Sound studio

Dijon wants their Scrappy sound to be more than just a vibe

Another contradictory idea: the record may be conceptual and character driven, but it’s also a true reflection of Dijon as an artist and a person. Each line is not directly transposed from its real life, and yet it is not pure fiction either. Much of the album deals with the complications of a rocky relationship, and he tells me that during the recording he and his girlfriend Joanie were separated for a while. It’s not hard to notice that he directly refers to her by name on a few songs. “I could get down on my knees, Joanna please,” he pleads on the “Big Mike’s” opener. “Are you going to take me?” In November, just a few weeks after AbsoutelyAt the exit of, Dijon made good on this line and proposed. She said yes.

Looking ahead to his next tour, he feels better prepared. Self-preservation is paramount. Instead of ruining his voice every night on stage, he started working with a vocal coach to help make the performance more sustainable. He packs running shoes in his suitcase and books hotels with gyms this time. He seeks to retain the devilish excitement he harnessed while making the album and performance videos. “Even though it’s a mess, it’s a little better,” he says. “There’s a basic level of pure enjoyment now because the music isn’t just me anymore. I feel like I’m lucid for the first time.

Pitchfork: One of the most heartbreaking vocal performances of Absoutely is “Rodeo Clown”, but it’s also the song with the most character. You ostensibly sing from the perspective of a woman who has been abandoned by a bull rider.

Dijon: “Rodeo Clown” is a moving song, but I try to write outside of myself. Not everything is a personal experience. It’s fiction – even my performance is fiction. I was very inspired by ODB, and he was very present in the role. I’m not an actor and I could never do this, but I’ve been wondering for a while: can I apply as a musician? When I listened to this vocal take, I was like, “This rawness is real, but constructed.”

It sounds like you’re crying towards the end of the song. How real is it?

Oh it was real, because I was really exhausted. It was 7 o’clock in the morning. I was actually drunk. I was actually punishing myself, recording a take over and over and over so many times that some of the images in the song came true. I just got so sad, thinking, What if I was that person? It was also a eureka moment on the record: This is how I do it. If it’s not about me, even in my own limited understanding of the world, try to go as deep into it as possible, by all means, even though I’ve learned that I need to find healthier ways to do it. But I was trying to be as empathetic and compassionate as possible in a narrative that wasn’t necessarily about me. I feel so comfortable performing this song so authentically, and it has nothing to do with anything specific in my life outside of a spiritual connection to it.

Regarding how people reacted to your music in the past, did you ever get tired of the fetishization of authenticity?

It creaks after a while. With something like “Rodeo Clown”, the reaction is “Oh, he’s so genuine” or “I’m so into my feelings”, when the real reaction should probably be “Hey, maybe that person is wrong Good .”

It can feel like listeners are programmed to want to hear someone breaking the bank in a song.

That’s the big question: why do people like songs like “Rodeo Clown”? I want to say, I like shit like that. A moment ago on Only built 4 Cuban Linx where Ghostface comes in and he’s so drunk and goofy and fucked up – and I love that. And it’s so bad that I do it. “Rodeo Clown” both tries to be that, but also acknowledges that there’s something deeply flawed about it.

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How do you think Absoutely fits into the pop landscape?

I am not consciously opposed to pop music. I’m actually trying to make a resume to be in. I made this record because it was fun, but also because I had this instinct that maybe it could be an amazing calling card: I want to hear some of the biggest pop artists in the world with a mic room, and with me walking around in the background opening a bag of crisps as they sing. Avoid all propriety.