We've had the absolute pleasure to virtually sit down with Tilian to discuss his new solo album 'Factory Reset', as well as get an idea on what the status on new Dance Gavin Dance music is.
Strife Magazine: Thank you so much for taking the time, how are you doing?
Tilian Pearson: Good! I’m stoked on the reception of the album. I have basically, as of yesterday, fully switched gears to starting to work on the new Dance Gavin Dance album. The recording process for that is going to start in a couple of weeks and I think we are going to take our time with it and use the down time and stretch it out.
SM: We heard that after the recording of your album you had another month of studio time which you used for more personal stuff. Did you create some more magic?
TP: Yeah, just a couple weeks. I had a new batch of ideas that I wanted to get down before I switched gears because I feel like making a Dance Gavin Dance album is quite a task. It’s going to be quite a journey. So I wanted to get those ideas down on paper before I forgot them.
SM: You posted on Instagram that the new album will already be coming in 2022, exciting stuff!
TP: Yeah, if all goes well, then I think 2022 is pretty realistic!
SM: Congrats on the release of 'Factory Reset'! How has the response been so far?
TP: It’s been overwhelmingly positive. I thought it was going to be a little bit more polarizing. But I don’t really deep-dive search the feedback on forums. I’m sure I will, because eventually I won’t be able to help myself but this week I am just going to enjoy the positive feedback. But yeah, you have to take critiques in account because if there is something that you are doing that isn’t working, then you have to adjust.
SM: This album is so diverse, you pushed boundaries left and right and created something truly unique. Is that something in the back of your mind? Are you ever apprehensive towards doing it this way or are you sometimes scared of the reactions?
TP: Yeah, this one specifically, I just wanted to do whatever I want and see what happens. I didn’t want to stick to a certain genre or sound. In my opinion, there is not an album that sounds like this album. But it is what I would want to hear so I tried to make an album that I would be a fan of. That’s pretty simple. In that case, I think it is pretty personal to my taste.
SM: You got us there with ‘Is Anarchy A Good Hobby?’. It’s so different and fresh.
TP: I never thought that that song would be a single. The team that I work with, it was their favourite song. So it got pushed as a single and I did not expect that but it turned out to be one of my favourite music videos. I like the fact that it is a single, now. It was meant to be the beginning of side B, when you flip the vinyl over and start the second half of the album.
SM: Talking about singles, in a press release you said that ‘Anthem’ is about the rarest hour of passion every writer dreams about. Did the creation of the record or song commence while you were in this hour or were you chasing after it?
TP: I was definitely chasing it. It took trips to the desert, I experimented with psychedelics, so yeah, I was definitely chasing that kind of waterfall moment. Where the words are seemingly coming from another source and the music is just kind of flowing. But that song is the closest I got to that moment. I’m sure there is a more pure version out there that will happen eventually.
SM: Is that where the idea of the waterfall in the music video came from?
TP: No, that was actually a coincidence! That waterfall was just at the location, honestly. I don’t really have a lot of overbearing creativity with the music videos. I get introduced to a director and whatever their vision is, I’m usually down to do it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. That was actually the second run of trying to shoot a music video for the song because the first one fell through.
SM: Yeah, we read that the first one was on a green screen and the second one was on location, right?
TP: Yeah, the green screen was cool in theory and I still really like the videos that I’ve seen from that theme but it just didn’t work out. So we moved on to the next.
SM: This record has been a little different, obviously the state of the world is in something unprecedented but you also produced your own album. Would you like to do that again or was it just a one time thing?
TP: I think it’s possible that I might fill in gaps here and there and produce certain songs and do maybe vocals on my own here and there. When I am alone and I have time, I can go slowly. There is no rush, I can just be on the same little thing for the entire day and no one’s tapping their watch. So that was one aspect that was pretty cool about it. I might do it again but it’s so much slower than when I work with someone who is a professional and who is more competent in producing. But maybe it's a skill I can develop and I can use it from time to time.
SM: Would you ever produce other acts as well or just for your own?
TP: In theory, yeah. But I would have to do more practice until I’m at the point where I would be fast enough to produce someone else’s work. It’s really a speed issue. If you give me a couple more years of practice, then I would be down!
SM: In the song ‘Imagination’, is the ‘Three Wishes’ quote a reference to the Dance Gavin Dance song?
TP: I definitely was aware of the reference, but it is actually not. But I did smirk, hahaha.
SM: Can we expect a Tilian livestream experience?
TP: No. But there will be tours! There is something about livestreams, I don’t personally enjoy watching them, so it is hard for me to convince myself to do them. With Dance Gavin Dance I was like sure, I’m down, I’m sure there is someone out there who enjoys this. But I can’t watch them for longer than like 15, 20 minutes, even if it’s a band that I like. So I’d rather concentrate on creating content that I would enjoy myself than forcing out a live stream just for the sake of doing it. So hopefully touring comes back, cause I love live shows and streaming doesn’t stack up. Not even close. So unless the world gets worse, I don’t think I’m going to do one.
SM: Are there any future plans where you are going to take Tilian on the road in Europe?
TP: I’d love to tour in Europe. I don’t know if I could headline in Europe, I think it might be somewhat of a loss, but I would love to get on a tour in Europe with this project.
SM: How does the process differ when you are working on your own stuff in comparison to working on a group project like Dance Gavin Dance?
TP: It’s completely different. With Dance Gavin Dance, Will, Matt and Tim usually work on the music. I have nothing to do with the creation of the instrumentals. With the solo project I create mostly all of the instruments, except for collaborations. So I approach a Tilian song with what I think the song should be about and what vibe I want to create. Then I kind of make the music based on the melody as opposed to with Dance Gavin Dance where I’m fitting the melody over the music. Luckily, the band is cool with Jon and I chopping up their music and making things longer, shorter or even taking out parts. So there is some flexibility but with Tilian there is endless flexibility.
SM: Speaking of the flexibility, it was in 2020 when the song with Marigolds+Monsters and Travis Barker was released. The collaborations with the more electronic acts and other genres, is that something you can see yourself do more often?
TP: Yeah, I have some more coming. I have done some more collabs that are in line to come out soon. I’ll definitely keep doing them, cause I love it.
SM: You’ve been in the game for a long time. What is your biggest advice to bands and artists who are just on the start of their journey?
TP: I like to say ‘Get a really good recording of your demos. Don’t even get demos. Just save the money and get a good recording. Don’t try to show people demos. A lot of people in the music industry, they don’t see the vision until it’s there. So just get awesome, solid recordings.’
SM: What is the first thing you are going to do when the world is back to normal?
TP: I would love to go to a show. I am going to see all the bands that I haven’t seen before. There is a bunch of bands that I’ve never seen or only in a festival setting. So definitely Tool and A Perfect Circle. Then Queens of the Stone Age and I wanna see Death Cab For Cutie.
SM: We read in the Facebook groups that a fan thought he heard influences from A Perfect Circle on ‘Factory Reset’. Has that been one of your influences?
TP: Yeah, it’s one of my musical influences in general. I love that band. I’m a super fan. I have listened to every little remix and every cover and every album. So yeah, I’m a huge fan!