Drawing on his musical knowledge as a music therapist, Dylan Bressler is keeping listeners captivated with his album Plastic Knife. Covering everything and nothing through the tracks, he touches on a different topic with each track while bringing it all together for a cohesive whole. Playing all the instruments himself, he pours his personality into each note and gives you something to look forward to. We had the chance to chat with Dylan Bressler about the album, lead tracks, working as a music therapist, creating cohesive wholes and much more!
OSR: Was there a moment or experience that made you realise you wanted to make music?
Bressler: I started playing music in 2002, my friends started getting their first guitars, and my dad gave me his bass. I was watching a lot of rock and pop music videos on TV, and was intrigued. I wanted to do it. I played every day. I learned songs from my friends who were taking lessons and tried to play with as many people as possible.
OSR: Your latest album Plastic Knife is fun and energetic, but can you tell us about the backstory or overall theme?
Bressler: The overall theme was life. Life is full of changes, contrast, dynamics, styles, time and place. I wrote these songs in different areas of the world. Some songs were in New York, Florida, California, and also some songs were written in Tel Aviv, Israel, Paris, France, and London, England. It is a combination of my life experiences from that point.
OSR: You worked as a music therapist for years, how do you feel this has affected the music you make?
Bressler: Working in the field of music therapy really gave me an opportunity to try different things musically, work with a bunch of musicians, and not be afraid to do or say something. It gave me confidence in my music.
OSR: The music on the album ranges from alternative rock to noise rock and punk rock. Is this something that you worked at or did it happen more organically?
Bressler: I find it weird when a band has 4 members, but all their music sounds exactly the same. I am just one person, playing all of the instruments, and having a wide range of styles. I listen to a lot of different music, and I took a lot of those influences and just made these songs. I didn’t think to write songs differently, it was just an organic process.
OSR: What was your creative process for the album? Did you start with a single track or map out the album as a whole?
Bressler: I had the entire album mapped out. I first wrote the 12 songs, and made a demo of them on my computer. Then when the recording process started, I recorded all of the drums in 2 days. I then did all of the guitars, matching same tones to different songs. I then did the bass. I had a few friends play some guitar solos, bass, violin, trumpet, keys and percussion. Lastly I sang all of the songs. This album was mixed by OK Go drummer, Dan Konopka
OSR: The title track ‘Plastic Knife’ is a combination of three separate songs. What prompted you to do this?
Bressler: I wrote 3 different songs, that I really enjoyed, and needed a way to combine them to basically encompass what the album is about. It is sporadic, fun, heavy, soft and covers all of these dynamics, it sets the tone for the album and the style of music I am making.
OSR: Each track on the album has a different feeling to it. Did you find this easy to achieve while retaining the cohesion of the album?
Bressler: It was easy for me to express these different sounds and styles because I was just playing music the same way I always do. I was not playing anything out of my skill level. It was challenging to get the part right and played perfect for the album, but style-wise, I just do what I always do. This is my 5th solo album, so I have been doing this for a while, and I understand what I am going for. Also, making demos of the songs really help.
OSR: You played all the instruments on the album yourself and recorded it in a garage studio, but what was the biggest challenge you had to overcome when doing this?
Bressler: The biggest challenge was working a full time job on top of recording. I would work from 8 am to 4 pm. I would then be in the studio everyday from 6pm to midnight or later. Also singing 12 songs is very difficult, with additional harmonies and different singing styles. After I recorded all of the music, I did some traveling to Europe. When I came back, I finished up all of my vocal tracks.
OSR: There is a lot of clever lyricism throughout the album, but what influences the music you make the most?
Bressler: Each song is about something different, but it’s all about something I know. All the lyrics are true, just put into a story. Some of these songs, lyrically, have become more true in my life today, after the songs have already been written. They may change meaning, or take on a different meaning.
OSR: If people could listen to only one song from the album, which would you recommend and why?
Bressler: The song ‘Plastic Knife’, the energy and style changes pretty much sums up the record. However, the rest of the album has some cool stuff going on.
OSR: What else can we expect from you in the next 12 months?
Bressler: I am going back to the studio November 2021, recording another full length album. I have a lot of new material, I have a lot on my mind, and I have a lot to say. I released 3 albums in 2021, and I am not done. I plan to make more music, more content, and continue to write more new songs. I really enjoy when I have something new to show.