Typically you’ll find most 17-year-olds skulking around in their bedrooms generally whiling away the youth they might wish they’d have done more with twenty years later. Musician Ned Dylan is far from your typical seventeen year old. He’s already achieved some quite extraordinary things.
Even at the tender age of eleven he was interviewing the likes of Patti Smith as well as playing sets at festivals. In the past, he’s displayed his talents at Glastonbury, Bestival, and the late great Secret Garden Party.
Ned has already made his mark on the music industry, garnering praise from plenty of well-respected names in the biz for his memorable high-energy, crowd-satisfying performances.
He’s recently released Life’s a Rave, the first single from his debut album, produced by Wizard (M.I.A./Wiley/Chemical Brothers), Gordon Raphael (The Strokes/Regina Spektor) and Mike Freear (Slamboree). A track Ned says is about social media, isolation, escapism and how we connect with each other. We caught up with the boy wonder recently to chat about how it all started.
Tell us about the road you took into music
As a toddler, I was curious and obsessed with all music, no matter the artist or genre, but I especially loved Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones. I had a VHS of them which I used to watch, almost on a loop. Since then I became fixated with making music before I even knew how to.
Years later I started going to festivals. I think festivals made music seem like a possibility to me. Especially as there were incredible performers like Richard Thompson, Laura Marling and Billy Bragg who could make a big impact on the audience with just them and a guitar.
The best festivals also have a unique atmosphere that I think inspired and motivated me. Eventually, I started to get up on stage myself, and by the time I was 12, I started to get official festival bookings at places like Beautiful Days and Glastonbury.
I kept playing gigs like that until I was 15 when in 2016 I took a break to develop my sound. During this time I was given a brilliant opportunity to work with Mike Freear, Wizard and Gordon Raphael – the three producers on both my single and project.
That brings us to 2018 and the launch of Life’s a Rave.
What are your prime musical ambitions?
My main musical ambition right now is to keep creative control and get the music out to as many people and places as possible. As well as allow my sound to keep growing organically and return to performing live.
What would you be doing right now if you hadn’t gotten a career in music?
If I didn’t have a career in music, I might have gone further into radio and journalism. I’ve been lucky enough to write for UK Festival Guides and present radio specials for Brooklands Radio & Secret FM (Secret Garden Party’s official on-site station). I’ve also interviewed people like Patti Smith, Maxi Jazz (Faithless), Mark Kermode, Rick Edwards, Frank Turner, Isaiah Dreads, Alabama 3 and Don Letts among others.
I’m hoping to do some more in the future!
Ok, you’re hosting a dinner party for three esteemed guests – who are they?
Rosetta Tharpe, Clement Attlee, and Hacker T Dog.
What’s your favourite place for a meal?
What’s your least favourite instrument?
I don’t really have one – I like to think that any instrument can sound good if used right.
You’re stuck on a desert island, you only have one album. Which is it?
For me it would have to be Sticky Fingers (The Rolling Stones) – I could never get tired of that album.
Who’s the one person you call in a crisis?
You’re going on a first date – tell us the plans?
It would be the incomparable Secret Garden Party if they brought it back. Or Glastonbury!
What’s your musical ‘guilty pleasure’?
Rod Stewart – although I have no shame about it.
If you could collaborate with any musician alive or dead who would it be?
It’s an obvious answer but Paul McCartney, no question! You can’t get much better than that. Even some of his newer material still hits me – I Don’t Know from earlier this year is such a perfect song. It’s hard to think of a better writing partner, he always elevates those he works with – from John to Kanye.
What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
The best gig I’ve ever been too would have to be The Rolling Stones in 2006. Even as a toddler, I had always dreamt of seeing them in real life. My parents took me, and even though I was only 5, it still feels so memorable. At one point in the gig, they had a B stage that moved into the crowd, stopping right where we were standing.
Keith chucked a plectrum in our direction, but someone else took it. Luckily, Ronnie returned and threw another one – I still have the plectrum 11 years later. Occasionally I play with it but I like to keep it safe in a frame.
What was the last book you read?
King Lear for my English A Level.
Who’d play you in a film?
Tell us about your new music…
I just released Life’s a Rave, the first single from my debut album. The song’s lyrics are about social media, but also about how we connect with each other, isolation and escapism. It’s a brand new sound for me, and I’m excited to follow it up with more new music and remixes very soon.
Check out the video for Ned’s new single Life’s a Rave below…
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