Aidan Bissett Wants You to Know It’s Okay to Be Alone [Q&A]

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Photo: Brooke James

Aidan Bissett's sunny and effortless disposition contrasts the chaotic ode to classic rock that is his latest track "Dumped." The introspective and cathartic nature of his latest offering speaks to age-old feelings of heartbreak while doubling as an optimistic reminder that cloudy days cannot last forever.

Releasing soft-spoken tracks followed by headbanging, classic-rock inspired hits, this young artist's music truly feels alive, shifting and evolving from one release to the next. With a soulful dedication to "music first, lyrics second," Bissett is steadily creating his own lane defined by a relentless drive for experimentation. We had the chance to talk to Bissett about his creative approach, his latest single, "Dumped," and plenty more. 

Ones to Watch: So, tell me the story behind "Dumped?"

Aidan Bissett: Wow, that's a good question. I wish when I wrote it, it came from like, I had just been dumped… Well, okay, I had sort of been dumped. I don't know how to explain that, but let's just say I was in a relationship, taking time off, in a sense. When we were writing it, it was me, my friends, Ryan and Sean, and we were writing in a zoom session for like three hours. It was not a good song, and none of the three of us wanted to say it was a bad song. So, we were like, "OK, we are going to go take a break for a little." 

Then I pulled my guitar off the wall and started messing around, because when I get bored, especially in sessions, I like to try and take my mind off things. I'll play random chords and sing random lyrics, like ad-lib over them just for fun. So, I started playing like three chords that are all throughout "Dumped," singing this hook line that - it's going to sound really weird - "I'm taking dumps all the time." The guy I was producing it with was like, "OK, gross," but that actually could be really cool… what if we change it to "I'm getting dumped all the time." And I was like, "Woah." That's kind of how it started and we were on a roll and wrote the whole song in two hours.

And the song does mean a lot to me, because I have actually been dumped, multiple times. It sucks, it's not a fun feeling, so every time I listen to it, it is kind of an "f you" type of song. Like, "yeah, I got dumped but I'm better off on my own anyway." I always like that feeling better than wallowing in sadness. So, for anyone who does listen to it, I hope that it helps bring you out of the mourn and into a new light.

In the music video, you are seen reading an "Idiot’s Guide To Love." What was the last book you read?

I do love reading, I've always liked reading. I have not, in the past year, read a ton of books, which sucks because I actually do like reading. Well, okay, my senior year of high school I read like 13 books but a lot of them were for school. But they were still good books! I'm in the middle of reading Dune, which is very good so far. So, hopefully, I can finish that before the movie comes out. But yeah, I do like reading… when I have the time to sit down with my ADHD mind.

"Dumped" is a noted sonic transition for you. Can you tell me about how you approach your genre-spanning sound?

I don't really like putting myself in one genre. I'm in a certain lane in the sense I do indie-pop, I do alternative, but I don’t want to do straight pop. I feel like it’s such a box, and it's so limiting. I just love exploring different sounds, so even from the start, I put out "Different," and then the second song was "Worst Girls Of All Time," which was a completely different sound than the indie-pop wave that "Different" is. So, me putting out stuff like this after "Communication" is me exploring new sounds. To be honest, the things I like to hear always change, the bands that I'm listening to are always changing, and I take a lot of inspiration from a lot of different bands. I just love trying new things. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but it just keeps me on my toes instead of just doing the same formula over and over again.

What are you listening to right now?

That's a good question, it's kind of all over the place. There's this one girl, Remi Wolf, who I've been non-stop listening to… I have been listening to her for a minute. When she put out her first EP, I loved it. But now, she's putting out these new tracks and Solomonophonic, her producer, he's just incredible and her voice is incredible. They are doing so many things that just aren't normal in this time of music; it's just so her own lane. I find that really inspiring in the sense that she's carving her own path and not following in the line of others.

I feel like I'm always listening to Wallows no matter what. I always have them ready to go. COIN. Role Model's rolling out new stuff so I'm excited for that, he's kind of taking a change in his own discography. [The] sounds that he is doing are definitely a lot different from his earlier stuff. This guy, binki. He's actually opening for Role Model on this tour. Oh my gosh! His music's insane, so cool. It's got so many sounds going on, similar to Remi Wolf, there's so much going on, you're like 'wow.. I've never heard something like this before.'

For those who don't know, you write, record and produce your music all by yourself. Can you walk me through your creative process?

Yeah, I'm very musically-driven. Everyone has their own thing, I feel like a lot of artists, like the Olivia Rodrigo types, are lyrically-driven. I'm definitely music first, lyrics second. So, when I sit down to write something I try and get something I latch onto. I'm like, "Oh, this sounds cool. Lyrics could sound cool over this." Anytime I go into a session or I'm recording by myself, I try to lay down some form of music, and then I'll freestyle lyrics or freestyle melodies over the top, or pick a melody I like and throw lyrics over that melody. Whether that's a hook or a verse, that kind of just depends on how I'm feeling. It's definitely a bit unconventional compared to other artists. I feel like artists are a bit more put together when it comes to writing music just because I've only been doing it for like a year-and-a-half. But I have my own process, and it works. Every time I write something I learn something new. I'm excited to see, even a year from now, what my process will be… and even if it’s completely different or efficient, who knows?

Tell me about the influence of music in your childhood and the decision for you to be a musician at a young age - you started playing electric guitar very young - what was your household like? Musical family?

My dad wanted the kids in our family, I have two other siblings, to play an instrument for two years during our young adult life. He wanted us to play piano before we got to pick, so we had two years of piano and then we had to pick an instrument. So, my sister went and played two years of piano and didn't really stick with it afterward. Then, it was my turn and I was like, "Well, I don't really want to play piano, can I play guitar?" And since I was the only one who asked, who expressed interest in a different instrument, he was like, "Sure." I started in second grade and I've stuck with it the entire time. I took lessons for years, and that's how I kind of got into the classic rock scene. My dad was a huge classic rock fan so he showed me all greats… and that was all I listened to for years. It definitely had a large impact on what I did. I would even play in little recitals, and I always played classic rock songs like AC/DC or Guns N' Roses.

It wasn't necessarily a musical household, like my dad isn't musical, my mom isn't musical. The reason he wanted us to play an instrument is because his mom made him play an instrument as a kid, so he was like, "You guys get to do that, too." But it is true, one of us ended up using it.

What do you want people to take away from "Dumped?"

It's an amp-up song. I want them to feel energized, to be happy with yourself. Getting hurt in relationships happens all the time, but it’s okay to get hurt in a relationship. It's kind of how you bounce back, and I want this song to be like a bounce back. Like, you hear it and, "Oh! This is me bouncing back! I don't need to sit and cry anymore, because that's not fun." Sitting and crying is okay, everyone's done it, but there's a point that you reach, in that break-up phase, when the crying needs to stop and you need to go out and live and be the person that you are, independently. So, I would hope that it inspires you to be your independent, wonderful self again.

Is there anything else you would like to say about your music, or in general, that you want to take the chance now to say?

Well, I'm sitting on a lot of songs. So, I'm excited to get all the rest out, and again, everything is so diverse. All the music is so diverse, I just feel like each song is its own thing, which I really enjoy. I feel that's really unique to my own music, where you're getting something new every time. I'm moving to LA. That's the other thing. So, if anyone sees me in LA, please stop me and say hello!

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