The Dill
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The Dill

Hamilton, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2016 | INDIE

Hamilton, Canada | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2016
Band Alternative Indie




"The Dill Greetings From Album Interview"

Interview: The Dill puts his heart on the chopping block called life
Interview September 17, 2018 By Jason Scott

We love to romance past decades. It’s almost built in our core code. As a society, we live in the moment by constantly wallowing in the past ⎯⎯ longing for a seemingly simpler time in popular culture and bemoaning the current generation’s accelerated pace, reckless dream catching and perceived lack of respect for tradition. The “good ole days” means something different for different people, and despite the sour aftertaste of the 1950s and ’60s, socially and politically, there remains a kind of magic embedded in much of the art, music, television and film of the era. From Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons to Beach Boys and The Mamas & the Papas, rock ‘n roll music possessed a particular kind of charm. Glossy melodies adorned folk-rock grooves and prominent drum kits thrashing around sandy beaches and slivering midnight crescent moons, and the influence of such trailblazers has since reverberated outward and into modern pop music.

The Dill, a band led by Dylan Hudecki and backed by Ted Paterson (on drums), Brad Davis (guitar and keys) and Andy Lloyd (bass), are not immune to the lingering effects of a time when you needed to have some actual vocal chops. Hudecki’s first ever solo record, called Greetings from the Dill, winks and nods to a vast smorgasbord of musical styles, including the California Sound on standout cut “Stop Time,” a razzle-dazzle waltz number with Max Kerman on lead vocal. It’s stylized to sticky, hairspray proportions, often feeling delightfully polished and an apt reprieve from the album’s otherwise granular ripples. “Max is a pro, and I think he new what I was going for. It wasn’t exactly in his register, vocally, but because of this, he was able to channel a new character for him ⎯⎯ a crooner from the ’50s who has had been there and done it all and needed a break,” Hudecki gushes to B-Sides & Badlands over email. You can’t possibly more nostalgic about the past than with a song completely dipped and aired in true pop classicisms.

On that, the song also punctures some air into the lineup and allows the listener to catch their breath. “Our lives in 2018 often feel sped up, in a “go, go, GO!” type of lifestyle. This song reminds us to stop, compromise a little, say no to some things, get off the train for a little while,” he says. “Maybe the ’50s feel helps the listener get there, too, because it tugs on nostalgia strings, as well.”

Sewn into the fabric of the new record, which stands as a 13-track snapshot of Hudecki’s ambitious 52-track physical release, paired with a deck of cards, with custom designs for each song, is a tremendous feeling of heart and wrestling to live in the moment. “I’ve had a few near death experiences in my life, as well some people close to me passed away, which most people have, too, and those things really hit home,” he says. “[It’s] a big giant, lit sign that says, ‘DYLAN MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR DAYS AND NIGHTS AND LIFE!’ I want to live a very interesting and unique and colorful life — because yolo. I mean yolo sincerely, and I’m not joking about Drake. Also, being on medication reminds me of my mortality daily. Every morning, my heart meds remind me, ‘Hey mortal! Have a great day! Because, before you know it…’ I like Iron & Wine and their album title ‘Our Endless Numbered Days.’ That oxymoron makes a lot of sense to me. Our lives feel infinite some days, and others, you can almost hear the ticking clock.”

It’s that kind of self-awareness that commissions Hudecki to charge headfirst into a collection that’s both relentlessly sobering as it is empowering. “What have I become? Where did the old me run?” he pokes and prods on “Mountain Lion,” before the indie-rock chords are cut and he lets the funk lead him to some enlightened hypnotic state. But later, he asks, “What have we become?” And he paints with such burdensome insight that you begin to unravel your own sense of humanity, pain and desire along the way. With “Hold Me Up Don’t Let Me Down,” accentuated with blues harmonica and guitar, he urges for that one last embrace to soothe any and all agony.
Below, Hudecki discusses what led him here, his proudest musical moment on record, feeling alive and impact of his children on his art.

Why did now feel like an appropriate time for your solo debut?

I’m a project-to-project kind of artist. My last release was with my side project band High Kites and an EP, which wrapped up in 2012. I then went full on with my solo project, recording, editing…not telling many of the enormous scope of it. It took two years longer than I thought it would to edit all the music and prep the card art, etc. But I finished it, released it nice and slowly, one song a week for a whole year. It was very chill way to do it. I also didn’t play any shows that year, so it really worked for my schedule and life. The best of is here [on this album], and that feels right, too, as I now have a band to present a bunch of these songs live.

You had been compiling songs for your 52-card project since 2000. That almost goes along with the old adage that “you have your entire life to make your first record.” Do you feel all those songs really seemed to capture your life?

In a word, yes. Or it takes 100 songs to write 1 good one? Pretty much my whole adult life is wrapped up throughout ’52’ and subsequently [this one]. I’m not a slacker, though. Since 2000, I’ve made a total of nine albums in many different bands but only three albums where I wrote all the songs with my band Cowlick (with my brother Jackson). Those were more indie-rock/party-rock songs that fit well with that style of band. The music [here] is a broader encapsulation of my songwriting, talents, thoughts, feelings, maturity and moods. It’s not better or worse; it’s just different.

How would you describe your journey across those 52 songs?

It’s a journey of emotions, life experiences, thoughts, meanderings, day dreams. With 52 songs, I basically hit every facet of my life. Love, longing for love, disappointment, car crashes, my friends house burning down, what if’s?, almost divorcing, an Earthquake in Japan, surgery, getting older, death of a grandparent, leaving my old band, being a dad in a house full of kids and the madness and joy and work that ensues, wanting life to slow down. Quite a journey. Reading that all back makes for a pretty bleak outlook of my record, but it’s pretty fun and uplifting for the most part, just like me personally for the most part, I think.

When it came to narrowing down to 12 songs for this album, you’ve spoken about how you predominantly picks ones you liked listening to over and over again. Out of this bunch, which one do you find yourself drawn to most? What about your fans?

Lyrically, I think I’m proudest of “Hold Me Up Don’t Let Me Down” and “Emotional Guarantee.” Musically, probably “Our Favourite Song.” All three of those songs show I’ve really matured as a songwriter. When I was trying to whittle down the 52 to a 12-song best of, I sent the entire collection to about 20 close friends and family and my record label. I asked everyone to give me their list of their fave 12. When I tabulated the votes, every single song had been picked once, which didn’t help at all. [laughs] Though, many songs were chosen multiple times, so that really helped narrow down the collection that I was obviously too close to to judge. But it was tough to make a cohesive collection of the top 20, which was the middle stage. The finished album could’ve gone a few different ways.

When you finally released this album earlier this month, do you feel it was a release of pressure?

Immensely so. It actually felt like a cathartic ending and then a new beginning, if that makes sense? I can now play these songs live and start writing some new material, something I wasn’t receptive to for awhile.

You worked with more than 60 musicians for this music. Do you feel your relationships with them have gotten stronger over the past few years of creation? In what ways?

Stronger, for sure, or maybe it’s like another layer to an onion has been added, a new bridge built, so to speak. I’d already worked with about 50 percent of the people on the record in some fashion, [through] other records, shows, but this was a chance to officially work together on something specifically that I had created. I love collaboration, and I loved the colours everyone added to my paintings. Win-win.

Following all of your other bands through the years, how does this solo album fulfill a different creative space for you?

Being in control of every angle was liberating. Even when people came over or sent me their files, I still had all the creative control to edit, add, delete anything I wanted. When a song was sounding more full or close to completion, I really felt redeemed and content. One issue when you record and mix at home like I did in my basement studio (“the Beach”) is loneliness. I had no sounding board to bounce ideas and mixes off of. Even with all the collaborators I had, I was still just building a 1000-piece puzzle by myself. Even still, I wouldn’t have changed any of it for the World. Nothing….well, maybe I’d make a few edits on my pitchy vocals. [laughs]

“Divorce in Open D” has such a wispy arrangement, folk in execution. Is this ripped from your own life?

Completely autobiographical. When you’re in a relationship for a long time, partners can take each other for granted very easily, and sometimes you don’t even know you’re doing it. One person may feel the partnership is going great, and the other could be miserable inside and not happy with the relationship at all.

“Our Favourite Song” immediately follows and goes down so smooth. How did this mood develop?

I had been playing the two main “jazz chords” (for a lack of a better word) for years, and I didn’t have any lyrics to accompany them. One evening I sang five words along with the two chords, and that was it! In a flash, I knew the whole story of the protagonist. “I was on a cruise, searching everywhere for you, searching every port to port to port.” A couple was on a giant cruise ship, and the man (my character) made a blunder, I’m assuming hitting on another passenger, “I said something wrong, moments later you were gone, and you missed our favourite song.” He searched everywhere for her and dreamed about her, but she had flown away unbeknownst to him. I love when a song writes itself. The whole song with lyrics and chords and a bridge was completed in under 15 minutes after years of just having two chords that might turn into something. Good things come to those that wait was true this time!

“I Can’t Read Your Mind but I Can Daydream” is a guitar-focused ballad with prevalent drums rising and falling in the mix. What led to those creative choices?

The riff came to me at a cottage, looking at a beautiful sunset setting over a calm lake sitting in an Muskoka chair, just finger picking in dropped D tuning. As I pushed it further to see what else I could do, I came up with a nice melody. The piano and drums came much later. My friend Steve McKay, an amazing songwriter in his own right [Twin Within, Bruce Peninsula], drummed on it, as well as on 11 others of my 52 songs. He came to the songs with his own unique perspective and played each song differently. In this one, he really played with dynamics and came up with a tom and mallet heavy driving rhythm which really suited the song well. My friend and ex-bandmate Jose Contreras [By Divine Right] added piano to the track and sent it back to me. I slid it in and it fit perfectly. I thought the song was complete, but when that new piece to the puzzle was added, it felt like the song had stepped up a level. That happened a lot with this record.

The record also deals in “endless summer.” Why is summer so often perceived as a time when we feel most alive?

It’s just a theme I like. Being a teacher and having kids, and a child of a teacher, summer is this wonderful time for no work and lots of family connection and adventures. Being from Canada, summer is also one of the only times we have to really enjoy the outdoors without layers and layers of clothes. The concept and theme brings me visions of the Beach Boys record by the same title, watching my uncles and my dad jamming at their parents cottage music room, ’70s decor and styles and vibes, even though I don’t remember the time well, in pictures I do.

I would have to imagine your three kids help keep you young and alive. Do they inspire you and your pursuit of music?

They inspire and colour my already colourful life. I’m sure they subconsciously effect my music and songwriting, too. They keep me young and constantly make me laugh and break my heart. Young children are so adorable and fun and wild and horrible, all at once. As a dad of three, I can say that from experience. But they do things and say things that make you proud, impressed or laugh and often these moments also break my heart because a.) it’s so darn cute b.) they’re growing up so fast and c.) they’re leaving a stage of development that you don’t want to end. Life sure is bittersweet.

If you could have this record as a the soundtrack to a summer blockbuster movie, what would be the storyline?

It definitely would take place in Hawaii. The star’s house would be eccentric with a completely blue room, an ocean facing backyard and a kids room with 101 coloured balls hanging off the ceiling kind of thing. Probably a dramedy. Maybe Paul Rudd would be the star? Maybe Owen Wilson? I dunno? He has a few jobs. One is a delivery man with a black trans-am with the gold eagle on the hood. Possibly trying to juggle having three or four female friends (with benefits), a lazy dog, a dying grandma who is his sounding board on life, the one person that he tells everything to. Lots of hi-jinx thrown in for good measure. Something like that. - B-sides and Badlands

"Greetings From The Dill"

Greetings From The Dill
Kristin Archer
August 14, 2018

Throughout the year 2016, prolific Hamilton musician Dylan Hudecki a.k.a. The Dill embarked on an ambitious project – releasing one song a week over the course of 52 weeks. These tracks were a culmination of 18 years’ worth of crafting songs, in between a busy life of co-founding Junior Blue with Broken Social Scene drummer Justin Peroff, touring the world with Toronto band By Divine Right, and making music with brother Jackson as Cowlick, all while holding down a day job as a teacher and raising three kids.

The physical result of The Dill’s year-long release, called 52, was just as ambitious. The songs were released digitally, accompanied by a deck of cards, each card representing a different tune. Dylan asked local visual artists to design each playing card to compliment each song. “It was like a giant puzzle, putting the whole thing together,” reflects Dylan.

From there, 52 was whittled down to 12 to make up The Dill’s debut solo album, Greetings From (available now on vinyl in local record shops Dr. Disc, Cheapies, Into The Abyss, and Revolution Records and you can can also stream on Spotify and others). Going from 52 to 12 songs was no easy feat. Sonically, the 52 songs span genres and moods, and could have been grouped together to make several different incarnations of Dylan’s first solo record.

“I could have made an alt-rock record, or it could have been a lot more electro. I had some harder tunes, more grungey, and I had some really quiet, finger-picking songs,” describes Dylan. “I just decided on a buffet, to have a bit of everything; what songs I really liked to listen to over and over again.” Teaming up with a record label, Greetings From came to be. It’s an apt title to re-introduce Dylan as a solo artist.

Having played in bands over the years, it was a daunting process to set out to create a solo effort, knowing firsthand how tough it is to be back on that grind of promoting an album. “The actual making of a record is really fun and rewarding,” reflects Dylan. “I was always nervous about making a solo record because once it’s done, then it’s a really uphill battle. You’re starting fresh and you have to make a name for yourself, play a million shows… it has to be a labour of love.”

Dylan continues to reflect on today’s climate of supporting live music: “Everyone is vying for the media’s attention, and the listener’s attention, and everyone’s playing shows. A lot of people aren’t going to shows because they’re on Netflix and chilling or they’re on their phones sitting on their couch, not investigating and supporting local and finding something new. That’s the reality that comes along with releasing a record,” he says while acknowledging having the help of a label and publicist helps a great deal in getting your music out there.

“And then some people just make their art and put it up, and that’s it, like ‘let’s see what happens,’ and that’s great too. There’s also nothing wrong with just jamming. Doing it for the love of music and collaboration.”

The Dill also got by with a little help from his friends when creating this collection of songs. Collaborations run deep throughout the record and it’s a real who’s-who of Canadian indie music once you start to dig. On “Stop Time” we hear the croon of Max Kerman (Arkells) front and centre, but that’s not all. The “doo-whop” singers who accompany him are Luke Lalonde (Born Ruffians) and Jose Contreras (By Divine Right). “It’s kind of a super group. Those are some pretty big singers in their own right. I don’t even think Max knows that those are the two singers; I’ll tell him when I see him next time,” Dylan says with amusement. Further collaborations include Sarah Harmer, Brendan Canning (Broken Social Scene), Brian Borcherdt (Holy Fuck/Dusted), Jay McCarrol (Brave Shores), and more.

The Dill celebrates the release of Greetings From this Friday, August 17th at The Casbah ($10 ticket or $20 includes your ticket and a copy of Greetings From on vinyl). The night also features performances by Twin Within, The Crowleys, and local music lovers acting as DJs throughout the night. Buy tickets here. You can also catch The Dill this Saturday, August 18th as part of the Riverfest lineup in Elora.

Quotes are taken from my conversation with The Dill on 93.3 CFMU. Thanks to Dylan for sending me a copy of 52.
Tags #HamOnt Casbah Dylan Hudecki Hamilton Hamilton #HamOnt local music The Casbah The Dill
Kristin Archer - I Heart Hamilton Blog

"Greetings From the Dill - The Dill Got it Done"

Greetings from The Dill
Dylan Hudecki got it done
Opinion Aug 15, 2018 by Graham Rockingham The Hamilton Spectator

Greetings from The Dill

We last visited Dylan Hudecki — the all-round creative genius known in local indie-rock circles as The Dill — while he was finishing up the Herculean task of recording and posting 52 of his original songs, one a week throughout the year of 2016.

If that wasn't enough, he also commissioned an individual piece of art for each song from various local artists, including his nine-year-old daughter Ruby. All together, the 52 pieces of art made up a deck of playing cards.

Crazy, no?

Hudecki got it done — 52 songs and 52 playing cards. The finished product, however, presented a problem.

While the playing cards fit nicely into a nice little white box, the 52 songs couldn't fit onto your conventional 12-inch vinyl album ... or a double album, not even a triple (think George Harrison's "All Things Must Pass").

Hudecki was faced with a dilemma. Which 12 songs — 13 if you count the "bonus track" — would make the final cut?

Another year passed while he figured it out. But, hey, The Dill finally got it done.

"It took all of 2017 to organize," says Hudecki, who selected the songs along with his record label partners from Elora-based Dead Radio Love. "But we have closure now. I can put a nail in the coffin."

On Friday, Aug. 17, Hudecki will unveil "Greetings from The Dill" with a record launch at The Casbah. The following day, his four-piece band will join The Flaming Lips, Born Ruffians and Carly Rae Jepsen at the Elora Riverfest.

Hudecki, 41, is no stranger to the music business. In 2001, he co-founded the rock duo Junior Blue with Broken Social Scene drummer Justin Peroff, then toured the world with Toronto power-pop band By Divine Right. Locally, he's know for Cowlick, the Hamilton Music Award-wining band he put together with his brother Jackson.

But "Greetings from The Dill," pressed on translucent sea-blue vinyl, is Hudecki's first solo album.

The album is clothed in a retro cover, featuring Hudecki's wife, Skye, in a '50s Hawaiian-style beach scene. The music within could be described as alt-yacht rock — cool beats, sometimes verging on Bossa Nova, sprinkled with psychedelia and Hudecki's wry takes on love, loss, failure and friendship.

Although it's a solo album, Hudecki had plenty of help. At least 30 musicians — mostly friends from Toronto and Hamilton — contributed their talents.

Arkells' lead singer Max Kerman lends a doo-wop vocal to the track "Stop Time," and Sarah Harmer joins Hudecki in a duet on the missing-you ballad "I Love You in Kenora."

Harmer's part was recorded when she stopped by for a beer following the Juno Cup hockey game in 2015. Kerman's vocal contribution came after a pleasant dinner at the Hudecki home near Gage Park.

"Max sings lead on 'Stop Time,'" explains Hudecki who also works as a Montessori school teacher. "It's a '50s doo-wop with a Beach Boys kind of vibe. At first he was hesitant because it wasn't really in his key."

As well, there are members of the Rheostatics, Monster Truck, Sloan, Broken Social Scene, Born Ruffians, Elliot Brood, Twin Within and LeE HARVeY OsMOND.

The Hudecki family is also well represented. Hudecki's father Bernie and two uncles, Stephen and John, add bass, keyboards and guitar to the requiem "Last Sunrise," dedicated to Leona Hudecki, Dylan's grandmother, who died in 2012.

Ruby, one of three children in the Hudecki household, can be heard chatting about chocolate chip ice cream at the end of "Divorce in Open D," a happy conclusion to a song that could have had a tragic ending. Ruby and her older brother, 12-year-old Dexter, can also be seen on the record sleeve bobbing in the water at the beach. The youngest of the brood, three-year-old Ollie, is featured in a publicity photo with a pack of playing cards.

So what's The Dill going to do about the other 40 songs (if you count the secret "bonus track") that he wrote and recorded for the playing card project?

He's already taken care of that. Through his website — — you will soon be able purchase the entire deck of cards.

"Value-wise, you might want to consider the deck of cards," Hudecki says. "Each deck comes with a download card for all 52 songs for just $10. The vinyl only has 12 songs (not counting the secret 'bonus track') and it's $20. It's funny that way, but the vinyl is a very nice package." - The Hamilton Spectator Newspaper


"52" Jan-Dec 2016 (one song a week for the year)
"Greetings From" August 10/19
"Left Overs" April 2019



THE DILL is a rock 'n' roller taking his time.

the past 20 years, Dylan “The Dill” Hudecki has co-founded the
post-rock duo Junior Blue with Broken Social Scene drummer Justin
Peroff; toured the world with Toronto power-pop perennials By Divine
Right; fronted the Hamilton Music Award-winning band Cowlick; and played
bass for High Kites. He’s scored films, commercials, remixed songs, and
has a side project making piano and synth-based ambient music as
Awesollator. Oh, and he’s also managed to hold down a day job as a
school teacher while raising three kids.

he’s finally made his first solo record—and to say it’s been a long
time coming would be a gross understatement. On the surface, “Greetings From
may appear to be a typical 12-song solo singer/songwriter effort—but
it’s actually the greatest-hits distillation of an unprecedented
recording and visual-art project that stretches back nearly two decades.
Since 2000, The Dill has been stockpiling songs that drew from personal
experience, but were brought to life through communal improvisation.
With a little help from his many friends—ranging from the unsung heroes
in his hometown of Hamilton, to some of the biggest names in Canadian
indie-rock—The Dill had, by 2016, amassed a total of 52 songs, which he
debuted online, one at a time on a weekly basis over the course of that
year. As for a physical release, well, that could only take one possible
form—as a deck of playing cards of course, with each of the 52 tracks
represented by an original, thematic image created specially for the
project by cast of 45 Canadian visual artists. "It’s my magnum opus,”
says The Dill of his 52-storey tower of song. “It was a giant snowball I
rolled down the hill with lots of my friends."

now, that giant snowball is getting chiseled down into tidy,
ice-cube-tray portions. Released on the new Elora, Ontario-based label,
“Dead Radio, Love Records” (from the same folks who put on the annual
Elora Riverfest), “Greetings From”
selects 12 highlights from the playing-card project for a traditional
release on translucent blue vinyl, naturally. But even in condensed
form, “Greetings From
covers vast musical terrain, from the cosmic, Air-style soft rock of
“1000 Days” to the brassy, hand-clapped soul of “Emotional Guarantee” to
the bossa-nova sway of “Our Favourite Song.” And the guest list here
reads like the nominee roll call at a Polaris Music Prize gala: Brendan
Canning of Broken Social Scene massages the banjo-plucked foot-stomper
“Did I Drop the Ball or Miss the Boat” with warm wurlitzer tones; Born
Ruffians’ Luke Lalonde contributes ghostly backing vocals to the
drifting acoustic reverie “I Can’t Read Your Mind (But I Can Daydream)”;
and Sarah Harmer plays the June to The Dill’s Johnny over the fuzzy
twang of “I Love You in Kenora.” And true to the project’s collaborative
spirit, The Dill cedes the spotlight on “Stop Time” to Arkells’ Max
Kerman, who sashays through this ‘50s-inspired doo-wop ballad like some
bygone matinee idol.

But for all the playful eclecticism in effect here, the songs on “Greetings From”
are united by The Dill’s wry, sobering observations on navigating
life’s great disappointments. And as this whole experience has shown
him, good things do come to those who wait.

been a labour of love,” The Dill says. “As fate would have it, it was a
16-year labour, so this baby is coming out an adolescent already."

Band Members