Young, attractive, active in the bustling Berlin electro scene, signed to the always interesting Bpitch Control: Dillon, born Dominique Dillon de Byington sounds like Lykke Li lost in the shadows of Fever Ray’s haunted house or Hanne Hukkelberg pained by a heart crumbling to dust. Before her first Hungarian performance on November 2, we sat down for a chat with her.
Before you started singing, you were doing photography: you shot your own press photos and also shot the cover of The Silence Kills. Is it because it’s important for you to keep honest to yourself?
I shot all my album covers and press pictures. First of all, I genuinely enjoy photography. That is a simple fact. I enjoy walking into a studio with an idea and leaving with a result, and to me it doesn’t matter whether it’s music or photography. The artwork and the cover are the continuation or the introduction (depends on what angle one is coming from) to the music. Just as with my poetry and my music, I listen to my instinct and try to translate my thoughts into something that doesn’t need any further explanation. Something that is strong enough to survive and raise a question on its own.
You didn’t start singing or writing songs until you were around eighteen. What inspired you to do so?
It was solitude that made me start singing my words. It was a strange time in my life filled with doubt and loss. I consciously detached myself from my environment in order to focus on myself. Hearing myself sing my thoughts made it easier for me to understand what I was going through.
Is there more pressure on you these days? When you started out you were posting on YouTube just to let people know what you were doing, and now you’re on Ellen Allien’s label, BPitch Control and selling out venues?
I am still very detached from people and do not feel any more pressure than I did when I was started writing and performing. Actually, the older I get the more I trust myself and the less intimidated I get. I try to surround myself with love as much as possible in order to be able to deal with life and its pressure.
You said in an interview that since you played your songs live before going into the studio to record them gave you the opportunity to expand your visions without any interruptions and let them ripen into what they are today. Could you talk a bit more about this?
When I started writing music and performing it, the only dialog I had was with myself or with friends that I was working or sharing my work with. Beyond that, no one was really interested in me or waiting for to hear anything from me. I had all the time to try things out without being affected by any opinions, suggestions or interruptions. I was able to think and develop at my own pace and without ever feeling pressured to be someone I am not. I only started working on This Silence Kills once I had a clear vision of an album, even though most of its songs had existed for years. I needed time. My songs needed to grow on me.
You’ve said that after The Silence Kills, you were unable to write for a rather long time. Why?
I found myself in a very dark place which I did not want to explore or deal with. I figured if I wait it out it will pass and I will be able to write about the lighter and less destroyed part of me. I was very wrong thinking this because nothing can come from nothing. So one day, with nowhere left to go, I stormed my mind. That was the birth of The Unknown.
You kept referring to the lyrics on The Unknown as poems – does that mean that you place a special importance on them? What was about the early morning hours, that you only wrote poems around that time?
I refer to all of my lyrics as poems. My writing has become more abstract in the past years that enables me to be more open, leaving more room for interpretation. As to the morning hours, my brain is a morning brain. By nature I wake up early and get tired early. It almost works with the sun. More energy in summer, less so during the winter days. The very early morning hours allow me to be the most vulnerable me without the isolation and exhaustion of the night. I am very alone for a few hours knowing that soon my environment will wake up and start the day. I like that.
You’ve said in an interview that a subject you continually trying to process is a sense of isolation and a sense of loss and the fact that people make the same mistakes again and again. Could you expand a bit more on why do you think you are drawn to these topics?
I have little to no control over what interests me artistically. I cannot force anything, but be patient and observe where my mind wanders off to. My lyrics are always autobiographical and a reflection of me.
Tell us about your live performances! I’ve heard that there will be a choir too!
My live performances are more agressive than my recordings. Everything is closer. My voice, the bass, the visual experience. It is a weather forecast filled with sun, rain, snow, lightning, thunder, floods & fire. Yes, there will be a choir. I finally don’t have to sing on my own anymore.
Do you already have plans about a third album?
When I am not on tour I am working on the third album which, until now, is a love record. Love songs only.