Album: Dewey Decimal – Biographies + interview

In his second and latest album, Biographies, Dewey Decimal expresses a wide range of emotions and themes in his lyrics, all set to beautiful and utterly captivating electronic accompaniment, stunning listeners with his varied melodies and ethereal harmonies. 

I discovered Dewey Decimal’s music the week that Biographies was released and immediately fell in love with the album’s charm, uniqueness, and richness. 

One of the most captivating parts of Biographies are the stories we’re told as Dewey Decimal takes inspiration from his interests and the world around him. In “Tamzene”, Dewey Decimal sings about the suffering and loneliness of the historic Donner Party, a group of Americans who attempted to migrate West across the United States, only to be trapped in a mostly-fatal storm in the Sierra Nevada mountains. This tale, along with the other stories we’re told throughout the album, is set to catchy, ear-worm-inducing melodies with complex accompaniment as Dewey Decimal uses not just his voice, but the music itself, to tell a story.

I was lucky enough to be able to ask Dewey Decimal a few questions about Biographies and was able to get a closer look at the origins of the album. 

Valor: What was the most rewarding track to create?

Dewey Decimal: Tough question, they’re all my children. “Memoir” was the most cathartic. It’s about being honest with yourself and trying to move forward even though you still hurt. I wrote it as I was going through repeated cycles of doctor’s visits and physical therapy for a head injury, and the song really captures a snapshot of that time in my life.

V: What was the hardest part of putting together this album?

DD: I wanted to challenge myself as a songwriter on this album to write about something besides my own memories. “Memoir” is pretty firmly in the same category thematically as my previous writing, but the rest of the tracks explore diverse scenarios experienced by others. This was a lot harder than I thought, but I love how the disconnected stories came together to form a complete work.

V: What’s been the most fulfilling part of releasing Biographies?

DD: Seeing that I actually have some fans. I have a pretty small following, but sometimes I will get messages from people on the other side of the world saying that they resonate with my music. I’ve made music for myself for so long that it almost feels surreal.

V: I know that “Tamzene” was inspired by the Donner part, what’s something else that has been an inspiration for this album?

DD: “God Bless You, Mister Rosewater” is from the perspective of Eliot Rosewater in the Kurt Vonnegut book, “Jeanine” is about my friend’s mom who lives off-gride, and “Sally’s Song” is from the perspective of my guitar.

Utilizing various sources of inspiration and through challenging himself in his writing, Dewey Decimal gifts listeners with a storybook, encapsulating the lives, memories, and stories both of himself and of people and things in his life. 

Written by Valor

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