Foundations: iDKHOW

Digging into Dallon Weekes' music bedrock...

Dallon Weekes has worked on some era-defining releases. A key component of Panic! At The Disco for a decade, he’s toured the world countless times over, touching millions of lives in the process.

iDKHOW is the vessel for his most intimate thoughts, memories, and experiences. Making its bow with 2020’s ‘Razzmatazz’, the project returns with long-awaited new album ‘GLOOM DIVISION’ and it’s a triumph.

Out now, the record has won across the board rave reviews, featuring some of the most ambitious, searingly open music of Dallon Weekes’ career.

Produced by Dave Fridmann, the record builds into a potent autobiographical statement, with iDKHOW blending the music of his youth with Dallon Weekes’ own distinctive voice.

As part of our Foundations series, Dallon Weekes digs into his musical bedrock to explore the albums that truly matter in his life.

Elvis Costello & The Attractions – ‘This Year’s Model’

Mr. Costello’s name would often appeared as a listen influence for many of the artists I really loved. Despite this, I was only peripherally aware of his work. Wanting to know more, I took a chance and spent fifteen dollars on a copy of ‘This Year’s Model’ (a big gamble for me at the time).

It wasn’t punk, it wasn’t shiny, synth driven new wave. It was something in between. Each song was like a sonic dare. After the first spin, I sat for a moment, and then started it all over again. I took the dare. And after the third listen, I had found my new favorite record. 

The Flaming Lips – ‘The Soft Bulletin’

The opening track of this record was like a beautiful punch in the face with a velvet boxing glove. The production was loud, the drums were breaking the microphones, and a wall of sound came falling down to crush me. So why did it make me want to cry and leap for joy all at once?

‘The Soft Bulletin’ embraced imperfection and wielded it like a weapon. It wasn’t something that could be absorbed with a single listen. 

Ben Folds Five – ‘Whatever & Ever Amen’

Every weekend as a teenager in the 90s, I would stay up late and watch ‘Sessions At West 54th’ on PBS. I had tuned in to see Beck, who was touring off of ‘Midnite Vultures’. The opening act was a guitar-less three piece act called Ben Folds Five. Piano based rock with fuzz bass and three part harmonies? Unheard of! This was the post grunge 90s! Nobody was doing anything like this! I didn’t know what to make of it at first. I just knew that it was remarkably impressive. I had to know more.

After buying their record, and several listens, I decided that this was my new favorite band. I even saved up to buy the same bass guitar that Robert Sledge would use. Beautiful piano driven ‘punk rock for sissies’. Ahead of its time and timeless all at once. I love it as much today as I ever did.  

Ramones – ‘Ramones’

This is probably the easiest example to illustrate how an artist can almost dare the audience to listen more than once. Especially if you consider the landscape of popular music in the 1970s. They must’ve seemed like aliens from outer space. Easily dismissed as “noise” by those who refuse to listen beyond production. Or even beyond musical ability! Even musically speaking, it wasn’t anything ‘new’ per se. They were imitating the music they loved from their youth, but turning their amplifiers up to an unreasonable level, and refusing to apologise for it.

The first time you listen to the Ramones you think “what is this?”. The second time you hear them you think “this is weird, but I like it”. if you don’t get it by the third listen, God help you. 

Weezer – ‘Pinkerton’

This one is a little different for me, because I loved it immediately upon first listen when it was released. But I think it illustrates how giving an album time can help it grow on you. This was not a well-received album, critically. All of my friends hated it. What was I hearing that nobody else was hearing!?

Fast-forward 10 years, and it’s now considered their greatest work, and one of the best rock records of the 90s. The record didn’t change! It was always great! Some outdated casual misogyny, notwithstanding, ‘Pinkerton’ was ahead of its time. And it took a few years and a few listens for the public to appreciate it for what it was. 

The general public seems to feel that the metric for “good art” is instant likability. BUT the musical landfills of the past are brimming with ‘instantly likable’ multi-platinum smash hits. I would argue that instant like-ability often equates to easily disposable. Of course, there are no rules here. It’s all subjective and there’s always an exception to your point of view, but it seems to me that art made to challenge the public passes the test of time more often than not. 

Catch iDKHOW at the following shows:

June
28 Bristol SWX
29 Manchester O2 Ritz
30 Glasgow SWG3

July
2 Birmingham O2 Institute
3 London Shepherd’s Bush Empire

Photo Credit: MANIC PROJECT

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