Dallon Weekes – iDKHOW ‘New Challenges, Different Paths & Fun First Philosophies’

The new year has brought with it a string of new challenges and personal goals for our fav musicians and if you’ve been a supporter of Dallon Weekes since the earliest conception of his career back in the Panic! @ The Disco days, then chances are you’re all over his new band with Ryan Seaman like a crowd surfer at a music festival.

I Don’t Know How but They Found Me aka iDKHOW is a fresh, alternative rock offering that is Dallon showing off his career in the music industry and proving he is more than capable to head off on his own, to do things his own way and the evidence is proven with what we’ve heard so far from their forthcoming album Razzmatazz which is out on Friday 23rd October.

We caught up with the man in question to chat about his project, how he’s dealt with COVID and how he plans to step out of the spotlight of his former self and take control of his musician endeavours…

Hi Dallon, thanks for taking the time out to chat! How are you doing in this incredibly weird time?

I’m good. You know, we’re trying our best to stay safe and stay positive. Sometimes it can be challenging because there seems to be this weird stress and paranoia that surrounds everything every day. So sometimes it weighs heavier on you than other days.

Well staying on the positive side, picked up any new hobbies?

Oh, new hobbies? No, not really. Mostly I’ve just been getting lost in the chaos that surrounds the release of a new record or a new song. So we’ve, we’ve been dealing with that, all the while trying to not just stay safe ourselves, but to keep my wife and kids safe and healthy too. So a lot of chaos, but we’re busy.

What came first: the Back to the Future quote for a name or the 80’s inspired sound/look?

The name came first, actually, the concept behind the way that we have presented our music didn’t come till later. But the first year or so that we were starting out, we would operate in secret, book shows at random and just completely deny that we even existed at all. So that phrase… I always wanted to use that phrase for something, whether it was a song lyric or title, or whatever. So when we started booking shows in secret, it sort of seemed to fit that whole MO. So the name came first.

Now as someone who played The Brobecks’ Violent Things CD so much it started to periodically jump, seeing you and Ryan play together again was definitely exciting. How did the reunion come about?

Yeah, we’ve always kept in contact since Brobecks days. Life and new careers take you on different paths, but we always stayed in contact and it seems like any time I ended up making a demo or recording on the side, Ryan was always my go to guy that I would call up to do drums. And so whenever I started recording, iDKHOW songs I kept calling him to come in.

And the more we got hanging out, the more we were like, man, we should book a show, just don’t tell anyone, just go do it for ourselves and have fun playing these songs. It’s kinda started out that way. So it was all very organic,  no real plan to take over the world or to even let anybody know what we were doing.

Coming from The Brobecks to iDKHOW, what would you say you brought with you and what would you say is completely unique to this project?

Well, I think in iDKHOW there’s definitely a handful of artists and influences that I think took a little bit of a step forward; Artists that I still loved back when I did the Brobecks, but I think things like artists like Bowie, Sparks, Queen, Elvis Costello and bands like that sort of inched a little bit more forward when I was writing for, iDKHOW. I don’t think my writing is intentionally trying to be like a departure from anything that I did in Brobecks I just think that change sort of creeps its way in over time. It has been a while since I had written anything with Brobecks in mind, but I don’t try to pay attention to the Sonics of everything. I just try to write what comes naturally.

Did switching into the role of frontman again come naturally or did it take a second to get used to?

No, no. It took a while to sort of find myself again in that role. I think that was true for Ryan as well. I think when you’re hired to play in someone’s band, you have to fill the role that they assigned you to. The longer I was in Panic, the more restricted that role became, you know, sort of relegated to the side of the stage and getting pushed more to the side and more rules. You’re not allowed to move over or talk or anything. So, creating music became more of a job than anything else. For Ryan and I, I think we both had the same philosophy that this is supposed to be fun first, and if it’s not fun, then you need to change something.

What do you find more fun then? The making of the music or playing shows?

Playing shows is 100% more fun than making records. I think it’s because getting recordings to sound the way that they do in my head can be a bit of a challenge sometimes, especially because my recording knowledge is pretty limited as I only started learning how to record on my own in the past two years or so. So we always have to, at some point, bring in someone who knows what they’re doing behind the console and trying to explain to them, the things that I hear is almost like speaking a language that no one else understands sometimes. So it can be frustrating that process can take a long time to navigate and in order to get from the thing that’s in your head to the final product. It can be a bit of a challenge and it can take a long time, but being in front of people and playing those songs is instantaneous. If that makes sense.

In each project you’ve been a part of, you seem very comfortable being super theatrical. Where would you say that comes from?

I mean, I loved musicals and stuff growing up, but I was always so introverted and shy. I never really, I guess performing on stage is the place where I’ve been able to be more myself than anywhere else, or at least like an amplified version of myself. If you know what I mean? For someone who’s an introvert by nature, I think it’s kind of like, it’s unlocking that part of yourself that you’re sort of afraid to let out of its cage, but when you’re on stage, like that’s the one place that it’s alright for you to unlock it and let it to strut around for a little bit.

When did you figure out you wanted to play music? Who inspired you growing up?

Well, I always knew that I wanted to, from the time I was like three or four years old, I remember telling my parents that I wanted a guitar and I didn’t even really know what it was or what it did. I just knew that I wanted one. I saw one in the Op shop window. But I grew up with that desire, although it never really had the chance to shape until I was about 15 or so, right around the same time that I was falling in love with the Beatles for the first time I became obsessed with them and wanted to learn every Beatles song. So I finally bought a guitar at a pawn shop and I guess that’s where it all began.

What are you most excited to show people with this new album?

The title track really, ‘Razzmatazz’. It was the last track that we wrote. I think we put it together while we were in the studio, and it’s my favourite on the whole record. I can’t wait for people to hear that one.

What does the typical songwriting process look like for iDKHOW and has that changed between the EP and Razzmatazz?

You know, the process hasn’t changed and that’s because there is no process really; I try sometimes to sit down and like force a song to happen and it never works out. Every song that ends up being on a record usually starts at like three in the morning when I’m trying to sleep or when I’m mowing my lawn or doing something else. And my mind starts to wander. I feel like it’s got to come from somewhere else first. I feel like I can never force the song into existence. Just kind of has to have a Genesis of its own. I feel like. So there isn’t a real process. Sometimes it starts with the lyrics. Sometimes it starts with a baseline or a melody or a beat or a sound even.

I guess with that and with your experience in the industry, are you ever able to anticipate what fans will grab on to?

I just sort of take things as they come and I try not to limit myself when I’m writing. More than anything. I try to take myself off the leash and get weird ideas because I tend to like things that are a little bit left of centre. But I mean, everything that we do, it still has sort of a pop foundation to it, but like I said, things that are a little bit, a little bit more weird, I tend to enjoy more.

Were there any songs that were particularly easy or difficult to finish?

No, we had a really great producer on this record. His name is Tim Pagnotta, and he really helped guide us through all of the weird things that I wanted to do and I was really grateful for that because every time I had an opportunity to be in a recording studio, which has been very few and far between, I want to use every single minute, every single moment in that space and do every weird thing that’s on my mind. Otherwise I’m going to have like the question mark hanging over the song when it’s all said and done and think “Why didn’t I try this?”

Even if I’m wrong about the thing that I wanted to try, if I didn’t do it, then I would always always wonder. So Tim was there to sort of allow me to get weird and see if things worked and when they did work and it was great and wonderful, I ended up using it. If it didn’t work, then we were able to go “Okay that wasn’t it. But at least we got to try it,”

Are we to expect any pandemic or cabin fever related tracks? 

You know, not quite, maybe in the next one, because this record was pretty much written for a while. The 1981 EP was meant to be part of this record as well. We just never had an opportunity to record a proper full length until we did Razzmatazz. So we had a set of songs that we knew we wanted to make a record out of. Then, we did the EP first just to get something out into the world. And when we went in to record this full length, we had written a couple new ones in the studio to add to it, but that was back in February. I think by the time that we  finished tracking the record, that’s when COVID-19 started to appear in the U S so it was before lockdown, before all that stuff. So I had to go home, and by that time is when all of the shutdowns started passing, so we had to mix the record via email going back and forth and back and forth, dozens and dozens and dozens of times. So that kind of made the process a little bit more difficult and delayed things a little bit more, but grateful that we’re finally at a point where we can start getting this thing out to the world.

Now obviously international travel is not on the cards for a while for anyone, but do we think that iDKHOW will grace the sunny shores of Australia at some point on this new album?

Man, I certainly hope so. I miss Australia. I think it’s beautiful there. I love it. One of my favorite comedy groups comes out of Australia. They’re called Auntie Donna and  they’re amazing. I want to be able to come back there as soon as humanly possible.

Well, I can guarantee you Australia loves you as well. So fingers crossed that will be soon!

And we’re keeping them crossed over here too.

Interview by Bree Vane @Briebrebree

iDKHOW release their debut album, Razzmatazz on October 23rd via Fearless Records.
Pre-orders are here.

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iDKHOW – Razzmatazz tracklisting:

1. Leave Me Alone
2. Indoctrination
3. Mad IQs
4. Nobody Likes The Opening Band
5. New Invention
6. From The Gallows
7. Clusterhug
8. Sugar Pills
9. Kiss Goodnight
10. Lights Go Down
11. Need You Here
12. Door
13. Tomorrow People
14. Razzmatazz

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