Dreamer Boy is the musical project of Nashville native Zach Taylor. Dreamer Boy blends elements of bedroom pop, indie rock, and R&B to create effortlessly cool ear candy songs. His newest record ‘All the Ways We Are Together’ comes out this Earth Day, April 22nd. We sat down to talk to the artist before its release to get some insight into the making of the album, Taylor’s creative process, and his other philanthropic and artistic endeavors.
Hey Zach, how are you doing today?
Thanks for sitting down and chatting with us! We’re so excited to hear the new project ‘All The Ways We Are Together’
Oh yea thanks for having me! It’s so exciting, it’s crazy that it’s only a week away.
Well first off, I wondered if you could give us a little background on the making of ‘All The Ways We Are Together’ and what inspired you
Well, the name just came to me as a sentence one day. I was on a run one day and it kind of just fell out of the sky. That sentence just summed up a multitude of relationships and the stage of life I was in, where I was discovering my connection to everything and building my awareness. I probably started writing it when I was like 20 or 23 which is right around the time where you’re becoming more cognizant of the world around you and you’re able to see people and things more clearly. So, I was definitely inspired by a lot of my personal relationships but also more of an internal feeling. It was a really concentrated period of writing, but we made a bunch of different versions of each song to just explore them sonically.
And what does your songwriting process look like?
Yeah well, I keep a Journal that’s just full of scribbled lyrics, but the most helpful thing is making sure that I’m recording all the little flutters of thoughts that happen throughout the day because those usually turn into the best songs. I work with one of my best friends Bobby on all the production and our process varies from song to song. I’ll come into the studio with a few songs that have been inspiring for me and I’ll have some of the lyrics and then he helps me flesh it out with the instrumental. The first thing I do is mumble melodies over a track or guitar part and the lyrics kind of find their way. I really try to let my instincts come out when I first hear something.
Yea, and how do you think you’ve built up that instinct and honed that ability to know when it’s the track?
Yeah, I think you just have to get more and more familiar with the process over time so you can start to break down barriers and walls of insecurity. The more comfortable you are the more naturally honest things are going to come out. I try to take in what I’m inspired by and transform it into something new. I’m getting more comfortable with that process and setting myself up for success
And who are some of those influences for you?
Yeah, I’ll name a few that are sort of all-encompassing and who have really impacted me for life. Those artists would have to be George Harrison, Bon Iver, Toro Y Moi, Joni Mitchell, and James Taylor. First and foremost, I’m in love with songwriting, so James Taylor and Joni Mitchell are those people who I’m always aspiring to be like. I’m always trying to get to the root of a song especially when I listen to theirs. I think I’m kind of cautious about listening to new music. When I find a new artist, I tend to really really love them but there’s something so classic and iconic about those artists.
Yea, you talk about how much you love the art of songwriting itself, what does that process mean to you and how has it impacted who you are?
I think I’m just really in love with the power of it. It’s not that it gives me power necessarily, but there is such a power in songwriting. I know how much certain songs have meant to me and I just hope that I can make songs that have half the impact they did. Sometimes it’s one of those things where I don’t even want to take credit for the things that I write because it feels like it’s just coming through me like a gift. It doesn’t even have to be a super serious song to be impactful, but I just want to make music that connects people.
I’m also curious where the name Dreamer Boy came from?
Well, it doesn’t have a crazy story or anything but I was really liking the idea of putting out music under the name dreamer because I just felt like it was something I was resonating with and have always resonated with since I was a kid. I know I’ve always identified as a dreamer and I think I just wanted the name to be a mirror to people so that the art that I make inspires them to dream too
Did you always dream of being a musician?
I think I’ve been very fortunate in my life to just believe that anything is possible. At some points it was more focused on sports or at one point I even wanted to be a professional YouTuber or gamer or something. But I’ve always been creative and had a love of people and making relationships and connections. I feel like being a musician gives you such a unique opportunity to bring people together so I think that that’s what my underlying passion really is. There’s definitely things outside of music that I think I’m wanting to kind of expand on that passion through though.
And what are those?
Well, I’m in the early stages of making All the Ways We Are Together a community-based nonprofit that sort of takes the torch after this album and lives on as a separate entity. I’ve been starting small with people who already are a part of the community and using Instagram as a place to organize. We’re going to do some cool Earth Day initiatives which is the first thing I’m really trying to organize but we have a lot of ideas. I also had the idea of bringing local organizations on stage before shows so they get the exposure. I’m definitely passionate about the environment and helping communities so it’s really important to me to make sure that I connect people with resources. I’m building it with some really passionate friends of mine who I’m also writing with. They’re doing the real work but I’m just trying to empower them to do so and use my platform for good.
Yea I think that’s really beautiful the way you’re trying to allow the music to connect others.
I know you recently collaborated with Melanie Faye, what was that like?
I was such a big fan of hers for a long time! She’s from Nashville and three years ago I was working on the 1st dreamer boy album and I had her name written on the whiteboard of people I wanted on that album. Turns out it didn’t happen on the first album, but then we actually met at South by Southwest when we played the same showcase. After the set we got to talking and became friends and then when I was working on “Let’s Hold Hands” I was like oh my gosh Melanie definitely needs to be on this song. It definitely needed her vibrant guitar playing; she was so perfect for this. She came over to our studio and it was just the easiest collaboration and I loved how the track came out.
So who else was on the whiteboard! Do you have an all-time dream collaboration?
There’s definitely a lot of people that I would want to just be in the studio with and play them some tracks like Rick Rubin or Kanye. Being in a room with Kanye would be so cool to me, but more realistically I would love to work with the 1975 or Jack Antonoff.
Wanting to get Kanye’s feedback, that’s very brave is respect it!
Yeah, there’s definitely some artists I look up to where it goes beyond the music even. I just want to know what goes on in their brain and he’s definitely one of those figures that I just want to step in and get to know how he thinks.
I also know you’re one of the new faces of Tommy Jeans for spring/summer, what was working on that project like?
They gave me and my creative partner Adam, who does photography and video work for Dreamer Boy, a lot of creative control to just shoot our piece how we wanted to. We had so much fun doing it and I think it’s because the whole project had a really fun sense of collaboration with the brand. It was super cool to do that, especially with Tommy, because we both have vintage Tommy pieces that we love so dearly.
Are you really into vintage shopping/thrifting?
Yea I rarely buy anything new anymore unless it’s like shoes. But I’m definitely trying to get my wardrobe down to just my favorite pieces that are really well made and solid. I’m a big fan of staple pieces, like I wear my Nike Cortez’ all the time.
Do you have a favorite piece you’ve found?
Well, I can tell kind of a sad story. I found a beautiful vintage brown suit at a thrift store in Nashville, and it was a little big, but I could’ve easily gotten it altered. I was like, oh I’m not going to buy it today, but I think I’ll come back later. But there was a huge snowstorm in Nashville and I couldn’t leave my house for like a week, and when I went back it was gone! I really love a perfect vintage suit, so I was super bummed that I didn’t get it.
Truly the one who got away!
Finally, aside from the album release, what are you excited for in 2021?
I think I’m selfishly excited to get the album out so I can close that chapter and start to work on some of the other projects I’ve been developing like the nonprofit. I’m also trying to make a film this summer that I just started working on and I want to continue working on an album that we started writing in quarantine. Also with all of the progress being made with the pandemic I’m really hoping that shows can come back soon and we can start playing again.
Well it sounds like you have a lot of creative endeavors to keep you busy for the rest of the year! Zach, thanks again for talking to us. We can’t wait to hear ‘All the Ways We Are Together’ this Earth Day!
Thanks so much for having me!
‘All The Ways We Are Together’ is out on all streaming platforms April 22nd.