Young Brother sounds like that bootleg tape you made when your favorite song came on the radio and you managed to record it in time. Dalton Diehl has been an accomplished songwriter for years, but as Young Brother, he abandons safe formulas, and trusts his instincts (and ears) instead.
His new single, “Kamikaze,” is an immediately engaging blend of pop and EDM. Some well-placed rough edges show Diehl’s artistic subtlety, and it’s no surprise that the song lends itself so well to remixes. Like much of the great music of the late ’80’s/early ’90’s, it’s an anthem to youth and exuberance. It’s catchy and rhythmic, and yet below the sheer force of the song’s energetic freefall, there’s a confident passion that makes Young Brother worth following.
NYMM: You’ve been a working musician for a while. How did that get started?
YB: I was in a band with some college friends, and we were in the Christian Music scene. Things were going really well. We were working with a big-name manager, and I was traveling from Kansas City to Nashville to write three weekends out of every month. I was taking so much time off of school to go write, that college just wasn’t working out. I went to my parents and told them that I was thinking of dropping out, and they totally supported me. They saw that I was passionate about it and was really going for it.
The band I was in did well and had two songs in the top five on Christian radio. I always knew that Christian Music was not where I wanted to land permanently. A lot of the songs I was writing were things that wouldn’t work for the band or market I was in. We eventually quit and I starting writing more and more. It was almost starting over, because I was breaking away from the Christian music market.
NYMM: When was Young Brother born?
YB: The day we wrote “Kamikaze.” It was such a different sound from anything else I had ever written. I was working with a new producer and there was a tangibly different feeling to it. I’m still trying to figure out what Young Brother is, but I think it’s ok to fly by the seat of your pants a little. It could be anything at this point, which is both really freeing and really scary. I’ve signed a co-publishing deal, so I’ve been doing a lot of writing with other people. It’s been a great thing and helps me as a writer and an artist, but it also makes it hard to know for sure what is a Young Brother song and what isn’t.
Right now, I’m not trying to put a stake in the ground saying who I am. I’m still searching out where I fit and where my place will be. For now, I’ve been going with this old school, late ’80’s/early ’90’s vibe. Honestly, some of it even has an ’N Sync feel to it. I’m ok with that. That’s what I grew up with and the era I was in when I fell in love with music.
NYMM: Tell me about putting together the EP.
YB: In my case, the guy who produced the album co-wrote everything with me. Sometimes you go into a writing session and neither of you are capable of putting together a ready-to-release master. In this case, his demos sounded like something that could be put out right away. It allowed us to get really creative during the songwriting process. I got tired of writing on an acoustic guitar and guessing what things would eventually sound like. Most of the sounds we used on the demo for “Kamikaze” stayed on the final product. It helps to have the same people working on the final product. Sometimes you hear about a person going into the studio and coming out with something they’re not really happy with. That doesn’t happen as much when you’re working with the same people from start to finish.
NYMM: How did the remix come about?
YB: I had the idea early on about trying to get “Kamikaze” remixed. I went onto The Hype Machine and contacted several of those people. The followings on SoundCloud are so strong within the remix scene, that you can get a lot of spins just by working with these guys. It’s a great way to get some additional buzz.
NYMM: With this type of music, what are your thoughts on live performances?
YB: I’m not afraid to use backing tracks live. Lorde opened a whole new approach to doing pop music live. She uses additional vocal tracks everywhere. She tore down the walls of people judging bands that use tracks. People used to look down at that. I think about a live show as a whole different experience from the album. I may work a remix in there. I don’t want it to feel like a rock band at all. That’s where I came from and that’s not what this is.
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