Thursday, March 7, 2013

Tilian Pearson Interview

As music technology continues to evolve and become more readily available, listeners face a number of positives and negatives. The biggest negative for me is sifting through the over saturation of music on the market while trying to find a quality artist/band that appeals to me with their recorded material and live performance. One of my favorite positives, that is becoming increasingly common, is that artists I already enjoy can experiment with different genres with ease and have a platform to do so. A great example of this is Tilian Pearson's last record, Material Me, which will drop on March 19th. Most notably known for his work with post-hardcore band, Dance Gavin Dance, Pearson's debut solo record features beautifully constructed indie-pop songs with the help of producer Matt Malpass. When listening to Pearson's well-produced debut, don't let his pop sounding vocals deceive you. This man can really belt it out, and his range is incredible. For proof, check out this stripped down version of "Favor the Gods."

How did this collaboration between you and Matt Malpass begin? Was there a specific moment when you realized that you were on to something?

Well, we had been talking about it for a while. When I finally made it out to Atlanta to do a five song EP, we decided to stretch it out to make a full-length album. The chemistry was there and we felt like the sound hadn't reached its full potential, so our solution was to just keep writing songs. I am happy about how it all turned out.

Were there any specific influences that fueled the sound that can be heard on Material Me?

Matt was pretty into One Republic and Mike Posner at the time. I don't really see those as influences for me, but I think it rubbed off. I never really listened to much pop music before starting to make this record, and I think that was a good thing. It kept the music interesting and unique in a way. I come from the school of Cursive, Brand New, Radiohead, Circa Survive, Portugal The Man, etc. To take those elements and merge it with a more indie-pop feel was very exciting for me.

How did the writing process pan out for the record? Did you have skeletons of songs that you brought to Matt, or vice versa?

For the most part we worked in separate rooms. I had ideas for progressions, riffs, and melodies and would lay them down and program a song skeleton. Then he would take those ideas to the next level and polish them up a bit. Then we would get together to record the instruments and vocals. With a couple of songs it worked the other way around.

Did you find the writing process to be different in comparison to previous projects that you have been involved in?

Absolutely. There was no band, no "jamming", and that was very refreshing.There were no egos in the supporting instruments. The album is purely songs that revolve around vocals  as the centerpiece.

Have you had the opportunity to perform any of these songs live? If so, do you find yourself performing in a different light?

I want to perform the songs full-band. There are a lot of guitars and drums on the record, and I want those all to be performed live. Having a great live show or not is going to determine the future of this project.

"Up in the Air" is a wonderful song. How did it come together originally? Any specific story behind it?

Thank you! The original inspiration for the song was actually the Inception soundtrack. It had a very inspirational and important sound to it. Lyrically, I also wanted it to be inspiring and uplifting. I had my close friends in mind when writing it.

The video for "Up In the Air" has a great deal of beautiful imagery. How did the concept come together?

I can't take any credit for that music video. The creativity and imagery in the video is all to due Shawn Butcher, who directed the video, and everyone else that worked on the video. I was pleasantly surprised by the whole experience and the professionalism of everyone involved. At this point I also want to thank Trevor Monks at Vital Records who has been instrumental in every aspect of the project so far.

I recently viewed an acoustic video for "Favor (the Gods)," which will be part of Material Me. I was blown away with how well the song translates to the acoustic version. Are there any other songs on the record that you are able to convert to acoustic versions?

Thank you again. I have already done acoustic versions of two more songs that will be released with the album as part of the pre-order package through The videos will also be released in the coming weeks.

Any word on the new Dance Gavin Dance album?

We are headed to the studio March 11 and we will be recording through April. We have a lot of material to work with--the most DGD has ever had going into the studio. I am pumped for it to take shape as final product.

Perfect day, driving in the car with the windows down, what are you listening to?

Recently I have been listening to Walk The Moon. Can't get enough.

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