The brainchild and musical project of Zach Taylor, Dreamer Boy is Nashville-based without the typical country style. Instead, he focuses his creative energy more on bedroom-pop, and is inspired by artists like Tyler, the Creator and The 1975.
Having toured with the likes of Still Woozy and Clairo, respectively, Dreamer Boy is working to make his mark. "Tour was amazing and touring is my favorite thing to do," he said. "Just me and others sharing an experience."
Following his 2019 hit single "Puppy Dog" is "Know You" — a track with mesmerizing synths and an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia that will have you chasing after the feeling of not knowing someone, but wanting to.
PAPER caught up with Dreamer Boy to talk "Know You," creating the song's video and touring with Clairo.
How are you doing in the middle of such crazy times?
I'm doing well. It has been a chaotic year looking out into the world, but there has been a lot of valuable growth when I look internally. I feel so grateful to have my creative outlets, my roommates and my friends to keep hope, joy and light around me. I have been finding a lot of fulfillment in reaching out to others lately and feel like I have a lot of extroverted energy to give that I don't normally have. I want to put out joyous energy into the world right now, whatever small way I can. That's the goal right now. Happiness is a fleeting feeling, but joy and gratitude are a choice that can carry you through heavier days, it doesn't always have to be "happy," but it can be grateful and joyous.
After the excitement of touring with Clairo, was quarantining a culture shock for you?
Tour was amazing and touring is my favorite thing to do — just me and others sharing an experience. For that reason, it really does fill me up and I can take that into the next season. I have felt motivated ever since getting off tour. Before quarantine hit in March, I finished all the new music over the course of two months and started working on the visual side once it was time to quarantine. I felt like I had infinite time to create this world for the new music and for that reason I am grateful. I love being on my own, with my own ideas, in my own space. I live with my creative team, so it was a unique but valuable time to create.
Have you found that the pandemic has motivated you to get more creative?
The pandemic has actually motivated my creativity. Over the past few months, fortunately, it has felt like the only real responsibility I have is to create. I have been using my free time to further educate myself on systematic injustice/institutionalized racism in our country and seeing how I can directly and indirectly make an impact. Creativity is something that I want to dip into every day and carry into everything I do. Music is just one way to do that and I think creativity will also come into play with addressing some of the problems our communities face. I feel motivated to use whatever platform I have to benefit those communities and causes.
The vibes on "Know You" are immaculate. What was the inspiration?
I wrote the song at the beginning of a new chapter in life. I was fresh out of graduating from college and me and my friends were just unemployed, inspired and excited for what was to come. I met some of my best friends during this time and it felt like this new light, new spark that if cultivated would grow into something beautiful. Two years later and it definitely has. This song is about the joy of feeling known, understood, and loved by another person and the new beginning of a friendship.
For its music video, why did you chose this home movie style production to accompany the track?
My friend Adam and I were searching for a creative way to make a video about friendship. It was the beginning of quarantine, so we thought to invite our friends and fans to submit videos of their favorite memories with their friends. We were overwhelmed with submissions and I think that this video represents the song so well. It is crazy to have people who are a part of the Dreamer Boy community all over the world be a part of this music video. That's what I am trying to do: build community, so this is a beautiful example of seeing that come to life.
What's your relationship to the people in the video?
The clips in this video feature so many of my dearest friends. Some are newer and some are older, but they all are people I love. Seeing those clips from my own life alongside video clips of fans who shared moments from their life is so special to me.
Do you consider your music to be an accurate reflection of who you are as a person?
My new music is drawing from the deepest part of my being. On the new album I was more influenced by country/folk elements, as well as dance/pop elements. Songwriting has always been my first love, so I am all about storytelling; that is who I am. I want to be able to morph into any sound sonically, but still have that songwriter backbone and spirit be the same throughout any Dreamer Boy record. I would say I am peaceful but I am an energetic person at times, wanting to jump through the roof, mosh and run as fast I can. At times, I just want to lay in the grass and watch the clouds roll. Both are a part of me, but it's freeing to reflect both sides in the music.
In your mind, what separates Dreamer Boy from Zach Taylor and what connects them?
Nothing separates the two. I have always been a dreamer — someone who is idealistic to a fault, but always has that perspective of hope. I don't just blindly see the world as perfect, but rather I am always searching to inject it with something better or lighter and connect others. Dreamer Boy allows Zach to express every side of myself in the most saturated way. It's all who I am. With Dreamer Boy I get to channel those closest to me into the art, as well. My producer and musical partner Bobby Knepper is one of my best friends and we make everything together. His spirit lives in the music through my words and through the music, as well. I feel so grateful to have unearthed Dreamer Boy as a concept, but I more so discovered it than created it. Dreamer Boy has always been who I am, how I see the world.