Beyond a forest of mediocre electro lays the murky, intricate and subtle vibrations of Dawn Golden, his sound weaving around short story narratives that spin tales on personal life moments. Fresh off the release of his debut LP, ‘Still Life’, the music of Dexter Tortoriello’s solo project is spreading like wildfire on the electronic circuit.
Dexter also acts as one half of brooding dream-pop duo Houses, which could explain why ‘Still Life’ took three years to record. “I only wanted songs on the album that meant something to me,” he tells Clash. “I actually wrote over 90 songs for the record, and I chose 10.”
Despite taking such intricate depths in the creative process, Dexter is not a complete perfectionist. “There’s this track ‘Last Train’, which I made up the lyrics to as I made the song. It was all a stream of consciousness – I just pressed save and that’s it.”
An intense personal process, some of the album was created while in the throes of health issues. “I suffer from cluster headaches, they’re basically the most painful condition known to mankind. They put me into a full-on state of hysteria for two months every year. I recorded ‘Swing’ while I was having one. The chorus is just an insane barrage of noise because that’s the only thing that makes me feel better.”
His first tour as Dawn Golden, titled Sad Tour, saw Dexter performing at Holland’s Naked Song Festival. “Everyone who played before me were really amazing folk singers, and then I had to go out and perform an entirely electronic set. It must have looked like weird performance art to most of the audience, who were over 50 and had been drinking all night. They would wait until all the sound had stopped before they would erupt into polite applause. It was very funny.”
As for the future, Dexter is focusing on playing to a more suitable crowd: “I want to do a support tour – it would be cool to do something with an artist like James Blake. To play for people who actually know what to expect rather than having to win over an audience who originally think that I’m just a DJ would be amazing.”
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WHERE: Los Angeles
WHAT: Reflective digital melancholy with stark and innovative production.
GET 3 SONGS: ‘All I Want’ (video above), ‘Discoloration’, ‘I Won’t Bend’
FACT: While on the phone to Clash, Dexter Tortoriello was on his way to meet The Streets’ Mike Skinner. “I’m really excited about this,” he gushes. “‘Original Pirate Material’ completely changed my life – that was my favourite record for years.”
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Words: Hana Barten
Photo: Christopher Fenner
Fashion: Candice Bailey