If you could encapsulate an entire film & art collective into an individual person, that would most definitely explain the personality of Dallon Weekes. Imagine if famed film director Quentin Tarantino was a good-looking musician with a great head of hair and magical glitter tears painted on his face - add in a heavy dose of vintage-synth sounds, a unicorn-hair colored drummer, and you've got Dallon's latest project: I Don't Know How But The Found Me.
If you've ever had that friend who references '80s movies dialogue, random BBC television crime series and other obscure pop culture facts–then this is the band for you. Just as "I Don't Know How But They Found Me" may be the best band name you've ever heard, you'll be happy to hear that it comes from the '80s cult classic film Back to The Future and that essentially everything surrounding the band (imagery, lyrics, etc.) has some sort of ancillary material that you can read up on in between the elusive song release schedule.
You may know Dallon as the long time touring bassist from Panic! At the Disco, and drummer Ryan Seaman is best known from Falling in Reverse, The Bigger Lights, and Weekes' former band The Brobecks. The long-time friends are taking their next-level project and leaking sonic magic and visuals all over the Internet.
Dallon's return to center stage comes as more than just music, but more of a concept with a whole backstory. After falling down an accidental virtual rabbit hole with 1980's cable access talent show videos on YouTube, Dallon knew that his new project only made sense as a band from the early 1980s who appeared on the Superstar Showcase Cable Access TV show and had their tapes and songs go missing for the last thirty years. I Don't Know How But They Found Me is the best-kept secret living in a time capsule all these years, if albeit by accident.
For the last few months, the band has only released bizarre GIF's on their Instagram and has had no music released officially, until today. But they've leaned into the mysteriousness of it all by playing small shows all over Los Angeles–capturing the attention of fans wondering just what the f*** is actually going on. The lucky ones who have managed to catch them live have kept the rumors flying. The duo are charismatic and theatrical and everything you hoped for from a band with a matching theatrical name.
With their first release, "Modern Day Cain," those strange Superstar Showcase GIFs suddenly make sense–as the band appears as a musical guest on the show, complete with a random grandma on the organ. Take a look at the video here, and then get the firsthand account Dallon in our Q&A below.
OTW: How did this whole thing start? How did you and Ryan meet initially, because he’s obviously in a different band, and you were on tour with Panic. How did it happen?
Dallon: Ryan and I have known each other for like 10 years. He used to play drums with Brobecks for a while, which was my band that I did before Panic. I’ve been wanting to make a record on the side for a while, and he was always in a similar situation–being a hired musician, playing for another band, so it made sense. I brought him in to play some drums on the record that I was making. It had been a while since we had hung out. I was telling him about what I was wanting to do with this project, and he was really interested, and wanted to be a part of it.
OTW: Where did the band name come from?
Dallon: It comes from the movie Back to the Future, when the Libyan Nationalists find Doc Brown in the parking lot at the Twin Pines Mall. I’ve always just really liked that–not just that part in the movie, but that phrase. "I don’t know how, but they found me"–I just always liked the sound of it. It always implied that there was another story behind that sentence. It’s not part of the movie; you had to create it for yourself. Maybe that’s the writer in me, trying to make sense of people being vague.
OTW: Everything has been super secret so far, with the exception of a few LA shows. Why so secretive?
Dallon: Having this whole thing be a big secret was really a fun way for us to get it started. We didn’t want it to be a secret forever, as fun as it was. I think anyone who’s creative, who makes a project, or some kind of art–they want that thing to be as successful as possible, and that’s the case with us. We will try to think of some stuff to keep people on the lookout. It’s been working for us–having things that people need to discover on their own. I hope that that’s always a part of what we do.
OTW: Let’s talk about the video for "Modern Day Cain", how did you come up with the concept of the band appearing on a weird cable access show?
Dallon: While I was in the middle of making the record, I was up late one night and I fell into this weird YouTube vortex of these old cable access talent shows from like thirty-something years ago. It was so bizarre to see this parade of people–like each of them were so sure that this cable access show was their big shot and that they were going to be a star. I was fascinated by it. I immediately fell in love with it, and I wanted to be on this show so bad, but obviously that's not really possible. The whole idea of IDK being an act from thirty something years ago, who was on this show, and got that chance–that’s where it started.
OTW: So your live shows, you play bass, Ryan plays drums. That's kind of an obscure thing to do live as a duo.
Dallon: We use backing tracks when we play live, which is a pretty common thing now. It wasn’t so much ten years ago. I think it used to have a really weird stigma attached to it. If you were a band, and you were using tracks, people would really look down on that. I think over the last decade, it’s become more commonplace, more acceptable. When we went into this, we wanted to make sure first and foremost that it was something that was going to be fun for us, but also something that would be simple and inexpensive, so keeping it a two-piece made sense to do for those reasons. I make all those tracks on my own at home–they’re taken from the record.
OTW: How does the songwriting process work? Do you guys play other things when you’re writing?
Dallon: I’m not a great guitar player, but I do play a little bit. It was the first instrument I ever learned. I think the only thing that I don’t really dabble in is drums. I wouldn’t call myself an amazing musician, but I do dabble in just about everything.
OTW: "Modern Day Cain" - the song itself - Is there a concept behind the song? What do the lyrics mean to you?
Dallon: It was inspired by a TV show on BBC called Broadchurch. Particularly the priest character, who is played by Arthur Darvill. I really got into that show. I still love it–I have a soft spot for BBC shows in general. When I was in the middle of writing this new idea I had, I was really inspired by that character and his part in the series.
OTW: I feel like there’s ancillary material, like assignments that we need to be given to read and watch before we listen to IDK. What are you inspired by?
Dallon: When it comes to drawing inspiration, there are bands and artists that I love that I don’t necessarily ever want to sound like or that don’t necessarily trigger me to write something new. I think inspirations are more subliminal, they can come from anywhere. They can come from things like a TV show or a movie, or a commercial you heard when you were a kid. They come from everywhere, because that stuff is all around you. All of these exterior things are going to influence you somehow–whether you know it or not.
OTW: What do you hope happens when somebody hears the song or sees the video? What do you hope happens for them?
Dallon: I hope that when people come across it or discover it, that it strikes a chord–that it means something. Anytime that I create art, it has to mean something to me first. It’s always my hope that I won’t be the only one that cares about this thing. When I put it out into the world, I hope someone else will care about it–maybe not in the same way that I do, but it will carry some kind of meaning for them.
OTW: What is your relationship with Panic! At the Disco at this point?
Dallon: Brendon [Urie]’s my friend–he and Spencer Smith changed my life. I owe a lot to both of those guys. Brendon has been generous enough to keep me around for eight years, and still have me play bass for Panic when they go on the road. It’s an amazing job, and I love being part of it.
OTW: So let’s say it’s five years from now–what do you think you would want the project to be like then?
Dallon: Oh man, "what if's" are always a little dodgy. I just want this project to be as successful as it can be. If we’re making art that resonates with people or not–I hope that we are–but that’s what I see this whole experience as: an exercise in making the best art that I can make and hope that it connects with people.
OTW: When you first got up on stage to play the first show ever, and no one had heard anything, was that nerve wracking?
Dallon: To be away from center stage for a long time–I sort of had to figure out how to do it again. The last time I did it was in Brobecks, maybe like six or seven years ago. It’s also one of the many reasons why we wanted to start playing around LA secretly, to find those roles again and figure out how to do this thing. We knew if we going the standard route of a press release and a big announcement: “Hey come look at us,"–that there would already be a built in fan base, ready to come see. We didn’t want to exploit that. We didn’t want to take advantage of fans that way. We wanted to find out our roles again and how to do this thing first and the best way to do that was to start playing secretly.
OTW: After you played your first song live, and people seemed to like it, did that ease your mind?
Dallon: It eases your mind, it makes you feel 10 feet tall, like you’re on top of the world. That was another one of the reasons that we wanted to play live shows secretly. LA crowds are notoriously unimpressed with people. It’s an entertainment town, so they’ve seen it all, and they see it all on a really regular basis. To catch the attention of an LA crowd is a challenging thing to do. We wanted to take that challenge head on. We wanted to play for a room full of strangers that didn’t know who we were, didn’t care, and weren’t there to see us and see if we could get their attention.
OTW: What’s the story with sticking your pick on your forehead? You do it in the video and you do it on stage.
Dallon: I’ve just done it for years. As a musician, you go through picks like they're nothing. They just sort of tend to disappear on you, and fly away. I guess the habit started when I was in The Brobecks. It was a really, DIY project, really low budgets, and picks were a hot commodity. They’re probably your most common expense. Rather than dispose of one, anytime that I had to switch from picking to playing with fingers, I would just stick it to my forehead so that I didn’t have to lose that pick and have to buy another one later. Pretty much everything I do, was born out of being a necessity somehow.
OTW: What about the glitter tears? How is that a necessity?
Dallon: Oh, that is definitely a necessity right now. I wanted to do something that made me look and feel different from how I am on stage with Panic or Brobecks. I wanted everything to be new–to feel new on stage. That’s not something I’ve ever done before, so I thought I would give it a try. It helps to put me in the zone of playing an IDK show.
OTW: What's next for IDKHBTFM? Is there a plan or are you just going to see what happens?
Dallon: There is a plan, but we’re playing everything close to the chest right now, because we’re still a DIY operation. We’re trying to figure out the best way to put a record out. There is a whole bunch of stuff, that we want to put out and release into the world. It’s just a matter of finding the right way to do it and the matter of timing too. Nowadays, you don’t necessarily need a record label to put music out, you know you can do it from your kitchen table or anybody, anywhere, with a laptop and a microphone can make a record and put it out. That’s pretty awesome I think. We want to put our stuff out on a scale that’s as large as we can.
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