Listening to ‘Kill The Dove’, the debut studio album from Noah Dillon, you get a real sense of who he is: a hopeless romantic, a loving optimist, a rough and ready troubadour and an aspiring rock star. But the Fremantle singer-songwriter will also readily tell you what it isn’t: On lead single “Nothing Matters,” he confesses: “I’m not good at love songs“. So what kind of songs is Dillon good at?

“I guess I’m good at being able to tap into a weird state of consciousness,” Dillon replies, after taking a beat to consider the question. “I just play the guitar and then let the lyrics fall out of me. I think I’m surprisingly good at telling a really honest, authentic story about feelings without really trying to analyze them too much. The most special part of writing and music is being able to write something that means a lot to me because it literally came out of my brain. I didn’t try to mess it up or anything like that.”

Noah Dillon
Credit: Michael Tartaglia

This unfiltered approach may explain why ‘Kill The Dove’ is so versatile and genre-defying. Dillon’s approach to songwriting means that nylon-string plucked acoustic guitar and speaker-blasting distortion pedals can exist in the same body of work – and sometimes the same song. “When I started writing songs, I didn’t know what I was doing a lot of the time,” Dillon confesses.

“A lot of what you’re hearing on the album is stuff that I just learned as I went along. Dynamics is a big part of that – to me it’s like its instrument. Juxtaposing the quiet moments with the really loud and boisterous stuff is such an interesting way of showing light and dark. With my music, I try to really explore the edges of emotions – you get a look at the lighter side, but also the darker sides of what it means to be here.”

“I think I’m surprisingly good at telling a really honest, authentic story about feelings without actually trying to analyze them too much.”

Following the release of his sophomore EP, 2021’s Don’t Change For The World (Like It’s Changing Me), Dillon and his longtime backing band hit the studio over the New Year, due around mid-January 2022. Although his name is on the proverbial stage, Dillon is quick to highlight the contributions of his bandmates to ‘Kill The Dove’. “They’re great at doing what I envisioned, but making it even better,” he says.

“Everyone has their own artistic flair, and I can feel their creative style as much as I can feel mine. Clancy [Davidson], in particular – she plays the violin and sings backing vocals, and is probably the most skilled musician I know. Her parts really made a huge difference to the sound of the album.”

Noah Dillon
Credit: Michael Tartaglia

Dillon also points to Andy Lawson, the veteran producer who has been behind a host of popular Perth bands, including Eskimo Joe and Little Birdy – bands Dillon himself no doubt grew up listening to. Working outside of Lawson’s studio, Dillon says, was a big influence on the album’s creation.

“He’s become a real role model for me and we get along really well,” says Dillon. “I think we’re very in sync when we’re in the studio together – we make each other feel very comfortable, which helps a lot. The studio itself is beautiful too – you’re up in the hills of Perth, overlooking all this greenery and surrounded by chickens. It’s always a good time.”

Although ‘Kill The Dove’ was produced by this tight group, Dillon’s group of collaborators still expanded internationally on the album. Her second single, ‘Broken But It’s Working’, is a duet with Sarah Tudzin – better known by her project name, illuminati hotties. Tudzin, who also wrote the song, was a dream collaborator for Dillon — a dream, as it turned out, that his label Dew Process was able to make a reality. “I told them how much I love Sarah’s music and it turns out they had an affair with her manager,” he explains.

“We had a Zoom call and wrote ‘Broken But It’s Working’ in about two hours. It’s some of the easiest songwriting I’ve ever done – it just felt so natural. I didn’t think about it after that, but when it came to choosing the songs for the album, I wanted to take another shot of Mary and ask her if she wanted to sing on it. To have someone that I’ve wanted for a really long time to be on this album in such a way… that’s something I really appreciate.”

Steadily building a profile in the late 2010s and into the 2020s, Dillon has achieved a prominent place in the current Western Australian music scene. It’s a scene that has often been mythologized, as seen in the 2008 documentary Something In The Waterand one that has proven its durability time and time again.

Case in point for Dillon: When the opening night of his album tour was jeopardized just last week after a situation with local venue Freo.Social, a last-minute new show was thrown together within 24 hours at the Port Beach Brewery there near. It illustrates a larger truth within the WA scene: If you want something and want it bad enough, it’s never impossible.

“This is a community that’s really passionate about music,” Dillon says. “It has been filtered through generations. It’s really hard work when most of the industry is in the east, and it’s expensive to go there yourself. What has been created, however, is this veritable playground for creativity within the Perth scene. It’s not like some big guy is going to come to your gig and ‘discover’ you, so you can really push yourself and see what sticks. When one group succeeds in this community, everyone succeeds. It’s pretty special.”

‘Kill The Dove’ is an album that raises many questions. It is curious, adventurous, ambitious and constantly attractive. “I hope people feel connected when they hear it,” Dillon says. “Whatever crap is going on in their lives, I hope it makes them feel like they’re not alone in the battle.” It’s an admirable mission for an album that bears, at first glance, a somewhat bleak title: what’s the story behind the phrase “kill the pigeon”?

Noah Dillon
Credit: Michael Tartaglia

The title sounds “bleak,” he admits, but it’s about “not playing into toxic positivity.”

“When I thought about the album, it all seemed to be about finding peace,” says Dillon, “whether that’s within myself or within my friends, family and community. This is an album about moving away from the idea that things like peace and happiness will just show up in your life. It’s about accepting that life is going to be hard and it’s going to be a roller coaster. Peace doesn’t look like a life without ups and downs—it looks like your community, your hobbies, and everything you makes you pass.”

Noah Dillon’s Kill The Dove is out now via Dew Process

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