Toronto-based singer/songwriter Gwendolyn Lewis – better known as DYLYN – is yet to release her first album, but she already has a sold-out US tour on the books. On January 7th the postmodern chanteuse will kick off a six-week run of dates supporting indie rockers Mother Mother, who will be playing Theatre of Living Arts on Tuesday, February 1st. With a handful of EPs under her belt, DYLYN’s first full-length, The SIXTY90’s (inspired by her two favorite musical decades), is set to drop early next year, courtesy of Nettwerk Records. The album had DYLYN working with Mother Mother’s Ryan Guldemond and Parker Bossley (bassist for The Mounties and formerly Hot Hot Heat) in the role of producers, with each bringing out a favorite sound of the artist (Guldemond emphasizing ‘90s industrial and Bossley ‘60s pop rock). The album’s first single, “Hurt,” dropped last month and is reminiscent of a charmingly sleazy dance club banger from the era when both Depeche Mode and Nirvana were making notable splashes on Billboard’s charts. I recently got a chance to chat with DYLYN about her upcoming album, what can be expected of her live show, and a handful of her biggest inspirations.
Izzy: You’re going to be playing your first-ever US tour, which is already sold out, when you hit the road with Mother Mother early next year. Are there any cities you’re especially excited to visit or revisit?
DYLYN: I am so excited to get back out there! It is an absolute dream, and I am so grateful! So many great cities and venues on this tour! I am a massive fan of the road – ready for all of it.
Izzy: What can be expected of your live show when you play here at Theatre of Living Arts?
DYLYN: I am currently traveling with a band: guitar, bass, and drums. I will be playing a few tunes on a guitar as well. I’m known to jump around, thrash and expect a mountain of blonde hair flying all over the place. The majority of the set is high energy with a few intimate moments.
Izzy: I know you recently worked with Ryan Guldemond of Mother Mother on your single, “Hurt.” How was it working with him? Were you previously a fan of Mother Mother? I’m definitely a fan of theirs as well.
DYLYN: Funny enough, I listened to one of their records while recording my first EP with an old band. It is crazy how full circle it has been. Ryan is an incredible producer and songwriter – we have worked on many songs together, and the experience is nothing short of magical. His work ethic and passion have pushed me to be a better artist – it is truly inspiring. He’s the real deal.
Izzy: Considering that your musical career is still relatively new, what have been some of the highlights of it for you, so far?
DYLYN: The writing process over this past year has been an incredibly creative and humbling experience. A lot of magic, tears and hard work goes into 2 to 3 minutes of music. Grateful for the opportunity to complete a creative vision – excited to share that with the world. I’m excited to get out there on the road!
Izzy: Is there anything that you think is especially important for fans and potential fans to know about you?
DYLYN: I always pull from my life or truth – that is the best way to connect with songwriting. There is certainly a theme within my writing – “stars can’t shine without a little darkness.” I believe the hardest times in our life make us the beautiful people we are today, not the successes. I hope these songs evoke emotion and spark memories for listeners. Songs are made for the listener, not the artist.
Izzy: Your press release says, “If she stepped out of the screen of some long-lost David Lynch film about Lollapalooza 1993, no one would question it!” which is such a cool commentary. Do you have any favorite artists who partook in Lollapalooza 1993 or favorite David Lynch movies? (I think my answers would be Luscious Jackson and Alice In Chains and Eraserhead and Lost Highway.)
DYLYN: I would tend to agree with Alice In Chains – they have some great records. I’d even say RATM – nothing beats those mixes; they sound so massive, even today!
Izzy: Considering the year is almost over, have you had any favorite music of the year?
DYLYN: Being in such a record-making bubble, I haven’t been listening to anything new. I decided to go backwards – listened to a lot of 50s, 60s records – The Zombies, Everly Brothers. I leaned in on a lot of 90s: Breeders, PJ Harvey, and Pumpkins. Although my new favorite band would be Turnstile – sonically and visually, they got the whole thing—such massive energy both on the recordings and live show. Check them out!
Izzy: I understand that your debut LP is going to drop next year, I’m guessing after your US tour. What can be expected of the album, both in terms of sound and overall narrative?
DYLYN: I’ve decided to pull from my favorite eras: 60s, 70s, 90s, and new. You’ll find a lot of heavy guitars, thrashy vocals, old violins, and mellotrons. The record is raw, jagged, intimate, and vulnerable. Excited to let it out into the world 🙂
Izzy: Finally, not to detract from your music, but you also have a great sense of fashion. Who and what does that draw inspiration from? Who are some of your “style icons?”
DYLYN: I like to pull from some of the great women in music: Debbie Harry, Joan Jett, Patti Smith – they wore whatever they wanted. Leather, old, ripped shirts, crazy patterns – and very powerful energies to match.
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