an interview with DD Island

Brooklyn based dream-psych artist DD Island is back with his second single "Cherry Tongue" (listen here) Our writer/photographer Melody got to talking with DD Island about his newest single, the creative and writing process + so much more!

Hello! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, how have you been lately?

Yo I’ve been good! Super busy with music and life, editing videos which is new to me. But yeah this summers been sick. I’ve started surfing which is rad. And just playing as much music as possible at all times haha.

How did you get into music? When did you start writing lyrics?

I got into music super young. There were guitars around the house from my uncles. And then I just gravitated towards the drums at a super young age. Thankfully I had really dope parents who were down to have their 10/yo learning Nirvana songs on the drums in the living room. And then from there it kinda fluctuated thru my childhood. Started playing in bands around 16. I was the drummer of this stoner doom metal band lol. And then I really didn’t start writing lyrics until I went off to college around 18. And boy were they bad…

How did you go about finding your sound?

My sounds constantly changing so much. I don’t know if I’ll ever stick to just one thing. I think genres are dumb and kinda out dated these days. But I feel like no matter what I do, whether its garage psych or soft boy indie shit or whatevers next, i can’t help but sound like me. When i go back and listen to all my music thru the years, I can’t seem to shake sounding like myself. Gravitating towards suspenseful melancholic movie score type melodies, relaxed vocals, and intro lyrics. I feel like those are the constants in the music i make. It’s definitely inter-personal music. Coming from within.

Why did you decide to go by DD Island?

I was dreaming up solo project names for a while. DD Island came to me while I was showering before heading out the door for my first tour with my old band. DD Island was a place from my childhood. Our dog DD (short for Dumb Dog) would always swim out to this one little mud pile in the middle of the creek i grew up on and we called it her island. It's an ode to childhood wonderment.

You’ve recently just released your new single “Cherry Tongue” what was the inspiration behind it?

I wrote and recorded Cherry Tongue mid pandemic, summer of 2020. I was seeing this girl and it was hopeless but i still loved her. Haha idk how else to put it. The lyrics aren’t particularly autobiographical or anything, more of an abstract stroke of emotion. The feeling of helplessness, and the pleasure that can come from leaning into that.

What was the creative and writing process like for “Cherry Tongue” was it different from “Future Days?”

I’d say the two songs came about quite differently. Cherry would have been written stoned sitting on the edge of my bed at 2am. Where as future days popped into my head on a bikeride one day. That one pretty much wrote itself in my head, I knew exactly where i wanted to go. Where as Cherry took a little more experimenting and prodding to find where i wanted to take it.

Was the recording process for “Cherry Tongue” any different from recent songs?

Cherry I recorded in the basement of the house I was at in Nashville during covid. Straight to tape on my 388 with some dubs to protools at my friend Kate’s house. Kate mixed the song and helped me track some bells and whistles, icing on the cake.

When creating music, what comes first? Music, or lyrics?

Music. Yeah I’m not much of a poet, although I do enjoy it when I have the time. But I would say I am a songwriter. Chords, melody, find words that fit. That’s pretty much the process. Let the melody lead me to the words.

What was your favorite part about creating and writing “Cherry Tongue”?

Recording. I love recording.

Has living in Brooklyn inspired your music at all?

Totally. I love living in the city. I feel challenged up here. But also like my quality of life has improved, just being around a bunch of creatives and feeling the energy of the city. I will say I get tired. Thats probably the hardest part, getting rest. But I find the balance where I can.

Who would you say are your main musical influences?

Phil Collins, Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, and Connan Mockasin.

What’s your favorite thing about being able to create music?

Getting lost and trying new things. Its a place to be free. That kinda goes back to the childhood wonderment thing. And the whole name of the project. Freedom.

You are classified as a dream-psych artist, is there any other genre you’d ever dip your feet in?

Yeah idk I kinda pulled dream-psych outta my ass. Its like two prefixes put together. Which allows me to avoid ever using words like “rock” or “pop” cuz like I said earlier, genre is bogus. “I don’t like labels” hahaha isn’t that what every musician says? But yeah I love Stoner Doom, Heavy Psych, and I’ve been yearning to create an Ambient record someday.

When creating music, do you ever listen to any bands or artists for inspiration?

Oh for sure. Constantly. I think whatever I’m listening to is going to bleed into my music.

What else can we expect from you this year?!

TONS OF SINGLES!!! I have so much music on my desktop that needs to come out its not even funny. It can honestly get overwhelming.

We’re always down to discover new music, who should we listen to right now?

Robert Lester Folsom, Pure X, Elecrelane, Emily Yacina, Chad VanGaalen, Dungen, Widowspeak…there’s too much!

Thanks for having me:)

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