Interview with Dissolve
Dissolve is the new project of Sydney-sider Nathaniel Johnson (formerly of Key Out). Deeply personal and at times excruciatingly existential, his music takes influence from musical greats such as Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, John Coltrane and Claude Debussy. Dissolve’s debut and soon-to-be-released self-titled EP begins the story of a wide range of characters, taking place in a dreamlike and pseudo-futuristic city of endless night. Dissolve’s debut single Thirteenth Floor is out now to download or stream on all good streaming sites.
Where are you from?
How long have you been making music?
I used to play violin as a child, but that went missing for a few years in storage at my high school. By the time they found it, I had already picked up the guitar discovered the wonderful world of Nirvana, Radiohead, Deftones etc.
How many songs /albums have you released to date?
Although I’ve played in different bands in the past, this is my first project that I am at the helm of. ‘Thirteenth Floor’ is my debut single from my debut EP and works as a stark introduction to the world that all my songs take place in.
Can you tell us about your latest release and the background and inspirations behind it?
This EP took an almost embarrassingly long time to make because of how much of a perfectionist I was, and how much friend/drummer/producer Miles was willing to jump on board with this perfectionism. We wanted it to blow people away, especially as a first introduction to the world. The songs are deeply inspired existential themes, cities in endless night, loneliness and a certain nightmarish dread one can feel when alone in your room, or walking around by yourself at night. Artists like Radiohead, John Coltrane, Nine Inch Nails, Cat Power etc were deeply influential.
There is a vague narrative happening that the lyrics hint at and future songs will hint at, perhaps more explicitly at times. Thirteenth Floor: it’s obviously about a character despairing about every day life: but what is he doing on the Thirteenth Floor? Is he considering jumping, or is actually inspired by the view from so high up at night?
How have you ended up in the music industry?
It’s hard to say. Creating music is an obsession of mine. I wonder if it can be considered in the same way as addiction? I have to keep doing it as painful as the process of creating or anything to do with releasing etc is.
What do you think of the music industry in 2018?
I don’t consciously look for new music per se, I just look for music branching off from music I like or that interests me. The rabbit hole that is ‘suggest artists’ on spotify, or the videos suggested on the side of youtube videos. I think in terms of mainstream music, it feels very safe a lot of the time. I’d like to see more people striving for greatness. Right now, in terms of popular music in 2018 people like Kendrick inspire me.
Who do you think the most influential artist?
The most influential artists for me are the ones who are so ingrained in my being, that they will be there no matter what style of music I make. My first loves were Claude Debussy as a child, but in terms of newer music my first true obsessions came with Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead, Deftones etc. Particularly NIN and Radiohead seem to have tapped into something, you could say uncanny in the past and have made albums that don’t feel written, merely channeled.
Who have you collaborated with so far in your career?
My most significant stints in the past have been playing for Key Out, but have also played in other projects like Paper Parents and have some vocal collaborations coming up for more electronic music.
How do you think you differ from other artists?
I’m creating music from a world inside my brain, that’s been growing since I was a child and I feel like it’s a very special place. I have mild synesthesia where images and music feelings are often one and the same (which isn’t anything in itself to set me apart) but I try to tap into that world as much as I can because these things are as personal to me and as mysterious as dreams. I just want to make something timeless and great and other-worldly, something that will inspire someone.
Dead or alive, who would be your dream collaboration?
What was the first album you bought?
The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails. Masterpiece.
What’s your favourite song at the moment?
God Break Down the Door by Nine Inch Nails. And Nazi Punks F##k off by the Ramones.
If you had to sell your music collection tomorrow, what album would you leave in your draw?
OK Computer by Radiohead. or The Fragile by NIN.
What is your favourite saying?
Everything is temporary.
What other hobbies or interests do you have?
I like writing fiction. I’m not very good at it and most of the time I don’t finish what I’m writing but it’s been an ongoing hobby of mine since I was a child.
Do you have any tattoos or piercings?
I have one piercing on the side of the my ear and a tattoo of the the pony from the White Pony album cover by Deftones. It’s not even my favorite album by them but thought it looked awesome and beautiful.
Tell us more about your upcoming project or this new project?
I have an EP launch with the new band around July 8 with some awesome bands, and some other gigs lined up. There will be more deets a little closer to.
What’s in the pipeline after this project?
The plan is to just keep gigging, perfect our live set up and keep releasing more singles. Keep writing, writing, writing.
Thank you for your time and may you carry on making great, fresh music.
Thank you so much!
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