By Nicholas Jason Lopez
If Bruce Springsteen ever became emo and embraced bedroom pop, you’d get Austin, Texas-based solo artist Dylan Pacheco (He/Him), who recently dropped his debut EP ‘Youthful Exuberance,’ produced by Jake Miles (SMiiLE, Feel Flow Studio).
Already highlighted by visceral singles like “Negative Space (Manic Panic)” and “Boy Meets Void,” Pacheco’s mission with the EP was to deliver “smart, self-conscious pop” with an emphasis on layered production and unconventional lyrics.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with Pacheco about ‘Youthful Exuberance’ and more.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Austin, Texas to someone who has never been there before?
Dylan Pacheco – Normally, there are a lot of things to do and if you like live music, you can usually find something that you’re into, any day of the week. Due to Covid, I’d imagine it’s pretty similar to most cities right now. I’m definitely trying to take advantage of the large amount of parks and nature trails around me as an outlet to leave my house.
Music Bugle – What would you say is the biggest challenge in being a songwriter?
Dylan Pacheco – It’s hard to make money as a musician or a songwriter. It has to start as a passion-project and there’s a good chance it will always stay that way. I definitely struggle with balancing my work life with my leisure time and the goals I have as an independent musician.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your musical style?
Dylan Pacheco – It’s been really fun experimenting with weirder production styles on ‘Youthful Exuberance.’ I try to be spontaneous with things like that. I’ve been really getting into using samples on some new songs I’ve been working on lately as well.
Music Bugle – What was it like putting together your EP ‘Youthful Exuberance’?
Dylan Pacheco – It was a great experience! I worked with Jake Miles at Feel Flow Studio and he really helped me flesh out some unique song ideas. I feel like it’s a pretty eclectic mix of songs, but I tried to make sure each one could stand on its own as an individual story.
Music Bugle – What made you want to put out “The Morning Shift,” “Negative Space (Manic Panic)” and “Boy Meets Void” as singles?
Dylan Pacheco – “The Morning Shift” was a really bare-bones home recording I did a few months ago. It was the first thing I released under my own name. I just wanted to share some of the music I had been working on with everybody in a more spontaneous way. I picked “Negative Space” and “Boy Meets Void” as singles because they seemed like the most high-energy songs on the EP. Coming from a sort of punk-inspired background, I think it’s really important to me for my music to have a sense of urgency and immediate accessibility.
Music Bugle – What do you miss the most about performing in front of a live audience?
Dylan Pacheco – I mostly miss seeing my friends at shows! Playing live and recording in a studio are very different experiences. It sort’ve feels anti-climatic to release ‘Youthful Exuberance’ and not play a bunch of shows to support it. I know that whenever the time comes that it’s safe to have live music again, I’ll be working on something that I’ll be excited to share with people in a live setting.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Dylan Pacheco – I’ve been unemployed due to Covid, but I’ve been really fortunate to get the stimulus unemployment when it was available, so I haven’t been struggling. It’s definitely given me a chance to earnestly look for jobs that I want instead of having to take the first thing I can get.
Music Bugle – How would you define the year 2020?
Dylan Pacheco – This has been an incredibly difficult year for everybody, I’d imagine. It’s hard to separate how this year has personally affected me and how terrible it has been for the world. It’s like a sense of collective grief that everyone is experiencing in real time. I’m feeling hopeful now after the elections, although I’ll admit that Biden was definitely not my first choice.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Dylan Pacheco – Told Slant’s new album ‘Point The Flashlight And Walk’ on loop lately. Luvweb, Jana Horn and Liz Phair’s ‘Exile In Guyville.’
Music Bugle – Does social media make it easier or harder for a musician to stand out these days?
Dylan Pacheco – I hate social media, but it seems like a necessary thing to release music and make sure people hear it. I have to take breaks from posting things for my own mental health. That being said, it’s cool that people can blow up on Tiktok or YouTube and just circumnavigate the whole traditional music industry structure. If you’re making something interesting, you have a direct line to the people that will like it. I feel like that’s what DIY is all about.