Graphic by Tuana Özcan, photo by Rob Lucchesi
Can you feel that change?
Can you feel that change
There’s something to be said about simplistic writing. Sure, everyone wants to be the next Elton John, and write a 17-act rock opera that will change the face of music and thus the song writing landscape. And while the imagination is limitless, it’s hard to put that movie in your mind into words sometimes, hence the timeless advice given to all that dare to make their living putting words on the page- write what you know. However, when it comes to indie music, pop, rock, what have you, we get caught up in trying to set ourselves apart, make our music more intricate, make our lyrics more introspective, put together some grand, masturbatory celebration of our perceived triumphs in the field. Outside all that indie bullshit, there exists a people that don’t make music because they think audiences have to hear what they have to say. They make music because they need to, for themselves and for the kindred spirits that stumble drunkenly through their Discover Weekly, because they just know, they just know what the collective consciousness is thinking. That’s where Dayglow finds himself.
On November 1st, I had the opportunity to sit down with the aforementioned artist. Unfortunately, following the call, my Zoom data decided to deep fry itself, and I lost the entire interview and all my recordings from months prior, so I can’t give specifics on the interview. However, what I can say, and I’m so so sorry for the super gross and cliched shit I’m about to say, but he’s just a guy! That’s Sloan Struble from Aledo, Texas. He’s a Longhorn, like his dad, he listens to The Beths, he doesn’t have TikTok, he was bummed he didn’t get to play closer to his hometown but he still got to play in Austin during the first leg of his North American tour. During our chat, we talked about touring and his latest album, People in Motion. We talked about the Steve Lacy debacle and social media tightening its grip on the industry, we talked about Australian and New Zealand rock, The Wiggles cover album, and what he’s listening to these days.
Now, I’ve been listening to this guy since “Can I Call You Tonight?” was just a single, just a killer, mind-blowingly dancey indie rock song with a silly music video- just the right mixture for a young, impressionable high school junior. On that note, having the opportunity to talk to one of those influences that shaped your high school experience is something you don't expect to happen everyday, and for them to be this on-the-ground joy of a conversationalist on top of that. But even after all these years, this was my first time seeing Dayglow live, Ritt Momney, the evening's opener, hadn't even come on stage yet, and I was already feeling right at home.
The crowd was alive from the moment the doors opened. Small talk and laughter were ricocheting off the deceivingly towering ceilings of Terminal 5. It was a packed house on November 17th, a sold-out molten cauldron of a crowd. The ironic indie kids showed out in suits and ties, the goths were squeaking around in their latex pants, the preps stuck out like a sore thumb wearing every pastel North Face quarter-zip they owned- if you didn't know any better, you'd think it was a Simple Minds reunion tour in there (if you didn't get that joke, The Breakfast Club is available for rent on Amazon). But there was no bad blood anywhere in the room- and I checked! Just listen to these satisfied customers!
What is Dayglow to you?
Matthew, making goo-goo eyes at Grace: A chance to hang out with my good friend over here.
Grace, there with Matthew: Yeah, we’re both from this city so we met up.
Gabe, who was there for Death Grips: Who’s Dayglow? I’m here for Death Grips.
Mason, had the sickest fingerless gloves: Good vibe music, feel good music a lot of the time. It’s how I made a lot of connections with some friends as well, over a shared taste in music. That’s why we’re all here together.
Except for that guy.
Gabe, still there for Death Grips: Nah, I’m here for Death Grips.
Mason: Yeah, we don’t know him. He just kind of followed us in.
Gabe, still not there for Dayglow: I just showed them a barcode on the back of a Coca-Cola can and they let me in.
What does live music mean to you?
Death Grips, f.k.a. Gabe: I want my ears to bleed. That’s all I want.
Matthew: You get some bad experiences, but overall it's just a fun night for everyone to be together, and you meet people like this who just interview you.
On the spot!
Grace: Yeah, talking to strangers, and pretending like you’ve been friends for years.
Do you think it brings people together or is it just a good time all around?
Death Grips: Just a good time all around.
Maggie, frightened by Death Grips: I think it’s a little bit of both.
What’s your favorite Dayglow song?
Death Grips: Dayglow? “Junior Varsity,” that song is amazing. Death Grips? “Giving Bad People Good Ideas.”
Mason: I was gonna say “Listerine!”
Maggie: If she was gonna say Listerine, I’ll say “Hot Rod.”
Mason: I was gonna say Hot Rod, you took my top two! As a third, I think I’d have to say “Close to You.”
Grace: Probably still “Run the World!!!”
Matthew: I think mine’s “Listerine” right now.
At first glance, these are quotes you could slap onto any artist, any show, but tone and inflection don't exactly translate onto transcripts. Dayglow is a music about the people we meet, and the pit only further solidified that, and finally cemented and made a landmark in my memory by the emotionally charged performance of "Junior Varisty" just six songs into the set. New changes, new challenges, new and old relationships evolving into something new, every song is a new day that we've trudged through. Is he the Shakespeare of indie rock? Not by any stretch, but he doesn't need to be. He's a guy thats had adventures, a guy that's been through the storm- a man of the people, and a showman by nature.
He came on stage swinging with "Radio." He addressed the crowd after every song, he thanked the crowd and danced the night away, and even managed to procure a little snack baggie of Goldfish during the first leg of the set. The real kicker though was the seamless transitions into the covers throughout the show. First, "Run the World!!!" into a bitchin' rendition of Daft Punk's "Robot Rock," then "How Do You Know?", off his new album, into everyone's favorite song, "Funkytown." But the real clincher was his absolutely brilliant segue into Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al" from "Stops Making Sense." From there, he played a couple more of the slower songs- "Like She Does," "Fuzzybrain," Turn Around"- before diving into the last leg of the show with "Deep End." At this point, I'd left the pit and began wandering around the rest of the venue, checking out the upstairs, making sure it wasn't an isolated event down on Terminal 5's ground zero. The second and third floors only continued and bolstered the entrancing effects of a slick guitar run and surround-sound synth waves, further amplified by a young man who's never been afraid to dance. Patrons were falling up and down the stairs, dancing until their heels gave out from underneath them, or at least until their dates stopped trying to play it cool and got fucking jiggy! Even the members of Ritt Momney were seen running around near the bars and on the railings.
And then he played "Listerine" and "Can I Call You Tonight?"
You always save the hits for last, always. But the way the room came together in that moment, for those nine minutes alone, was enough to make even the toughest stick in the mud cut loose and scream those lyrics until their vocal cords ran dry. For just a moment, for that fleeting and futile moment, I saw everyone in that building as lil' ol' high school me. Just a couple of punk kids staring at the ceiling in their rooms, music pumping through their headphones, letting their imaginations and all their fantasies run wild. That's what Dayglow is. That's what the magic of Dayglow is. It's that little nugget of awareness, that ability to take everything in and see the bigger picture and our place in it. It's that feeling of cleaning out the fuzz in your brain, time and time again. Finding peace within, and finally finding the strength to look outward. Thus concluding today's lesson.