At this year’s Firefly Music Festival, Melodic Mag got to sit down with some of our favorite artists to discuss their summer, future plans, and this year’s festival. Dayglow’s set at Firefly came at a really important time for the Austin-based indie-pop artist — his new album People in Motion dropped last week, and his set at Firefly marked one of the last live sets that he would play without the album being out in the world. People in Motion is a perfect addition to the Dayglow discography, featuring the 80s-tinged vibes you’ve come to know and love from Sloan Struble. On the festival’s second day, we talked about the album and what lies ahead as Dayglow embarks on their biggest headlining tour yet:
How are you feeling? You’re a few weeks out from People in Motion releasing, and I want to hear how you’re doing.
Sloan: I’m great, man. It’s really interesting because with Harmony House, we released it right when the pandemic kicked into overdrive so I didn’t really feel like I got the traditional album experience. There was no tour until, like, a year after the record came out (laughs). It’s busy for sure — I had a song come out last night, but I’m here, and time is not real. This record feels like my first, in a way, because I really found what I wanted to make.
That’s fascinating that you feel like it’s your first because Harmony House and Fuzzybrain are pretty massive achievements commercially.
Sloan: Yeah, I definitely don’t mean to discredit those two, because I love those albums a whole lot. I just feel incredibly confident as an artist with this album in particular, and I’m thrilled for everyone to finally be able to hear it.
I’ve seen you at Bonnaroo and on a tour date here and there where you’ve played some of the new music. What’s it like blending older hits and these new songs on stage?
Sloan: It’s so much fun. I’ve been really meticulously programming this show in the fall, and I’m taking a very different approach to the whole experience. It’s been interesting playing these shows and sort-of finishing out these Harmony House-centric shows while this is right on the horizon, but I love playing everything — it’s just a lot of fun to get to share these albums with people in this way after not doing it for so long, you know?
Your live show is incredibly fun — I feel like it’s the calling card of the Dayglow experience. Do you have any pre-show rituals or actions that you do to get ready to play?
Sloan: I love performing — it’s so incredibly natural to me. So I should probably have more things I do before the show. (laughs) I meditate a little, but I really like to just sit and ground myself by saying simple facts. Today — it’s September 23rd, I’m in Dover, Delaware, at Firefly Festival — I remind myself of reality.
I forget where I got this piece of advice, but I try to remind myself that everyone in the crowd is a person. And they’re worthy of love and having a great time — so what I’ll say before every single show is “I love these people.” And I wouldn’t be here without these people. I say it over and over again and it reminds me that we’re all just people doing this big, crazy thing. It’s so easy to get disconnected, and in, not like an evil way; it’s just easy to feel like you’re going through the motions. I want to avoid that for as long as possible.
The visual components of your albums have always been very important to you, so I want to talk a little bit about the album cover for People in Motion. The multicolor cube in the desert is very visually striking — can you elaborate on the meaning of that?
Sloan: I knew immediately when I determined the name for the record that I wanted an image to reflect that idea of movement…so it’s kind of ironic that I settled on a rock, the most unmoving thing in existence. (laughs) That kind of came to be the reasoning behind it — the album talks about this quick paced culture that we’re living in, and this multicolored Pandora’s box of some sort exists as this still thing until you dive into it. That’s what I’m trying to do with the record; I want to really examine how people move and operate by looking at them from the outside-in.
Is there anything with the new album that you’re most excited about?
Sloan: Absolutely — I produce all of my own music, and I think I’m the happiest with the mix on this album because it sounds so much better to me. But I didn’t work with a producer, it just sounds like I did. My goal with this album was to make it sound like a pristine pop album, and I think I did — I’ve seen little comments here and there saying “Dayglow sold out,” yada yada, and it’s hilarious because I’m like “YES” I sold out with myself (laughs). I’m really proud of myself for making something that can make people believe that.