ROCKchester festival preview: Interview with Kevin and Dylan of Dystonia
ROCKchester is a local music and arts festival showcasing the growing youth music and art scene in Rochester. Curated by teenagers, the event focuses on the participation of young creators, musicians, and artists.
In the lead up to the event, the Med City Beat is publishing interviews with some of the featured artists. Our third installment is with Dylan Hilliker and Kevin Andrews of Dystonia. The interview was conducted by ROCKchester consultant Terri Allred.
What is the name of your band?
We are Dystonia. Dylan actually has a mild form of a disorder called dystonia. It affects his fine motor skills, which limits the amount of intricate guitar playing he can do, so his dystonia is actually perfectly characteristic of our sound, in that way.
Who are the members? How old are you? Where do you go to school?
Dylan Hilliker (17) and Kevin Andrews (18), and we're both seniors at John Marshall.
What type of music do you play?
We combine many styles such as alternative, rock, indie, punk, jazz, etc., and we actually did in fact release a rap song (For April Fool's Day).
Do you write your own music or play covers?
We write our own music--usually about girls; it's seldom that we play covers, but we do have some well known jams lined up for ROCkchester.
How did you come to play together?
We formed a band called Nicklaus Drive during the summer of 7th grade. After a while of having a ton of fun with that, life got in the way, and sadly, Nicklaus Drive had to breakup. The two of us still wanted to continue writing music together, and so we did! We just kept writing bad songs about girls, we just kept working on our craft, and we just kept progressing. Eventually, after a few years, we decided that we should become an actual band. It's crazy to think we've been playing music together for the past 6 years already!
Who are your musical inspirations?
Here's just a few, with no particular order, except for our all time favorite (listed first): Local Natives, Young the Giant, A Great Big Pile of Leaves, Foxing, Alabama Shakes, Wayne Szalinski, and Into It. Over It.
Where can people find you?
You can find us in Dylan's basement; we spend most of our time there, but if entering strangers' homes isn't your thing, follow us on Instagram (@dystoniatheband), like us on Facebook, and most importantly, follow us on Twitter. (@dystoniatheband) We love Twitter. Also, find us on Soundcloud (@dystoniatheband) to hear voice memo recordings of our newest songs. All of our official releases, as well as our t-shirts and CD's can be found at dystoniatheband.bandcamp.com.
Who is the least organized in your group?
Probably Kevin... Which is ironic because he's actually really organized; he prefers aesthetic organization. It stresses him out when things don't look neat, and so he enjoys organizing the band room and wraps up cables that are not being used. But while Dylan is probably more organized overall, as far as logistics and planning, he's a bit of a slob...
Tell us an inside joke.
"Who said that?"
'Who... Who said that?'
'Wasn't me either..."
'Okay, but WHO said that!?'
"No really, like WHO said that?"
What is the funniest, weirdest thing that has ever happened at a gig?
We were invited to perform at the Creative Salon, and the host was kind enough to come up with an introduction for us, which ended up being the greatest introduction--ever. It went something like this: "Please welcome to the stage, Dystonia! They're a band from the frozen tundra of Siberia! They had to hike over a hundred miles through sheets of snow and ice, crossing rivers, enduring frostbite, battling Siberian tigers, with their bare hands, and stopping only to repair their moccasins made from moose hide... They went through all of that, in order to get to this show! So please give 'em a hand!" Yes, we were actually introduced as a band from Siberia. I couldn't even start singing when I got on stage, because we were laughing so hard! That was probably the most fun we've ever had a gig: the energy from the crowd was fantastic!
Why are you excited to play at Rockchester?
We're excited for ROCKchester because we get to jam to all of our favorite bands and artists, who have become some really good friends, after connecting through music. We're also excited to hear some music from artists we haven't been able to see live yet! We're especially excited though because this is the event that was made possible by Dylan! Rochester as a city has so much potential to have a thriving youth music scene: there are so many talented and tenacious musicians out there, and this event will help propel Rochester toward a more collaborative and creative community!
What do you want people to know about you and teen arts?
We'd like people to know that our self produced album "I Can't Help But Change" will soon be released! CD's will be available for purchase at ROCKchester and our Bandcamp site, but you can also stream it on Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play, etc. This album is the summation of the many years we've been playing music together; it is the culmination of our high school experiences; it is something we are so incredibly grateful to be able to create, and we are especially thankful for everyone who has helped make this happen.
ROCKchester Music and Arts Festival is scheduled for May 15 at Wicked Moose Bar and Grill in Rochester. For more information about or to purchase tickets, visit rockchesterfestival.com.
The Med City Beat is a proud sponsor of ROCKchester.
(Cover graphic: The Med City Bat)