope to see happen.
Obviously you're unable to tour at the moment, but do you kind of have any like tentative touring plans and what would one of your live shows look like?
Yeah, there's definitely some plans in the works and I am just so looking forward to being back out there, it's like literally my favourite thing to do. We actually just played a show in New York recently that was a live stream. It was our first time putting together like a set list with all these new songs and with the band and it opened so many, I think just like dopamine receptors in my brain that had been like closed for so long that are like specifically for playing shows. It was just like, woo!
Hopefully we'll get to see you in Australia some day!
Oh I hope so!
Biggest musical influence?
Probably George Harrison at the moment.
I think Jack Antonoff, Kevin Parker and Frank Ocean.
Album that has had the most impact on you?
I think For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver.
If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?
Oh yes. The Sandlot, that would be so fire.
Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?
Miley, way realer.
Best concert you have ever attended?
Oh, that's a good one. Honestly, I think it was the Yeezus tour in 2013. Just got to see Kanye west for the first time and that tour was incredible. I think he spent like over his budget on the set design and everything. Like, it was crazy. And for me, I was like 17. I was like, my mind was blown. So maybe it was just cause I was younger, but it was amazing.
Guilty music pleasure?
I don't know if I feel guilty about. I don't know. Maybe I'm not guilty about it, but I love listening to Justin Bieber sometimes. It's just like, sometimes you just need that Bieber fix, you know?
If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?
The 1975 for sure.
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.
Probably Michael Jackson.
What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?
Wow. Current self, give my future self. Oh goodness. Future self doesn't need to hear this. Probably like stay true, not stay true in terms of like "oh, don't let the fame get to you", because I'm not planning on being famous or anything. But like stay stay true to my gut instincts creatively.
The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?
I think it was sometime in early high school and me and my friends were making cover songs to Drake instrumentals with a Rock Band mic. Like the Rock Band video game microphone. So that's where it all started.