Zach Taylor, the Nashville-based singer and songwriter behind Dreamer Boy, grew up experiencing the diverse natural landscapes of the United States. He lived in Texas and Spokane, Washington before moving to Tennessee for college, and those varied environments influenced the sonic textures of the music he would eventually make, including on his sophomore album, All The Ways We Are Together.
Then there are his musical reference points; from The Beach Boys to The 1975, Dreamer Boy’s sonic influences are broad and reflect the interest he shares with his collaborator, producer-instrumentalist Bobby Knepper, in manipulating sounds in unnatural and innovative ways in the studio. During the writing process, Taylor explains that The Beach Boys’ studio pop masterpiece Pet Sounds was “like a friend,” encouraging more experimentation in his music making, a bolder approach than his 2018 debut Love, Nostalgia.
From the country-leaning sounds of “Don’t Be A Fool” to the gospel-influenced soul of “August,” the varying instrumental textures on his second full-length is intentional. Taylor uses specific genres and soundscapes to amplify the feelings in his songwriting.
“It’s fun to explore certain textures that evoke certain emotions that are so familiar,” he says, “but trying to surprise you in how those emotions could be presented to you. That way they really sneak up on you and hit you hardest.”
Even during the more ambient parts of the record, Dreamer Boy’s sonic choices are deliberate yet experimental, allowing space for listener interpretation while still guiding the direction of the record.”I think that having a couple instrumental moments on the album helped the listener to settle in and feel welcome, like they can insert their own presence into the album,” he says.Taylor’s consciously exploratory approach fulfills his goal of creating music that reflects on the ways we relate to one another and our effects on the world around us.