Dylan Emmet knows what he wants, and he’s not going to stop until he gets it.
“I’ve literally always known what I’ve wanted to do since I was a baby,” Emmet said. “My mission in life is to be touring the world. I want to be rocking stadiums. That’ll be when I’m happy.”
The 22-year-old New Paltz-raised singer/songwriter, whose first real musical obsession was Elliott Smith, started writing songs in high school. Emmet said he wanted to start a band back then, but everyone was too busy “trying to rock out” and he couldn’t find anyone to play his acoustic love songs.
Emmet headed to Ulster County Community College to study music, but dropped out. With a strong collection of material, he recorded his first album, Lost in Transit, Lost in Translation, in January 2011 with producer Tom Rosato. Still without a band, Emmet and Rosato brought in random musicians to play the
Over a year later, things are falling into place for Emmet. He is now the head of the Dylan Emmet Band (DEB). The current lineup — Emmet (vocals/guitar/songwriter), Eleni Reyes (violin/vocals) and SUNY New Paltz alumni Stephen Olenski (drums) and Ben Basile (bass) — will all be featured on Emmet’s sophomore full-length album, Here and Now, expected to be released this summer.
The upcoming album tells the story of Emmet’s discovery after a rough breakup.
“The morning of the breakup — it was literally in the middle of the argument — I went into another room and started writing a song, which is ‘Here and Now,’” Emmet said. “It’s crazy because the song is all about living in the moment, loving life, not getting caught up in your problems. Life is too short, don’t let it pass you by.”
Emmet said writing the song ‘Here and Now’ helped him recognize that he needed to make changes in his life.
“I realized that after a while the whole album is the actual process of me actually living here and now. I don’t live it. I do the opposite. I worry and stress about my career, constantly letting my life pass by. But it’s the story of how I’m getting there,” Emmet said.
The album is a combination of angry and sad songs but “you can connect every song to an aspect to trying to be
happy,” Emmet said.
The band has been playing songs from their past albums, including the July 2011 EP Collide, at venues in New Paltz, the Hudson Valley and around New York. They embody a culmination of sounds, sometimes as depressing as Smith to the groove of ‘60s Motown.
“We do everything from hip-hop to dirty-ass sly blues guitar to John Mayer love songs to sexy R&B to rock and metal,” Emmet said. “Imagine taking Drake with a live band and then two songs later we’ll be The Allman Brothers. There isn’t a genre we don’t touch.”
This may be a problem when it comes to defining a genre for the band, but Emmet said he doesn’t care.
“I just write what I want to write. As soon as you start trying to define yourself is when you start boxing yourself in,” Emmet said.
Besides full-electric rock shows, the DEB does all-acoustic acts. Emmet also performs acoustic and solo. Not only do these three set-ups grant versatility to all venues, but they also give Emmet the opportunity to play other, softer songs that wouldn’t work at a bar, he said.
Since the beginning of 2012, the band has released a video on YouTube every Monday focusing on something DEB-related. The group has released videos of beginning stages of songs, in-studio recordings, live shows and acoustic versions of songs. The band has also covered songs including Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie” and Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning.” Through persistent promotion, videos like “Here and Now” have reached more than 15,000 views.
Emmet said the band is not looking for a label right now, unless a great opportunity arises. However, Emmet said he’s not willing to abide by any creative limitations.
“I would never let anyone have those creative restrictions. I just tell people to go fuck themselves,” Emmet said. “And with the way the music industry’s changed, you don’t really need a label anymore.”
After the release of Here and Now, the DEB plans to get a tour started and begin to book bigger and better shows. As for Emmet, he said he can’t wait to be rich and famous.
“I want to be rich so that I can make my music the way I want to make it…and for the women,” Emmet said. “And I want to be famous because then more and more people will listen to my music…and for the women aspect of it.”
The Dylan Emmet band will be playing at Bacchus on Saturday, April 7 at 10 p.m.