Artist Interview – Dylan Montayne
Introducing our 2017 Song Contest Grand Prize Winner, Dylan Montayne. Dylan Montayne is an independent hip-hop and reggae artist from Santa Fe, New Mexico, currently based in Denver, CO.
His winning song contest entry, “Blow My High” (Prod. by Sean Divine & Jurd Beats), impressed our production team with it’s unique, reggae-inspired approach. Check out our interview with Dylan below!
How long have you been writing and performing your music?
I’ve been a musician as long as I can remember. Started with drums at age 5, and took that pretty seriously through college. As far as the hip-hop stuff goes, I had always rapped for fun, but really only started recording songs and doing shows in college. I decided after college to pursue it in a more serious way, and it’s just grown from there. It’s been a long road though, lots of ups and downs for sure.
Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
Man, I listen to a really, REALLY wide range of stuff. Growing up, my mom would be listening to Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, all the way to more current pop/R&B artists like Usher and Lauryn Hill. Then I’d go to my dad’s house and hear Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, Dave Matthews Band. It was my older brother who really introduced me to rap, showing me 2Pac, Nas, all the greats. So, I guess I’m influenced by all of that. I think too many rappers only listen to rap, and it shows in their music.
How do you decide what production to use for your songs? Are you inspired by the beat first or do you have pre-written lyrics? Describe your creative process.
It depends on the song. Sometimes, I’ll hear a beat and have an entire song written in 15 minutes. Other times, I’ll sit on a beat for months, and just put it on from time to time to vibe out and see if anything comes. I’m pretty selective of the beats I use though, has to be quality stuff. I tend to lean towards more organic, live instrumentation beats, but not against hopping on an EDM track or whatever. Definitely dig Divine Tracks!
We noticed you’re from Denver? What is the local music scene like in your area?
So, I grew up in New Mexico, but I’ve been living in Denver for about 4 years. I moved here for the music scene. Denver is a really creative, art-friendly city. It’s a special place because the scene really supports their artists. Whether it’s fine art, music, filmmaking, photography – you feel welcome in Denver. I think that’s a big reason so many successful bands and musicians have come out of here in recent years. The scene really propels great artists forward.
Yes, those are my homies Reve Kalell and Nema. They are both in a band called SkyLaw, which is coming out with some new music soon. Crazy good, dedicated musicians. I definitely like collaborating, especially in different genres of music. I’ve done stuff with rock bands, reggae bands, pop artists, etc. It’s fun to take on different styles. For features and collaborations, hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll chop it up.
What are the primary goals you would like to achieve in your music career over the next 5 years?
I want to be playing big huge gigantic stages, every single night, all over the world.
What do you think are some of the biggest challenges (and advantages) artists and songwriters have in the new era of the music industry?
Everyone can make music, because of the access to technology. That can be a pro and/or a con, depending on how you look at it. It means that anyone with the will to write and record songs can do it, but that also leads to a really saturated market. Listeners have to wade through a lot more music to find those gems. It’s a lot harder to gain momentum and keep it, because by the time your song comes out, the listener has 10,000 new songs to listen to as well. Musicians these days just have to keep dropping more and more content to keep people interested. It’s a never ending grind.
What is some advice you would give to songwriters who are just starting out?
The mistake I made was putting my music on the internet before it was ready. I was so eager to show the world what I could do, that I put out a lot of really, really bad music. The advice I would give to someone starting out would be to take your time with your craft, make sure it’s ready before you start pushing it out.
Where can listeners find more of your music?
YouTube is the best place to start, my channel is https://www.youtube.com/dylanmontayne. I also have one EP out on Spotify and iTunes, just search “Dylan Montayne”.
Any other projects we should look out for?
I’ve got a 6-track EP coming out in June, which is a joint effort with Reve Kalell. That project is crazy. After that I’m working on my solo project. Follow me @dylanmontayne on all forms of social media and keep an eye out!