Jerome Dillon (nearLY)
'Ladies & Gentlemen: This Is Your Final Reminder'
Most of us unlucky enough to experience reoccurring nightmares pretend that it’s not actually happening, either too embarrassed or freaked out to deal with it. Few would actually not only embrace it but devote much of their life to the nightmare. Yet, in doing exactly that, by embracing the dream, Jerome Dillon has birthed Reminder, the debut album from his one-man group nearLY.
The multi-instrumentalist and former drummer in Nine Inch Nails began having a dark, reoccurring dream in the mid-‘90s, and over several years, it began getting darker and darker, unfolding over time.
The music began to evolve over the course of two years worth of experimenting in the studio with engineer/co-producer Brett Pierce. “He encouraged me to track or perform as much as I could on my own, even if it meant that getting a good take or performance would take longer to nail down — and his job was to get good sounds and always keep the tape running. This enabled me to me find my own voice or identity on many instruments that I had no business even attempting to play—and that in turn led to the unique characteristics of the record.”
The other voice on the disc belongs to friend Greg Dulli, of Twilight Singers/Afghan Whigs. Dulli trade verses on a cover of the Afghan Whigs’ “Step into the Light.” NIN programmer Keith Hillebrandt and violinist Petra Haden also guest on the album, the demos and songs sketches for which Dillon and Pierce began sculpting after his departure from Nine Inch Nails in 2005, taking sounds that he heard directly out of the dream and putting them on the album, sounds like the piano melody and guitar parts on “Up in the Trees” and the main viola line that opens the record on “One Day I Was Gone.” There are ambient sounds, insect-like sounds that are also fabrications of the dream.
Chatting recently with Jerome, and taking it from the top, I first asked him to explain more about the genesis for this recurring nightmare/dream of his "The dream was something that was plaguing me for around six years. It was a long journey around a very serene body of water that ended with me accepting an invitation to drown myself. A woman standing at the edge of the water extended her hand and pulled me under. It seemed so real - it felt like I could actually feel the water enter my mouth and lungs."
Why was the time now right to bring your musical understanding of it to the ears of the general public? It took three years to finish the record due to my touring schedule and because the record is so dense. It's heavily orchestrated with live strings and I really wanted to take my time and do it right. I had never written string arrangements before and I was playing most of the instruments myself and producing with Brett Pierce. I had to find out the hard way that when you're running the show, it's very difficult to obtain a clear sense of objectivity to the overall project or product from a production standpoint."
Your new album title 'Reminder' is definitely to the point, but what point would that be in your eyes? The title ties two concepts together ... the recurring dream itself was a reminder of things that I was struggling with in my life. I thought that it must be trying to tell me something, so I decided to try and document it musically instead of going into therapy. The other concept surrounds various types of loss and how everyone deals with it in their own way. The loss of something or someone that you feel that you cannot live without. A scar is a reminder of where you've been and that you have healed and gotten past it, but it's always there, staring back at you to show you where you used to be."
If there was one track on this album that truly encapsulated Jerome Dillon at his musical and lyrical finest, which one would it be? That would be 'Liars Day.' It was one that I really felt like I connected on. I made a conscious effort to convey certain emotions through the notes and instrumentation and when it was mixed, I felt like I had succeeded. 'One Day I Was Gone' was something that I was hearing in the dream, so it was a challenge to bring that one to life as well. It went from me humming the melodies that I was hearing in my sleep into a
microcassette recorder, to putting those parts on various stringed instruments and making it all sound cohesive."
Perhaps being best known as the drummer (and sometimes guitarist) for NIN, I'm wondering what was your favorite NIN highlight ...? "I learned a lot about what goes into making great records and I'll always have that knowledge with me. I learned a lot about myself and worked really hard to be a consummate professional at my job."
... and unfortunate lowlight?! "Trent Reznor personally attacking me online to his fans after my departure from the organization. I worked really hard for him for six years and truly gave a sh*t about him and his art."
Please explain where your new band's name originated and why the capitalization for the final two letters?! "I can't tell you ..... I mean, I could ... but I'd have to kill you!"
How did the great Greg Dulli (Afghan Whigs) get involved in this with you? Were you friends with him prior to the project? "We've been friends for a long time and his song 'Step Into The Light' seemed perfect for this record. So I tried to turn it into a duet between he and Claudia, where they are both singing about the desperation and need for something or someone. Two sides of the same coin. Maybe they are singing about a need for the same thing or each other, it just seemed interesting to me. Greg and I have a very unique rapport. We call each other every couple of weeks and it's a race to see who can get the other one laughing so hard that they p*ss their pants!"
Do you think that Howlin' Maggie will ever reform and take the musical world by storm?! Howlin' who?! Just kidding ... that band was
so much f**king fun for so long. We used to laugh non-stop and work just never seemed like work. Then Columbia Records came in with a big sh*tpot full of money and the lead singer turned into il duce. He took over like "the black hand" in Godfather II and wanted his family to watch over all of the money. Needless to say, I couldn't pack my bags fast enough for LA."
What '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop song would you love to cover today if asked ... and why?! "Claudia and I both have a penchant for the
cheesiest of cheesy 80's songs ... we recently discussed 'I'm In Love With A German Film Star'."
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! They know how to flap it ... they know how to do it ...!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of nearLY's brand new CD, just answer this easy question: Who is the 'Claudia' that Jerome references and what band is she also in?
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new and AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before May 15th with your answer and the subject title 'nearLY SIGNED CDs' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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