The Grapevine Questionnaire: Dylan Menzie
By Susan Wedlock
Dylan Menzie is a bright new face in the world of Canadian musicians. With a huge, rich voice and killer band, Dylan will be one to watch. Although often compared to the likes of Springsteen and Fleet Foxes, Dylan is an original. You can check him out at the Evergreen Theatre on March 18. Tickets available at evergreentheatre.ca or call 902-825-6834.
Dylan you grew up in Belle River, PEI. What was that like?
Dylan Menzie (DM): I loved growing up in Belle River. It’s a small community just outside of Wood Islands (where the ferry between Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia runs) and while I was growing up there, there were a lot of kids in that area interested in the same things as me. The Majority of the Paper Lions members also grew up around that area along with Owen Steel, WhaleSkin, and most of the members of Coyote just to name a few.
Is PEI a good place to be a musician or do you feel the need to move to a bigger city?
DM: I’ve never felt the NEED to move away from PEI because I was missing out on opportunities, but I have wanted to move a few times. It’s an extremely small population, especially if you barely leave Charlottetown, so there’s a lot of small town politics at play. As much as I love PEI it’s definitely nice to get away from it sometimes.
What was your first ”big break”?
DM: That’s a hard one to answer, mostly because I’m the type of person who forgets about what has already happened and just keeps moving forward. I will say that CBC has been a giant help in the past year.
The song “Kenya” is arguably your biggest hit. How did you write that?
DM: Writing songs is always a long process, “Kenya” probably took a few months to write so I only remember little flashbacks of coming up with certain parts. I do remember the night I finished it though. I had a show at a bar in Charlottetown called Hunters. I was opening up for a local band, I can’t remember which one but, I was so excited about it when it was finally done, that I played it that night. It went over pretty well I think. Although the song has changed a lot since that night even still.
Is there one person who has really helped you develop as a musician?
DM: I can’t think of one person in particular. I really get inspired by other artists on the east coast. Looking at acts like Wintersleep, Hey Rosetta!, Jenn Grant, etc. Seeing the shows that they put on really gets my adrenaline pumping and reignites that spark to want it for myself.
You are compared to Joel Plaskett a lot. Are you OK with that?
DM: I have no problem getting compared to Joel. It’s a normal reaction to compare something new to someone you’ve heard before. It gives context when explaining it to people that haven’t heard the music. You give them a setup to see if it’s in the wheelhouse of what they would listen to, something to ease them into it.
What are you working on right now?
DM: Right now I’m kind of all over the place. I’m working on a new album; I just recently got into writing songs specifically for movies, TV, and video games; and I’m also really into writing instrumental tracks at the moment. I like to keep my creative options open, so when I get to that moment when I’m tearing my hair out thinking about lyrics for the new album, I can step back from it yet still have something else to work on.
You have received 8 nominations for Music PEI 2017 and 2 for the East Coast Music Awards, how does that feel?
DM: It feels amazing, especially since there are so many friends nominated with me. Every year I get excited about the ECMAs. It’s nice to see so many familiar faces – some of which I only ever see during that event. It’s the same with the Music PEI awards but the faces are even more familiar.
If you could collaborate with anyone who would you pick?
DM: I’m a giant fan of Bahamas; I love Afie’s songwriting and I’ve always wanted to write a stripped down, laid back album. If I could work with anyone it would be him.
If you couldn’t be a musician what other career would you like to pursue?
DM: Well, I really love taking pictures and making music videos so I could definitely see myself trying photography professionally in some shape or form. I may just do it anyway.