Introducing: D. J. Walloon Dickson
I caught up with D. J. Walloon Dickson to talk about his debut single 'Between Dakar and Casablanca'.
'Between Dakar and Casablanca' is the debut single from folkie D.J. Walloon Dickson, a student, artist, and poetaster from East Sussex.
His debut single is a stark yet beautiful journey that combines minimal instrumentation with a powerful yet vulnerable vocal delivery, which feels perfect for a dark winter's evening.
An impressive self-produced and self-released debut that harnesses the transportative power of lyrics, mesmerising the listener and leaving you with an indescribable yearning to travel, anywhere.
Hey Dillon, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. As ‘Between Dakar and Casablanca’ is your debut single, it would be great to find out a little bit more about you; how long have you been making music and what previous artist endeavours have you been involved in?
Thanks for (virtually) having me! Around the autumn and early winter of 2020 I properly started writing my own material as part of a creative binge I felt like I needed to get out of my system during the lockdown. My only other experience in music, prior to now, was when me and my mates used to butcher Nirvana and Sonic Youth covers in the school music rooms (which, looking back, I’d kill to be able to do again now!).
Your voice feels wise and old, yet carries such vulnerability. Could you tell us a little more about your vocal inspirations?
That’s very kind! I think the secret is to not put too much effort into it and just deliver them however it feels most naturally. In terms of inspiration, Leonard Cohen and Tim Buckley are two I definitely look to. Cohen’s half-sung/half-spoken approach and Buckley’s thing where he changes pitch very randomly have always inspired me (although my falsetto definitely needs some work).
Lyrically I found the track very striking – can you talk us through some of the themes touched upon and what the lyrics mean to you?
I’m a sucker for history and I like to frame whatever I’m writing the song about around a historical event/theme. ‘Between Dakar and Casablanca’, at its core, is about loneliness but framed around the story of the extinct Barbary lion. All throughout history they were being constantly killed off, by the Romans, the French in Algeria etc. It’s a story that is so hopelessly lonely! But the song isn’t an ode to the lion or anything. I’m not trying to right the wrongs of history; I just find it interesting.
In terms of the arrangement, your debut single has a real sense of linear progression with a defining feel of forward momentum. Could you talk us through the instrumentation on the track?
‘Between Dakar and Casablanca’ is certainly one of the most sparse tunes I’ve put together. I was definitely drawn to the theatrics of keeping it simple right up until the blaring, obnoxious noise guitar part comes in at the end.
As a fellow self-recording enthusiast, I’d love to hear a bit more about the recording process. How did you approach the track and what gear did you use?
I’d like to say I take a really grungy, budget approach – which in terms of software is true (I use the free Cakewalk DAW and free VST’s and a very cheap mic) – but I did recently splurge my entire life savings on guitar gear. The acoustic in the track is a new Ibanez and it is certainly a step up from the dubiously unbranded charity shop guitar I was using beforehand. Regardless, a DIY approach is something I’m very passionate about and the huge amount of quality free plugins you can find online has definitely fuelled this.
What’s next for you artistically, creatively and musically? Do you have more releases planned for 2021?
Yes! I’m sitting on some material which both my parents have described as ‘okay’, so definitely watch this space!
I am looking to get in touch with some indie labels to see if I can take it all up a level. If that goes south, I’ll keep on putting stuff out by myself. I’m happy either way. Expect new music in some form soon!
‘Between Dakar and Casablanca’ is out now and is available on all your favourite streaming haunts.